Op.70 No.2 on old Bösendorfer

Last week I was on holidays in Austria (in the near of Wörgl) and I had the opportunity to visit the „1. Tiroler Holzmuesum“. The Holzmuesum is a muesum all about wood and the most interesting part was an old Bösendorfer piano – made in 1875 in Austria – on which visitors were allowed to play … So I took the opportunity to play Op.70 No.2 …

Here a recording:

[Op.70 No.2] Chopin – Learning Help

It’s been a while since I updated something here … I learned Op.70 No.2 after my One-Year-Playing-Piano-Anniversary but missed to post anything about.  So I should catch up writing the missing postings …

One of Chopin’s most beautiful pieces is Op.70 No.2 and to be honest, I think this piece was the reason for me to start learning piano.

I think, Op.70 No.2 is a bit more difficult than Op.69 No.2 but a bit easier as well. Yes, this sounds a bit paradox, but I’ll explain what I mean …

It’s more difficult because there are lots of grace notes (Acciaccatura or short Appoggiatura).Here two examples from the measures 5-6 and 46-49.

These little notes has to be learned with all the other notes but – for me – it’s impossible to learn the correct timing when learning the notes. I had to listen to references how they should sound and try to get it like in the video afterwards.

One further difficulty were trills (measures 70-72).

I hadn’t played trills before, so first I had to figure out how to play them …Wikipedia knows trills and knows how to play them …

In my reference, there was just one alternation and the trill ended with the note it started with. Often, It’s not 100% clear how trills have to be played (according to Wiki). So, it gives one the liberty to choose how to play them. I tried it and thought it would be best to play it like the reference.

In this piece the first trill started at F, so I had to play F G F. The second trill started at Ab because  Op.70 No.2 is in F-Minor scale and the next note is Bb. This leads to Ab Bb Ab.

These were the difficulties I had to cope with. On the other hand, the melody was easier to learn than Op.69 No.2 and it was also less to learn.

Let’s have a look at the structure of the piece … I printed out the sheets, analyzed the structure and marked similar parts:

Above photographies of my sheets. The resolution should be good enought for printing out …

I analyzed the structure and find out that the whole piece can be seperated into 8 different parts. The whole piece is composed like this:

A(19) G(1) | A(19) C(2) B(10) E(6) B(10) F(4) | H(1) | A(19) C(2) B(10) E(6) B(10) F(4) | I(1)

The numbers within the brackets indicate how many measures a part is composed of.

It turned out, the piece has a total of 124 measures, but only 44 different! That means, the whole piece would fit on 1,5 pages!

It’s quite surprising … 4 pages looked very scary, but actually there were just 1,5 pages.

I also experienced that it is often a choice to start with the most difficult part because it takes the most time to master whereas easier parts can be learned faster. So, you can practice the hard part while learning the easy part. In the other case, you would learn and practice the easy part and learn the hard part afterwards, so you would need more time to master the whole piece. I hope you understand what I mean … Nevertheless, I started with part B because I thought it would be the more difficult part (and I was right 😉 )

Last but not least, here my video performance of this piece:

Please leave a comment if you find my explenations helpful.