Help w/ Chopin - Ballade No. 1?

Well first off I just want to say that I love love love this piece and though this may sound corny my heart just melts every time I hear it <3. So today I decided I want to learn this piece. By no means am I a pro at playing the piano but I like this ballade so much that I don't really care that it's 10 pages long or that its hard to learn. I plan on tackling it measure by measure until I get it done. :)

Anyways I am practicing the first page and I have a few questions:

1) The beginning theme has many measures with the tied staccatos (measures 9+), do these measures require the use of the sustain pedal or am I just supposed to play legato w/ no pedal? If so does that mean there is no pedaling for the rest of the 1st page after measure 9?

2) Finally the last line (on page 1), 2nd measure has a natural sign next to "A". Why is it there if "A" is natural to begin with ?

Here is the link to the sheets:

Thanks in advance for your help :)


3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Hi Janet,

    Good questions, they made get up and grab the Ballades and sit down at the piano. Remember there is more than one way to play this piece and still play it within acceptable parameters. I feel it is always best to listen to many different pianist play the same piece. Youtube certainly would be a great place to visit.

    In measure 9 I use pedal however I use two pedals per measure, on beat 1 and beat 4. Even though I am using pedal, I play the staccato notes staccato as if I was not using pedal.

    In measure 27 I will make a guess why there is a natural sign on the A. If you noticed, the beginning of this piece begins on a neapolitan 6th (C, Eb, Ab). I am guessing that this natural sign is there to make the music grammer correct. I apologize, my music analytical skills have all but vanished over the years. I do not realize I've forgotten something until someone ask the question.

    I wish you every sucess, the Ballades a wonderful pieces. exceptional pieces.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    I would not recommend it if you are not done with Moscheles yet. But since you are attempting that, I suppose you must be quite advanced already. Ideally you should be able to play several Etudes of Chopin from opus 10 and 25 before you start studying Ballade no. 1. and Ballade No. 4 is even more difficult. 5 hours of practice a day is the key. Take the most difficult passages and play that over and over until you can no longer take it. Concentrate on that before moving to other passages. Don't play the entire piece at once when you are still beginning to study it. Have patience and perseverance.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    For the articulation, a slur with staccto indicates portato--a type of articulated legato. Common practice is to use the damper pedal for this. Also, you should note that pretty much all editions of Chopin have "incorrect" pedal markings...rather, we do not have Chopin's originals, so just pedal with your ear.

    The A natural is there as a courtesy, although they don't really need to put it in there.

    Based on the questions you have asked, I don't believe you will be able to learn this piece, however, nothing is impossible. Best of luck to you.

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