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Solutions concerning technique and interpretation

Chopin - Etude in F minor, op. 25 n° 2

This Etude is considered one of the “easier” written by Chopin. In any case, it is not included in the programs for piano contests. However, each time a student asks me for a “easy Chopin piece” I respond that they do not exist. Even pieces appearing relatively simple at the first reading, require such great competence that the typical student will rarely be able to master their subtleties. Nonetheless, let us not become discouraged, but begin to practice in order to one day have the technical means to access the works of Chopin, Liszt or Rachmaninoff.

The greatest error committed by inexperienced pianists (and not only them - listen to the examples below*!) when playing this Etude, is grouping the RH eighth notes two per LH quarter note. The result is a horrible 6/4, as you can see in the sample score here. Of course, it is also unacceptable to make trivial accents at the beginning of each RH triplet. All of the subtle style and the finesse of this Etude lies in creating a delicate “resonating fabric” where the different waves of sound penetrate and overlap: the quarter note triplets in the LH and the eighth note triplets in the RH.
*Examples not to follow: Stanislav Bunin, Claudio Arrau (Arrau’s recording, although not respecting triplets, is really nice due to its subtlety and smoothness)
Examples of excellent recordings: Maurizio Pollini, Raoul Koczalski

A younger colleague, Voytek Żakowski, the last student of Professor Woytowicz, sent me his precise “recipe” for quickly mastering this Etude in three months or less. Here it is:

First stage - weeks 1 and 2 (or less, this is an example timeline)
Carefully sight-read the Etude, playing at a very slow tempo allowing yourself NO ERRORS, either in the text or the fingering. At the same time, place distinct accents (but not too loud) in the RH at the beginning of each triplet. If at first this is too difficult, it is acceptable to place temporary RH accents in the 6/4 pattern as seen above. [...] 

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Fourth stage - weeks 9-12
We will slightly accent the RH only at the beginning of each measure. Voytek Żakowski remembers:
“This gave spectacular results with me, since I was capable of playing twice as fast with absolutely no problems. Of course, the more the tempo and my ability to play increased, the more these accents diminished and remained only in my head.”
Personally, I find this manner of learning resembles a bit like the working of a car’s gear box or the derailleur on a bicycle: the longer the segment retained in the mind, the easier is it to play quickly with reduced effort.
This method can evidently be applied to other works or fragments thereof.

Interpretation (both Żakowski’s as well as mine, the two are practically identical)
1. The theme’s first repeat (m. 20-34) can be played pp. [...] 

Chopin himself said: “The left hand should act like a conductor; it is like a clock. As for the right, do with it what you will, and what you can.”
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Chopin - Etudes Introduction
Opus 10 n° 1 2 3 4 5
7 8
Opus 25 n°
10 11v
Opus posthumous n° 1v 2
v = Video
For the time being, I cannot upload all my exercises.
If you have a question about another Etude, you can Write to Me
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You are here: Practice 12. How to Study Chopin’s Etudes? Chopin - Etude in F minor, op. 25 n° 2