This Étude is really painful for the right hand. Difficulty comes from medius, ring and little playing chromatic scales while thumb and index punctuating.

The thumb cannot be used as a pivot while playing it. After a single execution the muscles are painful because we are not accustomed to produce legato with only fingers 3, 4 and 5.

Is there a hand position that can help? I have heard that Asians have a different hand morphology that can help them for that piece, is this true?

Thank you for your answers.

Link: score (Public Domain) on IMSLP.

  • Not posting as an answer because it's kind of ridiculous: I looks like you could cross your arms and play the hands reversed, if your arms aren't too short. That might introduce many other problems, but it would move the part in question to fingers 1-3. – delete me Apr 28 '11 at 16:00
  • @Matthew Read: I am sure you would be successful in a concert :) Still, doing fourth intervals with ring and little fingers is maybe a bit difficult. – Benoit Apr 28 '11 at 18:51

I don't know why anyone hasn't brought this up. Buy the Cortot edition of the Chopin etudes. Cortot was one of the great interpreters of Chopin and each etude is prefaced by a large number of preparatory exercises. Make sure to combine this with another edition, because the Cortot is notorious for having misprinted notes.

I don't have the score in front of me, otherwise I'd cite some examples from the text. It's definitely worth the investment though, if you have the money.


The only advice I can give is the same advice I'd give for any piece that's painful while playing; take it slow, and speed up as it stops hurting. The stretches to get the 3rd to cross over are a little uncomfortable, so practicing those sections slowly and holding the stretches will help you gain the flexibility to make those transitions without tensing.

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