Robert Estrin - piano expert

How to play the Prelude No. 7 in A major by Chopin

Step-by-step instructions to master Chopin's Prelude No. 7

In this video, Robert approaches Chopin's Prelude No. 7 with useful and practical tips at your fingertips to master this very romantic Prelude.

Released on February 19, 2014

  
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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Welcome to virtualsheetmusic.com and livingpianos.com. I am Robert Estrin with the continuing series of Chopin preludes. Today, we have the "A Major Prelude." This is an amazing work because it's so concise. It's very short and yet some beautiful music happens here. Because it is so short, I'm going to go ahead and start by playing the whole piece for you, and then I'm going to break it down a bit for you. Now, these are just tips. There'll be more complete tutorials coming your way later on. But check out this beautiful, exquisite, short prelude of Frederic Chopin, the "Prelude in A Major."

[music]

It really is quite remarkable how much music there is in that short prelude. So what is the approach to this piece? Well, if you've noticed, these are short phrases. You see the slur markings over the measures, and you notice that I do a lifting thing. So today, we're going to talk a little bit about two aspects of how to play this piece that translate to other works. One is the whole idea of lifting, what's that about? And the second thing is, as you play quieter, how essential it is to bring out the top notes even more. So I'm going to start with the first idea of lifting.

Now, why is it necessary to lift? Well, I also play the French horn and one of the biggest challenges of a wind instrument is starting. Because once you're playing, each successive note is on the breath from the previous note. Because the breath is continuous, so once you play one note, getting successive notes it's really not that hard. But how do you start? Well, you take the breath and then you attack the note with a certain tongue position and everything has to be right in line for the note to come out at all on French horn. I've got news for you.

Now, in the piano it's a similar challenge, because you want to know what the sound is going to be like before you play that first note. And if you're touching the key and pushing, you have no control over that. So watch how I lift up first, and as I come down, I'm actually straightening my wrist. So it's, kind of, like, as I'm going down with the arm or coming up with the wrist, this gives backwards leverage. That is to say, instead of increasing the speed by bringing the wrist down, I'm bringing the wrist up as I'm going down with the arm. So it's making a slower release of the note by going...unbending the wrist as the arm is coming down. Do you see that motion?

And if you do that, you have absolutely exquisite control over the start of your phrases. Each one of these phrases, just like being on the breath, should have a rise and a fall. So, again, watch this first phrase how that works.

And then the next phrase.

Now, I talked about another aspect. Remember today is just tips and tips that you can use in lots of pieces. And that is bringing out the top notes. You notice, for example in those three chords, as I got quieter I delineated the top note more. If I didn't do that and if I played quieter and kept the balance the same, it would sound like the top notes are getting quieter relative to the rest. Why is that? The general rule is the more quietly you play, the more the difference must be between melody and accompaniment. So when playing very loud, you can play all the notes loud and the top notes will come out, no problem. As you play softer, you must also reach more for the top notes to make them come through, because if you don't you'll end up with this sound.

Instead of hearing those top notes like this.

You see how much more beautiful that is? Particular at the end where it's pianissimo, you really want to play everything very quietly, but reach for that top notes to get this lovely sound.

So that covers it for you today, "Tips on Chopin Prelude in A Major." You can email me, robert@livingpianos.com, to get on the list for complete tutorials on Chopin preludes, Beethoven sonatas, and a host of other repertoire. Thanks so much for joining me here at livingpianos.com and virtualsheetmusic.com.
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

TT Susan on November 29, 2017 @2:28 pm PST
I am learning by myself so it is great tips for the quiete top notes. Thank you very much.
I can’t wait for your next tutorial.
Sharon Hoting * VSM MEMBER * on November 29, 2017 @12:41 pm PST
After I have been playing Quite a while (usually about 2 hours), my right shoulder hurts. Is this a common problem? Do you have any suggestions for addressing this problem?
Judith Stijnis * VSM MEMBER * on November 29, 2017 @4:20 am PST
Dear Sirs,
About Op.No. 7 from Chopin.
I liked it so much, but I can't print out the No. 7 in A mayor .
I get only the no. 1.
I will be very appreciate if I can get No. 7 also .
reply
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on November 29, 2017 @8:54 am PST
Dear Judith, I am sorry about that.

You can find the Prelude No. 7 played by Robert, in this collection:

https://www.virtualsheetmusic.com/score/PreludesC281.html

If you need any specific help, please, contact us via email at:

support@virtualsheetmusic.com

So we can handle helping you in a more private way.

Thank you!
Carol Ebert * VSM MEMBER * on February 19, 2014 @5:19 pm PST
Very beautifully played. Wonderful legato and voicing. Thank you!
Christopher s * VSM MEMBER * on February 19, 2014 @9:43 am PST
Loved it tks so much.
Milla Gotlib on February 19, 2014 @8:27 am PST
My student is preparing the Chopin's Prelude in C minor.He has a hard time bringing up the top notes. I can't wait for your analysis of that Prelude, so I can help him better. Thanks for all your helpful suggestions.
Ann Mattes * VSM MEMBER * on February 19, 2014 @8:11 am PST
Great tips! Thank you!
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