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Thread: Bad sound in Chopin's Prelude No 4 in E

  1. #1
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    I learnt this gorgeous Prelude 2 years ago, but I don't like as sounds under my playing, very far from the delicate, clear and profound sounds I hear in the records I have.
    As I play it sounds rustic, harsh, rough. The teacher I then had used to say the problem was lack of musicality, but was unable to help me to amend it.
    Specially I'm dissatisfied with the left hand. I play without rubato, renewing pedal syncopatedly for every harmonic change, and using only a light pedal touch, since no pedal or deep pedalling is worst. What could be wrong? Maybe the touch, or the rythm or anyelse? I'll be grateful for suggestions.

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    Maybe the touch...
    I would think so. This is one of the looks easy, but hard to accomplish 'perfect' pianistic tone kind of pieces. I don't think it's got to do with Musicality...since majority of the music learning community are in fact, musical.
    Ok, I don't have the score with me now, but I'll tell u what I remember from memory.
    LH: This called for some very good pianistic control. Trying hard to make them sound full yet not 'drowned' the melody is difficult. Alot of people would try to tighten the LH and control the strength output. And it sounds even more unbalanced and unnatural. Caz that's not the way to do it. If u want something to be subdued, u don't, and never, control it! Unless u want a very 'tight, inward' kind of ppp. U simply relax and perhaps, in this case as you are playing chords, use more wrist. Play/Rub in each chord with the wrist. Make sure your hand and arm stays relaxed and that the chords are full, not hollow. Remember, Don't CONTROL! Any form of restriction will produce tightness and thus harshness and unbalanced tone( ie: suddenly very loud in one of the chords and so on...) Make sure your Left hand stays near to the piano and rub in with the wrist.

    RH : Use more wrist and arm. Fell the natural flow or shape of the melody. When u play, move along or rather give in to the shape of the melody. If the melody is ascending, roll your wrist to the right and open yr arm when playing crescendo with scaling notes. Think of each note's movement as horizontal. Do not play them vertically. And go for a broad and 'open' kind of phrasing. Join between each note and bar really well, esp. when the melody is in leap...think of them as linear in feel.
    When playing the loud section in the middle( is it there? If I remembered correctly), use arm weight, do not push downwards, but push sideways.
    And to make the music 'speak' u must make the LH come alive...emphasize the counter melody in this case. BH singing is better than 1 hand leading in Chopin's music. But remember! The LH notes should only sing when supposed to...not every note. And regarding bringing out notes in chords( in this case, the LH )...forget about tilting the weight to 1 side etc... Just lift up the finger more and drop them naturally on the notes that u want to 'ring/sing'. The height will give it enough weight, do not intentionally push them further down...caz it will sound very harsh.
    Ok, that's all I can remember for the time being. :unsure: Go try it and tell me how it works for u. Feel free to post again when in doubt.

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    Senior Member Harvey's Avatar
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    omg...looked at wrong prelude...misread your 2 for prelude No. 2.
    I wrote LONG too!

    Ok...THIS one...I have to ask you how the action of your piano is.
    IF I hit a wrong key its becaus i kind of like it that way.

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    Originally posted by Harvey@Jul 30 2004, 07:39 PM
    omg...looked at wrong prelude...misread your 2 for prelude No. 2.
    I wrote LONG too!

    Ok...THIS one...I have to ask you how the action of your piano is.
    [snapback]921[/snapback]
    Thank you Harvey for your kind advice. Don´t worry, your message isn't long at all because is very interesting. It seems to me that your ideas apply to many pieces, and after all I hope to play also the No. 2 Prelude. On the other hand my piano is a Studio Upright. Thanks in advance.

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    Senior Member Harvey's Avatar
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    All right! Lets roll! Don't know how you read my Prelude 2 Post, 'cuz it was up for like three seconds before I edited it, but whatever.

    Now No. 4.

    Left Hand:
    My interpretation was...rubato according to the right hand. However, there is nothing wrong with straight rhythm, as you play it.
    Look at the notes. Forget that they're chords, forget that they're repeated. Isn't the left hand just as singable as the right? Do something with it.
    The technique: very flexible wrist. The elbow moves before the wrist. Stay close to the keys. Studio upright? Use the soft part of your finger, not fingertips. Pay attention to important notes, for example, the bottom two at measure 2, and the top halfway through measure 2. Oh, and I recommend you use 542 or 532 fingering, if you can reach. Thumb tends to sound ugly at this stuff.

    Right hand:
    Espressivo is the word all right. Think cold, light, simple, shallow. That's all. You just have to imagine.
    The technique: I would keep my elbow up high, just to make my hand weightless. Use your fingertips. The keys are glass. Use only the weight of your fingers.

    Whatever:
    The first three notes are the third, fourth, and first most important notes in this piece, respectively. Use fingering, 1,4,4 for the first three notes.
    Heed the phrasing.
    In measures 17 and 18, heed the bolded notes! EDCDDEGB|DCEEAF The triplet emphasises the following F.
    Don't know why there's no smorz. on measure 12. Do whatever you want.
    Careful not to roll anything. Especially last three.
    IF I hit a wrong key its becaus i kind of like it that way.

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