Chopin Noctune Op.9 No. 1 : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread

I am working on the Chopin Nocturne Op.9 No.1. My question is about complete measure 3. I am wondering about putting the left hand with the right hand. Is there a mathmatical or logical way of putting the notes together or do I just keep both hands in time and just "go for it" I was studing it this morning and there are 22 notes in the right hand and 12 in the left, I subdivided it in 11 to 6. I appreciate your help. Karen Garrett

-- karen (, February 28, 2002



Your idea of just going for it is probably the most musical. How to do this, though, is where you can use your creativity, and also where you can get into trouble. One way that sometimes helps: play right hand in time with strong feel of the pulse until you can play evenly without stumbling. Do the same for the left hand alone. Do these often, until they are both memorized and you could sing/play them in your sleep. Then play only the left hand notes where both hands play exactly together, together with all of the notes of the right hand, always keeping the feel of the pulse. Then switch. Add the note in the exact middle of the measure where the notes coincide. At this point you will have an outline.

Occasionally try the whole pattern hands together, and then return to the outline and also hands separate practice, always maintaining the pulse.

For some people, including me, it helps to see visually exactly how the notes coincide rhythmically. This also helps to be able to practice it slowly because you know exactly where to place each note. In the case you cited, divide the measure in half as you did.

Multiply 11 by 6 and then add 1 to represent the beginning of the next rhythmic block. Then draw 67 evenly-spaced dots across a piece of paper. Then mark notes above and below the dots (right hand above and left hand below). In this case, both the right and left hands play with the first dot. After that, in the right hand there will be 5 dots between each note (with the note coinciding with every 6th dot), and there will be 10 dots between the left hand notes (with left hand notes coinciding with every 11th dot. If you do this exercise, you can see that there is a simple, predictable pattern. You could count 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12 for every right hand pair of notes, and then you will see that the l.h. notes come on the counts of 1, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, etc.

Some people will find this approach hopelessly complicated. And it is true that you could never count this way fast enough to actually play the run in tempo. But if you can try it, I think the advantage is that your *ear* can begin to hear exactly which notes occur close together rhythmically and which ones are farther apart. In the end, though, your original approach of going for it is certainly the way to play the pattern. It's just that we need to find ways to learn the patterns correctly so that we increase our chances of succeeding when we finally go for it.

I don't believe that just playing it hands together over and over and sort of faking it is particularly helpful. You really just end up sounding like you have learned to fake it.

-- alan (, March 06, 2002.

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