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Piano Technique: Spot Practicing a nagging E Major Arpeggio in Chopin’s Waltz No. 19 in A minor, Measures 21-24 (video)

Two of my students are studying this Waltz in A minor No. 19, and both have difficulty navigating the E Major Arpeggio, measures 21-24 with its eventual resolution to the A minor tonic.

I don’t believe playing this arpeggio smoothly has anything to do with hand size or physical stature of either student. One is 10 and the other, 8. The latter, takes lessons over Skype with added video sharing.

Today the 10-year old had her weekly in-person lesson and I videotaped a small segment that focused on the arpeggio, but I gave a preceding demonstration on how to play the tricky passage without running into a jam. (I should add that Anticipation and its adverse effects could add to a player’s woes) Best to be attentively listening in the here and now.

Measures 21-24 should feel ad libitum or improvised. They’re actually a variation of measures 17-20. The crescendo through the passage should be emphasized with the right hand. The third beat of the left hand should remain spongy and lighter than the preceding beats. It’s a given that the player should be relaxed and BREATHING through the arpeggios.

The video is short but focuses in on specific technical challenges and how to deal with them.


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