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58 votes
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Is it recommended to learn a piece you really like, but is way above your level?

Hopefully a personal anecdote as an answer is helpful: I was forced to take piano lessons when I was young. When I became a teenager, my parents made it my choice whether to continue and I chose to ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar
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26 votes
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What is a B-flat major chord doing in the key of A minor?

This is a very common concept known as the Neapolitan chord. In short, the Neapolitan chord is typically a major chord built on the lowered second scale degree; you'll occasionally see/hear it called ...
Richard's user avatar
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25 votes
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Chopin: marche funèbre bar 15 impossible place

This does not seem to be a typo, as evidenced by a clear D♭ in the bass on page 14 of the autograph manuscript: On page 14 of Kullak's "instructive edition" found here, the editor suggests ...
Richard's user avatar
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14 votes

Chopin's Etude op. 10 No.1 - why the D sharp in bar 8?

That note is leading to the E in the next measure, so D# creates greater tension — greater pull toward the E — than would D natural.
Aaron's user avatar
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12 votes

Is it recommended to learn a piece you really like, but is way above your level?

A student of mine decided he was going to learn a piece on piano. It's way above his level, and I suggested he left it for a year or so, but encouraged him to have a go, and sorted some tricky parts. ...
Tim's user avatar
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11 votes

What are some tips for battling forearm fatigue for performing long passages of fast notes (keyboard)?

You don't want to "push hard", that's more likely to result in injury than in more endurance. As soon as your muscles start to feel tired, you should take a break. Here are some tips on managing your ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar
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11 votes
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Why did Chopin name Etude Op. 25, No.5 the "Wrong Note"?

Chopin did not personally give the etudes these names. Instead, these were names given later (whether by audience members, critics, etc.). I haven't been able to determine who gave this etude the name ...
Richard's user avatar
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10 votes

Is it recommended to learn a piece you really like, but is way above your level?

It's great to set yourself a target. Unless you push yourself, you'll never get better. I'm a guitar player, and some years ago I decided I wanted to learn "Cavatina". I practised very very slowly ...
Graham's user avatar
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10 votes
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Weird acciaccatura (?) notation in Chopin's polonaise

There is nothing mysterious here. As you say, if it were slurred that would make it a tie, and that wouldn't make much sense in this setting. It all looks clear to me. Simply play the slashed Eb ...
Jomiddnz's user avatar
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10 votes

What is a B-flat major chord doing in the key of A minor?

The "Neapolitan chord" answer deserves to be the accepted answer, but I'd like to add another use for Bb in Amin. The bII can be used as a tritone substitution for the V, and particularly the V7. In ...
Adam Chalcraft's user avatar
10 votes

Chopin's Etude op. 10 No.1 - why the D sharp in bar 8?

Intensifying the G7 dominant with a ♯5 is a legitimate artistic decision. It resolves melodically to the E on the second beat of the following bar. Chopin uses the same device several more times in ...
Laurence's user avatar
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8 votes
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Can you tonicize to a chord that's not on the original key?

Can you tonicize to a chord that's not on the original key? Absolutely. This is not only "allowed", but commonplace, especially by the time Chopin was composing. One of the compositional ...
Aaron's user avatar
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7 votes

Perfecting accents in Chopin's Impromptu

There is no need to strengthen your R5 for this passage. It's not a question of force, but of control. This is a piano passage, so what you should so is reduce the energy in the three remaining notes....
Kilian Foth's user avatar
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7 votes
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What was Chopin's style like?

What MAKES music 'Eastern European'? Partly the use of folk music - perhaps the most mentioned Nationalistic element in Chopin's music is his use of the Mazurka, loosely derived from a Polish folk ...
Laurence's user avatar
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7 votes

Chopin: marche funèbre bar 15 impossible place

I won't talk about if it's transcribed correctly or not, because I don't know the piece... However, the part you've mentioned is actually 'only' a 10th. There are a lot of people who can reach a ...
Andy's user avatar
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7 votes
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Need help understanding the double sharp turn in Chopin's prelude in e minor

There is no rule that says the turn has to go up one whole tone from the note you call the base. It can be a half tone or a whole tone. The turn follows the key signature unless something else is ...
Lars Peter Schultz's user avatar
7 votes
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Ballades (Chopin) Harmony Question

Your intuition is correct; it's just a move to the relative major! But we can clear up some details. Although the key signature is four flats, the music is really in B♭ minor for these first few ...
Richard's user avatar
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7 votes
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Did Chopin use hairpins (adjacent crescendo and decrescendo) to indicate rubato rather than dynamics?

It wasn't limited to Chopin; the hairpin symbols weren't universally tied to dynamics until the twentieth century. Before then, usage was a little more varied. A good source for this is David Hyun-Su ...
TobyRush's user avatar
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7 votes
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Should the last chord before the last four chords be fortissimo in Chopin Op. 10, No. 12?

It must be quiet. It is the ending of the preceding phrase, and it should sound as though the piece has ended. The following ff descending line should be shocking. It's okay to make a ritardando as ...
Aaron's user avatar
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7 votes
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Chopin Waltz in b minor (Op. 69 No. 2) measures 13~14 different versions

TL;DR There is more evidence to support the Henle, but the first and subsequent editions are as shown in the non-Henle version. Henle publishes their critical commentaries on their website alongside ...
Aaron's user avatar
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6 votes

What was Chopin's style like?

As far as eastern European influence, it's pretty hard to pull that apart, and what @LaurencePayne said is spot on. To me, what defines Chopin's "style" is his heavy use of chromaticism within the ...
David Vogel's user avatar
6 votes

How can I get my left hand to sound legato when I'm leaping?

The hesitations (and the speed) are related to the "legato". It will take time and practice, but eventually you will need to make the left hand "flow" a lot more, there has to be a kind of constant ...
Some_Guy's user avatar
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6 votes
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Chopin Prelude Op. 28 No. 1: A mysterious mutated note in the 12th bar?

It's an error in the score. The D should be an E. For example, see the Mikuli edition (IMSLP)
Aaron's user avatar
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6 votes
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Rhythmic values don't add up in a variant of Chopin's Nocturne op. 9 no 2?

In a cadenza-like passage, the notes are not given in exact rhythm. Instead, one "squeezes them in" or prolongs the measure via rubato. Such passages are often notated with smaller note ...
Aaron's user avatar
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6 votes
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How fast would Chopin have played his own Fantasie Impromptu, Op. 66?

TL;DR Both 80bpm and 95bpm (half-note beat) are within the range of tempi Chopin designated for allegro, though 95 is at the extreme. The autograph copies of Op. 66 only indicate Allegro Agitato, ...
Aaron's user avatar
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6 votes

Help required for beginner!

The clue's in the title. The key of 4 sharps puts the key as in C♯ minor, so any C note in any octave will be sharp. As stated in the key signature itself, the C sharp notated there will represent all ...
Tim's user avatar
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5 votes
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Perfecting accents in Chopin's Impromptu

Keep in mind that, in that second passage, you're looking for a melodic phrase with that second note that imitates the melodic phrase in the first note in the earlier passage. So there are some deeper ...
BobRodes's user avatar
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