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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 ...
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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 ...
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24 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 ...
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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. ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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8 votes
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Beginning of Chopin nocturne no.20: slur and tie confusion

A curved line connected two notes that are the same pitch is a tie. If they are different pitches, it is a slur. In this example, the C sharps in the bottom voices in the right hand are tied, and the ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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7 votes
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Notation question natural followed by sharp Chopin Waltz in C sharp minor

The previous measure has an F double-sharp: The natural-sharp is to remind you that it's no longer double sharp.
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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 ...
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  • 326
6 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....
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  • 6,833
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 ...
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6 votes

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 ...
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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)
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5 votes

Getting Chopin Etude Op 10 no 1 up to tempo

First of all, attempting that piece after 5 years of study is probably too early. I guess it's possible, depending on your study "regimen" for these 5 years, your age, and your natural talent, but to ...
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  • 4,186
5 votes

How should I practice the piano piece Fantaisie-Impromptu?

Fantasie Impromptu contains polyrythms. A "Polyrythm"is the use of two different rythms playing together, and the Fantasie Impromptu also has a Polyrythm. The right hand plays semiquavers, while the ...
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5 votes

How should I practice the piano piece Fantaisie-Impromptu?

I am just now wrapping up this piece, and have my recital in a month. I am not a professional musician by any means, and I have a day job, so I can only get a few hours of practice per week. I've ...
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  • 151
5 votes

How should I practice the piano piece Fantaisie-Impromptu?

I am doing this piece, and have "finished" the piece within 5 months (1h/day) and am right now polishing it. This is how I attempt most pieces. Note that this post is not a "for dummies" guide. (Note ...
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  • 103
5 votes

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

While many simplified arrangements of famous pieces are terrible, it may be possible for you to either find an arrangement you like, or study the piece, determine what you like about it, and come up ...
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  • 3,871
5 votes

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

I play guitar, and I tried out songs that where above my level. I managed to learn a few parts, other parts where still far from perfect, or I could not do altogether. Then I put it aside, and came ...
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