“Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and life to everything. It is the essence of order, and leads to all that is good, just and beautiful, of which it is the invisible, but nevertheless dazzling, passionate, and eternal form.”

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Chopin Fantasy Impromptu: Four vs Three

A student asks about learning to play four against three in the Fantasy Impromptu. Here is a rhythm chart of four vs three:

Click to enlarge.

     Some pianists find it helpful to learn to tap out this pattern first, before adding pitches. Notice that the second triplet comes after the second sixteenth and the third triplet comes just before the fourth sixteenth. The chart shows where each note in one hand falls in relationship to the other. Most modern editions print the relationships correctly (though not always): 

Click to enlarge.

     What I find most helpful is teaching each hand where its own pulses are until they are very sure. Then, I put the hands together feeling the main pulses. The object, of course, is for each hand to learn to be independent in its own rhythm. At first, try practicing one beat only, stopping on the next strong beat. When that feels secure, try playing two beats.

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