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Thread: "Easy" Chopin

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Question "Easy" Chopin

    Okay, maybe "easy" is not the right word here, but bear with me for a moment. I'm a beginner to the piano, having been playing for about 3 months. I'm a big fan of Chopin and he is one of the reasons I picked up the instrument to begin with. What pieces among his are relatively on the easier side, such that a beginner like me might be able to pick it up to a fairly competent level within several months of rigorous practice? Are there any? I'm thinking of learning one or another of the Preludes, none of which I would describe as easy, but compared against his Etudes, Ballades, or Scherzos, they seem attainable. Particularly thinking of the E minor, C minor, or D minor.

    Should I go for it? Maybe there are some others that would be a good introduction to his works (I'm thinking maybe one of the Nocturnes or a shorter Mazurka)? Should I just give it a few years and keep playing other composers' music? For an idea of my skill level, my repertoire is limited to a handful of pieces: the Minuet from the Anna Magdalena Bach notebook, Für Elise, a four-hands transcription of Schubert's Serenade, Kuhlau's Sonatina in C major, Bach's C major prelude from the WTC, etc.

    Curious for everyone's input. Is anyone else here a beginner pianist and a Chopin fan? I'd almost considered making a similar thread about another one of my favorites, Scriabin, but...

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    I'd look into the polonaises or nocturnes. I know I entered a student piano competition with one of the polonaises, but I cannot remember which one anymore.

    I was introduced to a lot of the major composers through the recital and repertoire books from the Alfred line. One such book is here, and it contains a Chopin prelude among its offerings.

    Alfred Book
    Last edited by bharbeke; Mar-07-2019 at 00:26.

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    You mention his Preludes. I would definitely try Nos 4, 6, 7, and 15. They should be quite doable in time with diligent practice. Also his Etude Op. 10, No. 3 and the 3rd of his 3 Nouvelles Etudes, Op. posth are not too difficult. Find a good teacher if you can. Half-hour lessons could do wonders and should be affordable. Good luck to you.

    For something more contemporary and modern—good practice—try the: Béla Bartók Mikrokosmos and start at the very beginning and work your way through each volume. He takes some getting used to but they will be easy to play and be good ear training.

    Good luck.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSpf9bKK_Zk
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Mar-07-2019 at 13:30.
    "That's all Folks!"

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Luckily, my girlfriend is a professional piano teacher, and a huge Chopin head so I think something can be arranged I will look into the third Etude too, the Tristesse, as it's called, no? That one always did sound a little more manageable than some of the others.

    I'll look into that Bartok too! I'm trying to keep my repertoire well-rounded, and I don't know how to play anything that counts as modern. I've been getting into his music lately; in fact I'm listening to one of his string quartets right now.

    Thanks!

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    Senior Member TwoFlutesOneTrumpet's Avatar
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    If you've only been playing for 3 months, I don't think you're ready for Chopin yet. To give you a perspective, in the Canadian Royal Conservatory piano program, Chopin is not introduced until grade 8. There are a lot of techniques that you need to have mastered before playing Chopin, even the easy pieces.

    Of course you can always learn an easy Chopin piece now and you'll likely play it poorly. Be aware of developing bad habits, if you try to force yourself to play pieces beyond your technical skills.
    Last edited by TwoFlutesOneTrumpet; Mar-07-2019 at 14:39.

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    What are some pieces or composers you'd recommend as an alternative for someone at my skill level? To "warm up" so to speak.

    I have no intentions of becoming a concert pianist, by the way. I'm only playing for myself, hence why I try to choose repertoire I enjoy. But I definitely see where you're coming from with your warning.

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    I would definitely advocate against op. 10/3, the middle section is very tricky, there are easier pieces even among the etudes!

    The preludes are definitely a good place to start, I would recommend no. 7 in particular.

    The first pieces I played were the polonaise in g minor and the cantabile in b flat major if I remember correctly. You might like the cantabile, it's not very well known but relatively easy and sounds quite "chopinish".

    Whatever you end up choosing, good luck!

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    Luckily, my girlfriend is a professional piano teacher, and a huge Chopin head so I think something can be arranged I will look into the third Etude too, the Tristesse, as it's called, no? That one always did sound a little more manageable than some of the others.

    I'll look into that Bartok too! I'm trying to keep my repertoire well-rounded, and I don't know how to play anything that counts as modern. I've been getting into his music lately; in fact I'm listening to one of his string quartets right now.

    Thanks!
    Stay positive. You never know what you can do when you apply yourself, and love can be a great motivator.
    "That's all Folks!"

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larkenfield View Post
    Stay positive. You never know what you can do when you apply yourself, and love can be a great motivator.
    That's for sure!

    I appreciate everyone's helpful posts. I dismissed the idea of trying the third etude pretty quickly I could maybe learn the first third of it, but it wouldn't be worth it. I may just move on with something else, but if I do decide on a Chopin piece I'm probably going to go for a prelude. I'm between 4, 6, 7, and 20.

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    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    I'm thinking of learning one or another of the Preludes, none of which I would describe as easy, but compared against his Etudes, Ballades, or Scherzos, they seem attainable. Particularly thinking of the E minor, C minor, or D minor.
    the D minor Prelude is one of the hardest, together with the F sharp minor, B flat minor, E flat major which involve a lot of leaps and arpeggio, scale runs. I would start with some of the technically easier Etudes (Op.10 No.3, 6, Op.25 No.2, 7) or Waltzes or any of the less challenging Nocturnes (except Op.48 No.1) as an introduction to his oeuvre.
    Last edited by hammeredklavier; Mar-13-2019 at 14:03.

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    If you have a biggish hand span (>10) 25/1 will probably be very easy for you to play.
    As said before there are a few playable preludes, and a few of the waltzes (particularily the A minor) and of a few of the polonaises, Nocturnes, and mazurkas would also be playable.
    It might be a bit out of your difficulty range but the berceuse is also a lot easier than it looks.

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    Ha ha, no such thing.. However, the first piece I learned was "Raindrop" Prelude, Op 28, No. 15

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    Hi! If you really want to learn a Chopin piece then I would recommend Prelude in e minor OP28 NO4. This is something that beginner students can learn. You will not be able to play it with the proper dynamics, but it is one that you can really focus on your dynamics with. I learned this beginner piece early and it's truly beautiful.

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    Also, I found a really great resource that breaks down easier classical pieces with videos to help you learn! The Chopin piece I recommended is actually in this too:

    https://keyboardkraze.com/best-class...ring-pianists/

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