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Chopin Prelude 20 Op. 28

Discussion in 'Technique' started by pianolady, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hello Klaus and welcome to Piano Society.

    I don't think that is 'syncopated' pedaling. It's basically just changing the pedal on each chord.

    I play this piece with pedal and have never tried it without. Might be a nice exercise doing it that way, though. Have you looked at some of the first editions to see if they show pedaling marks?

    Back to the fingering on the chords - if your teacher wants you to play this without the pedal, then he or she should help you with the fingering.
     
  2. jim_24601

    jim_24601 New Member

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    I agree with Monica, basically. Changing the pedal slightly after the beat doesn't constitute syncopation--after all, if you tried to change exactly on the beat you'd get a gap. You have to change the pedal after the new chord has gone down so the transition is smooth. I hadn't considered playing this piece without pedal at all, and wouldn't perform it like that, but it is a very interesting idea for practice.

    On the difference between the two editions: An 'Urtext' edition, as I understand it, is an attempt to reproduce, as faithfully as possible, what the composer actually wrote, without the editor making too many value judgements as to what he meant. (That's a bit problematic when you get to Chopin, who had a habit of revising his pieces after the fact, so there's often no single definitive version, but never mind that.) Henle editions are very highly regarded, also not cheap, but you get what you pay for. So you can pretty well take it that the Henle is Chopin's original pedal notation, and the others are editorial attempts to clarify what he meant by it.

    Now your Romantic piano composer won't typically try to notate every detail of pedalling. As pianist, you're expected to use your discretion in the absence of pedal markings--it's not taken to mean "no pedal" rather "pedal ad lib." Not that most pianists don't tend to use too much pedal, but I digress. I should expect that, in the absence of any markings to the contrary, 99% of pianists faced with this particular piece would just change the pedal with every beat. Monica does. I do. So there's no reason to notate it unless you want the pianist to do something different. That, I think, is what the pedal marking on the last bar in the Henle is telling you. It's not an instruction not to use the pedal elsewhere; it's an instruction specifically not to change the pedal for the last chord, but to let the bass chord continue to ring as you play the last one.

    (One of the stranger things I've heard lately is a Brazilian prog-metal band doing a rock song based around this prelude. It's surprisingly good.)
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Do you have a link to that?
     
  4. jim_24601

    jim_24601 New Member

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  5. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Wow - I liked that a lot! I just love this sort of thing - when rock bands do a classical piece. Even if a particular band doesn't sound so good, or their rendition of a famous classic is not that great, I still appreciate the fact that they attempted it in the first place. Like someone in the band has roots in classical music and therefore is someone worth their weight in gold.

    I've never heard of this band before, but the singer has a nice voice. Very fun - thanks, Jim!
     
  6. ch_a

    ch_a New Member

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    Do you have the"Edition de travaille avec commentaires d'Alfred Cortot"? Cortot gives imo very usefull hints for technical problems, but he is headstrong with the interpretation and the score. He adds to the Urtext score a lot of signs concerning dynamic, articulation, pedal, ties and so on according to his interpretation. In my edition there are two pages with hints to achieve his interpretation. He indicates different pedal using for measures 1 to 8 and 9 to 12 and adds an additional pedal change after the last cord. I like to use Cortots edition for practicing also for other pieces but try to take an Urtext score.

    Probably Cortots recordings would not be accepted here without more or less discussion. For example he often played both hands not exactly together.

    Christiane
     
  7. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I prefer the Paderewski Editions for Chopin. The volume of preludes was first published in 1949. While not strictly an urtext, it is still very scholarly with extensive editorial board commentaries, so I call it near-urtext.

    I've always played the Prelude No. 20 in Cm with pedal, and have never heard it played otherwise. The absence of pedal would rob the prelude of its wonderful sonorities. The Paderewski Editorial Committee mentions that Chopin's pedal marks in its edition are strictly in accordance with the manuscript and original editions. (They sometimes made very slight changes given the sound of more modern pianos.) They go on to mention that Chopin's pedal indications are precise and that "those passages in which Chopin has not marked the pedaling are generally explained by the fact that the pedaling required is very simple, and is therefore self-evident; or, on the contrary, that it is so subtle as to be too complicated, if not impossible, to indicate". Beyond that, the pianist also has to use their own discretion given the piano, touch, and room acoustics.

    As I look at the score, pedaling is laid out for the first two measures follow by "simile", or continue similarly. There are also indications for the last beat of the second to last measure and for the last measure. It looks as though Chopin called for pedals on each beat with a change just before taking the next pedal. The way I choose to play it is to sound the chord with my hands and then a small fraction of a second later to catch the sonority in the pedal, lift the pedal before the next chord, and take the next very slightly after playing it, and to continue in that manner.

    David
     
  8. pianolla

    pianolla New Member

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    Have you looked at the latest Polish Ekier edition if there was anything of interest? Also, I found watching master YT videos very helpful. If you don't actually see the action you can hear it or at least figure much out when good quality recording
     

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