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#938416 - 10/01/04 03:27 PM Chopins f-minor etude op 10  
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,097
fnork Offline
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fnork  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2004
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Helsinki, Finland
Hi,

I've been looking some on this etude, but even though I've played it for a while I don't notice any progress. The point of this etude is to stretch your left-hand, which of course makes my left-hand tired after a while. But usually when I play an etude and get tired, I simply keep practicing and after much practice I don't get as tired. But I don't notice the same kind of progress with this etude, it makes my hand as tired now as it did some months ago...
So, I wonder if anyone has any tips for me? Perhaps what I need to do is to practice it really, really slowly, because when I play it fast the left-hand is a bit uneven. It's a difficult piece! But very beautiful...


Another thing... Has anyone here played some of Godowskys studies on Chopins etudes? I was wondering if there were any lefthand etudes which are extra good to study?

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#938417 - 10/01/04 10:23 PM Re: Chopins f-minor etude op 10  
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Candywoman Offline
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It is very unwise to keep playing after your arm is tired. Have you ever had sharp pains going through your arms? In the past, that happened to me and gave me a good scare. Perhaps you should be careful or carpal tunnel syndrome may become your problem.

You must play very slowly. When you have really warmed up, say, after two hours of playing, you might try to increase the tempo a bit. The key is patience. It could take months to bring it up to tempo, or it may never happen.

Who knows? Good luck, though.

#938418 - 10/02/04 03:31 AM Re: Chopins f-minor etude op 10  
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fnork Offline
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fnork  Offline
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Helsinki, Finland
Thanks for your reply, and you are right about what you're saying. Sometimes I just don't have enough patience, however if my left hand gets really tired I just quit playing.
Have you played it?

#938419 - 10/03/04 04:04 AM Re: Chopins f-minor etude op 10  
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btb Offline
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Pretoria South Africa
Hi fnork

You've got a tiger by the tail with Chopin Etude Opus 10, no. 9 (F minor) but as you say - well worth the effort.

However, any build up of tension in practising is likely to cause tiredness in the LH. It's like driving an automobile with the hand-brake on.

Easy enough to release a brake (when you smell rubber burning) but not so easy to developl that winning state of being wide-awake and at the same time COMPLETELY RELAXED.

Top sportsmen are master of this skill - whether it be Schumacher on the front row of a Grand Prix or Ernie Els putting on the 18th green for the big money. They know how to access peak concentration without nevously pulling on the brakes.

The LH note patterns are all very similar and repetitive so the sight-reading should not be of concern. The tempo equally should not be a factor as any music should be steadily worked up to speed.

Confidence however is the critical catalyst to success.

It might be a good idea to practise the LH patterns separately until confidence eliminates tension - so much so that you begin to believe you could have been author the bass note patterns.

Then allow Chopin to add the treble magic.

#938420 - 10/03/04 08:02 AM Re: Chopins f-minor etude op 10  
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Phlebas Offline
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Joined: Jan 2003
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New York City
Quote
Originally posted by fnork:
The point of this etude is to stretch your left-hand...
That premise is the source of your problem. None of the Chopin etudes are intended to stretch either the left or right hand. If you are stretching - reaching for notes - you are doing something wrong, and you will get tired.

One of the points in many of the Chopin etudes is learning how to nplay passages that have large stretches - Op 10#1, Op25 #1, and others - without reaching for each reaching for each note. To do this properly involves intelligent use of rotation, moving forward and back on the keyboard, etc.

#938421 - 10/03/04 08:10 AM Re: Chopins f-minor etude op 10  
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signa Offline
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i tried the 1st page of op.10 no.9. it seems not too difficult with slow tempo, but seems hard to play fast with LH jumps.

#938422 - 10/03/04 03:24 PM Re: Chopins f-minor etude op 10  
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Kreisler Offline
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Iowa City, IA
Phlebas is correct. It's not a stretching etude, it's a left-arm mobility etude. When played correctly, no stretching is required. I'm a bit surprised you're trying to stretch - any good teacher should know better.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#938423 - 10/04/04 03:12 AM Re: Chopins f-minor etude op 10  
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btb Offline
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Confidence can be boosted (reducing LH tiredness) by having a clear idea of the part of the overall composition you are working on and mastering in small bites.

1-4 Main Theme
5-8 Repeat (with elvated peak)
9-16 Repeat of main theme
17-24 Variation
25-28 Accelerated octave ascent
29-36 Four loud chord exclamations with soft single note echoes
37-44 Repeat of Main theme (spiced with a few grace notes)
45-48 Main theme in octaves
49-52 Theme variation in octaves
53-56 Variation on accelerated octave ascent
57-64 Repeat of exclamation/echo theme (lowered slightly)
65-67 Closing mesh ripple of both hands in high register

#938424 - 10/04/04 09:06 AM Re: Chopins f-minor etude op 10  
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fnork Offline
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fnork  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2004
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Helsinki, Finland
Quote
Originally posted by Phlebas:
Quote
Originally posted by fnork:
[b] The point of this etude is to stretch your left-hand...
That premise is the source of your problem. None of the Chopin etudes are intended to stretch either the left or right hand. If you are stretching - reaching for notes - you are doing something wrong, and you will get tired.

One of the points in many of the Chopin etudes is learning how to nplay passages that have large stretches - Op 10#1, Op25 #1, and others - without reaching for each reaching for each note. To do this properly involves intelligent use of rotation, moving forward and back on the keyboard, etc. [/b]
Phleas, you're absolutely right. Honestly, I don't know what I was thinking when I wrote this, because I agree that you shouldn't stretch your hand. I've learned that from playing op 10 no 1. However, I think this etude is extremely difficult to play without the stretch. Even in a really slow tempo, it seems really hard. I don't know, I guess I have to practice more... Sure, when I started playing etude op 10 no 1 I didn't understand how it was possible to play it that fast and not stretch. Then I learned from my teacher that the only way to play it right, is not to stretch.

Well, I'll just have to play it slowly, to learn it right...


By the way, another question. I have Carl Mikulis edition of the etudes, and in some places (like the first couple of bars) he suggests the left hand fingering to be 5 - 4 on the first two notes. That seems just awkward to me, and it's hardly possible to do with my hands anyway. Anyone who knows what he thought of when fingering it? How do you play it? (I play 5 - 3)

#938425 - 10/06/04 03:55 AM Re: Chopins f-minor etude op 10  
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Stahlbrand Offline
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Sweden
Many important things have been said about not played while tired as when you are tired, you will actually begin to slow down. You will NEVER be able to speed this up after like 1 hour of practise or so. Post Practise Improvement is the major improvement for most etudes. So take small breaks in between the sets while you practise this etude.

Another things that I must point out is the beauty of this work! Do not only play this as an exercise. The technique is of course Arpeggios for LH but also Legato playing and Counterpoint
Like Etude no.3, this work is very subtle in what it sets out to teach any pianist. On a technical level, it is an exercise in legato playing of arpeggios with the left hand, with the melody remaining wholly within the right hand. However, what is not so immediately apparent is that there is a secondary melody embedded within the left hand arpeggios and thus this étude is as much an exercise of the pianist’s ear in being able to bring out this secondary melodic line when necessary. This étude is also another of Chopin’s tributes to Italian opera, most clearly in the central section. The opening section (bars 1-16) is straightforward – four 4-bar phrases in pairs, the latter pair providing an answer to the first pair. The left-hand arpeggios must be played legatissimo and sotto voce, the right-hand melodic line must also be legato but with a slight stress on each note. The sustaining pedal must also be used – twice per bar almost without exception – but will require a very delicate action so as not to smudge the left hand.

The central section (bars 17-36) is a development of the opening theme and the modulations from F minor come in rapid succession (bars 17-28) accompanied by quickly changing dynamics (from forte to piano and back again) followed by quick accelerando and stretto (bars 23-28). Bars 29-36 are almost pure opera – operatic sobs played forte followed by an echo played pianissimo. You can ease up the tempo slightly for these eight bars, but not too much as the final echo doubles as the transition back to the main theme and final section (bar 37 onwards). The pedal points remain more or less constant, except for bars 27-28 – the ff climax before the operatic sobs – where no pedal should be used.

The final section is once again a restatement of the opening theme and from bar 45 onwards the melody is doubled on the octave and must be played con forza, but still with the left hand playing legatissimo and sotto voce. The reappearance of the operatic sobs (bars 57-64) are effectively the coda, but note this time the first set of sobs (bars 57-60) must be played piano with pianissimo for the echo; this makes the appearance of the octave-doubled sobs (bar 61) played forte even more intense and heightens the pathos of this work. The final bars of this work (65-67) must be played as quietly and as delicately as possible, with only a trace of sustaining pedal in the last two bars.
Most of these ideas has been learnt from my dear friend Malcolm.

#938426 - 10/06/04 06:55 PM Re: Chopins f-minor etude op 10  
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signa Offline
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Stahlbrand, it's very thorough inside notes on playing this, which i surely will use to learn this etude next time. i never had such a clue about it before. thanks!


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