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Chopin polonaise op. 53 in a flat #543805
05/28/06 10:30 AM
05/28/06 10:30 AM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 20
Denmark
J. A. Mose Offline OP
Full Member
J. A. Mose  Offline OP
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Joined: May 2006
Posts: 20
Denmark
A fantastic piece of music. I have been struggling very hard to learn it. I improve but the middlesection in E major causes me trouble. The octave in the left hand is impossible. After a few bars it goes "clumsy dumsy". It seems as if I have to drop the doubling bass.


"Through hardship to the stars" (A.P.Møller)
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Re: Chopin polonaise op. 53 in a flat #543806
05/28/06 10:35 AM
05/28/06 10:35 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 21,889
Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
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BruceD  Offline
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Joined: May 2001
Posts: 21,889
Victoria, BC
Yes, it's a fantastic piece of music, but you may be attempting to work on something that is too difficult for you.

First of all, the middle section is not in E sharp, it's in E.

The only way to maintain the LH octaves is to keep the wrist relaxed. If you don't have the stamina to maintain them, then the piece is too difficult for you. I don't think you can "simplify" the piece by dropping the octave in the bass and playing only single notes; that would destroy the whole character of that section.

I suggest you learn something else more in keeping with your current abilities and save the Op 53 for when you are technically ready for it.

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
Re: Chopin polonaise op. 53 in a flat #543807
05/28/06 12:24 PM
05/28/06 12:24 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,534
G
Gyro Offline
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Gyro  Offline
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G

Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,534
I've only looked at this, never tried to
work it up, but this doesn't seem to
be insurmountably difficult for
someone who's pretty proficient at the
keys and who can reach an octave easily,
it's maybe more the reputation of the
piece than anything else that makes it
difficult. That middle section in E with
the l.h. octaves has mostly a repeat pattern
in the l.h.: E, D# C#, B (anyone
should be able to manage that with
practice), and the r.h. part is just
some chords, so it seems technically no
more difficult than anything else in
the piece.

Re: Chopin polonaise op. 53 in a flat #543808
05/28/06 12:30 PM
05/28/06 12:30 PM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 5,446
Philadelphia
D
Derulux Offline
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Derulux  Offline
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D

Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 5,446
Philadelphia
First of all, the middle section is not in E sharp, it's in E.
And second, it's an octave, not a double. wink

I think that middle section is the easiest in the piece. I sight-read it at a reasonable tempo (except the measure where the LH changes). I think the greatest challenges in the piece are before and after that middle section.

What, for you particularly, is so difficult about the octaves?


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
Re: Chopin polonaise op. 53 in a flat #543809
05/28/06 12:38 PM
05/28/06 12:38 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 450
Oh/Fla
playliszt Offline
Full Member
playliszt  Offline
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Joined: May 2006
Posts: 450
Oh/Fla
If those octaves are played on a piano with a light action it's not so bad.

My piano has a stiffer action so I needed to keep my left wrist muscles in shape to play it consistently (& take the repeat). If I didn't play it for a week or so, it was back to taking it slow a couple times to "get back in shape".

Once you get your strength built up it does get easier to facilitate.

Absolutely agree that doing single notes instead of octaves is Verboten.

Re: Chopin polonaise op. 53 in a flat #543810
05/28/06 12:42 PM
05/28/06 12:42 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,931
Mount Vernon, Georgia 30445
Varcon Offline
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Varcon  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,931
Mount Vernon, Georgia 30445
I learned this in high school, mostly by myself, with a couple of corrections by my teacher when I played it for her. Other than that it stood as learned. I've played it since in a couple of programs and it's always an audience pleaser because it's so popular.

Technically it's difficult but the octave section in E isn't insurmountable but it does take practice. Not knowing your technical capability, it's not really possible to assess whether you've tackled something out of your league for the time being or your practice approach is wrong. The LH octaves should be practised separately with 4th finger on the black keys, slowly with metronome until arm doesn't fall off from fatigue. smile ) Unless you've built up stamina and endurance, this section can cause tightening of the mechanism. When you begin to feel fatigue and tenseness, stop and shake out the hand and arm, relax for a bit, and then resume. It's a lot of fun to play this section and fast LH octaves wows listeners. But above all it should be steady, very rhythmical and not too rushed. Also practise the LH octaves in rhythms to gain more complete control.

Good luck!

Re: Chopin polonaise op. 53 in a flat #543811
05/28/06 02:17 PM
05/28/06 02:17 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 921
P
phonehome Offline
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phonehome  Offline
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P

Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 921
This is a very challenging piece. The big problem with the octaves is to keep them quiet AND to have the endurance to keep up the tempo, even at the end of the section. It may seem easy when you play them slowly, but trying doing them up to tempo and all the way through. It's a VERY exhausting experience.

Re: Chopin polonaise op. 53 in a flat #543812
05/28/06 03:11 PM
05/28/06 03:11 PM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 5,446
Philadelphia
D
Derulux Offline
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Derulux  Offline
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D

Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 5,446
Philadelphia
The LH octaves should be practised separately with 4th finger on the black keys....
I used to use my 5th finger. I still use my 5th finger for almost all octaves. If you're going to use 5, play in a little on the white keys. You won't have to move as far.

Of course, this is just an alternative suggestion. I'm not saying 5 is better than 4, except to say that 5 is better than 4 for me. You may experience similar trends as varcon, in which case you would use 4.

But you should, at least, experiment with both to find the most comfortable. wink


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
Re: Chopin polonaise op. 53 in a flat #543813
05/28/06 03:20 PM
05/28/06 03:20 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 921
P
phonehome Offline
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phonehome  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 921
5 was better for me as well. Just get the wrist motion going and 5 is a lot easier...plus there's a lot less to think about.

Re: Chopin polonaise op. 53 in a flat #543814
05/28/06 06:19 PM
05/28/06 06:19 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,931
Mount Vernon, Georgia 30445
Varcon Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Varcon  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,931
Mount Vernon, Georgia 30445
Depending on the individual hand, a choice between 4 or 5 is available. For those who have not developed the 4th on the black keys, then the 5th finger could be the better and easier choice. Since I practise chromatic octaves with the 4th and use it regularly for black key octaves (not ALL time tho) it is easier for me. When I first learned the Polonaise I did, as some of you are doing, use the 5th finger for both white and black keys. Further technical development changed that so that in general I use the 4th on black keys. My previous post did make it seem as tho that was the prescribed choice. For that I apologize. Small hands would evidently find that very impractical unless very flexible.

Re: Chopin polonaise op. 53 in a flat #543815
05/29/06 03:57 AM
05/29/06 03:57 AM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 20
Denmark
J. A. Mose Offline OP
Full Member
J. A. Mose  Offline OP
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Joined: May 2006
Posts: 20
Denmark
"At 53, you contemplate suicide"

I will keep on practicing my LH. I still haven't agreed with myself whether or not to use the 4th on the black keys.
However this piece is a great and inspiring challenge. Also because of 1)the length and speed.2)The fact that it will probably make you sweat a lot from playing it. 3) The amount of time it would take to learn it!
Chopin opus 53 I'll thump you!!!!!!!!


"Through hardship to the stars" (A.P.Møller)
Re: Chopin polonaise op. 53 in a flat #543816
05/29/06 06:04 AM
05/29/06 06:04 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,931
Mount Vernon, Georgia 30445
Varcon Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Varcon  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,931
Mount Vernon, Georgia 30445
JAM: Yep, you have to have patience and persistence to conquer this piece but you'll certainly enjoy the rewards you reap! Good luck.

Re: Chopin polonaise op. 53 in a flat #543817
05/29/06 01:51 PM
05/29/06 01:51 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 450
Oh/Fla
playliszt Offline
Full Member
playliszt  Offline
Full Member

Joined: May 2006
Posts: 450
Oh/Fla
It's definitely exercise!
My heart's always beating (thumping) faster at those last chords. Sometimes even a bit of sweat.

Re: Chopin polonaise op. 53 in a flat #543818
05/29/06 02:44 PM
05/29/06 02:44 PM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 3,918
Chicago, IL USA
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Palindrome  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 3,918
Chicago, IL USA
I've read that Alexander Siloti's hand was so large that he fingered the lower notes of those octaves 2-3-4-5. Carl Tausig claimed he could play those octaves indefinintely without tiring. Probably he could, and that STRONGLY suggests that various muscles most people use to play those are instead relaxed, or only briefly used, with relaxation between the striking of the notes.

I've heard that when Abram Chasins recorded the piece he brought in his wife* to play the octaves (and as a result lost his recording contract with Kapp records, although they did issue the performance.)

*Constance Keene, recently deceased. Her performances of the Weber sonatas was recently highly praised in a Fanfare review.


There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

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