Chopin Prelude No. 3 in G Major, Op. 28: Is the ultimate tempo within reach?

Without a doubt, Chopin’s Prelude in G, Op. 28, No.3, requires a deft Left Hand that can meet the challenge of playing 16th notes in Vivace framing. (extremely quickly) The question is, can most students apply their slow practicing model to the mega-speed zone.

In this connection, I often wonder, if there’s an inborn disposition to play lightning fast notes, particularly with a hand that is not favored. The same might be said of trills, and for violinists, vibrato, though there are ways to break down both into components and build upon them.

I’ve always faced a monumental challenge playing Chopin’s Prelude in G which has a few choice Left Hand finger traps in leaps of nine notes at the tail ends of measures. In my video, I couldn’t help but focus on measures 7, 8 and 9, 10 as the locus of my own snags. But again, my slow motion approach was in itself only a microcosm of what I hoped would generalize into a smooth sailing vivace. Would it, and could it?

I’ve slowly but surely realized that there’s more to this undertaking than fast forwarding the tempo.

For assistance I You Tubed a few of the greats who had a “sweep” effect through the Left Hand. Some pedaled a bit much and did not wish to flesh out the Left Hand contour. Others allowed the bass to be heard more clearly in its rapid journey.

I’m nowhere near their tempo, but in my break down practicing, I’ve used blocking, and rhythms to smooth out measures that are particularly troublesome–always taking mental and physical note of what seems to work–a form of bio feedback that’s pivotal to the whole learning process.

Chopin Prelude in G, Op. 28 No. 3

Chopin Prelude in G, Op. 28 no. 3 page 2

Here are my two favorite performances of Op. 28, No. 3 (I like the balance struck between the hands)

POGORELICH: He not only has a well polished bass, but the melody and bass are together, impeccably phrased and balanced.

In the example below, SOKOLOV produces lovely OLD WORLD phrasing, imbuing a lovely subtle rubato in his melodic contouring. He’s using more pedal than Pogorelich but applied tastefully.

The question still remains: Can this desired tempo be reached in learning stages. Only if the player, realizes that measure to measure sweeps of notes (Left Hand) may be the way to go after breaking them down in slow framing. If there’s a threshold for each player, however, it must be accepted at least in the present, but not as a permanent state of being.

About arioso7: Shirley Kirsten

International piano teacher by Skype, recording artist, composer, piano finder, freelance writer, film maker, story teller: Grad of the NYC HS of Performing Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, NYU (Master of Arts) Studies with Lillian Freundlich and Ena Bronstein; Master classes with Murray Perahia and Oxana Yablonskaya. Studios in BERKELEY and EL CERRITO, California; Member, Music Teachers Assoc. of California, MTAC; Distance learning and Skyped instruction with supplementary videos: SKYPE ID, shirleypiano1 Contact me at: OR or at FACEBOOK: Shirley Smith Kirsten, /shirley.kirsten TWITTER: Private fund-raising for non-profits as pianist--Public Speaking re: piano teaching and creative approaches
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2 Responses to Chopin Prelude No. 3 in G Major, Op. 28: Is the ultimate tempo within reach?

  1. Anthony N says:

    Thanks for the help on this one, particularly your video break-down as well as the sheet music with fingering guides.


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