Chopin Nocturne

Added on by Greg Anderson.
Dear Greg,
I am currently playing the Chopin Nocturne op 48 no1 in C minor. The music isn't too difficult until the crazy, passionate, difficult, fast return of the first theme. My hands are small and it's really hard to hit all the notes and voicing is extremely difficult because there are those big chords that support the music yet the melody is often times a single note (usually a higher, lighter note). How would you bring out the melody more? Without pounding away until your fingers hurt midway? What is your interpretation of the piece? Does it have to go really fast? I would like my music to be beautiful, not clashing to the ears. Thanks so much!
 - Elaine

Dear Elaine,

By the looks of your question, you are well on your way to a masterful interpretation! All of your concerns and considerations are valid; it's that kind of thinking that will lead you to good technical skills.

Your teacher will be able to help you more than I could, but I will offer a quick suggestion. If you'd like to voice a chord to the right side of your hand, you should direct the weight of your arm (the weight from your upper arm and your lower arm) to that side of the hand. I find that my wrist adjusts to accommodate this by moving to the right as well. This way, I am able to use the natural weight of my body to produce a full, beautiful sound. It takes much more work (and the sound isn't nearly as nice) to play the piano by the strength of your fingers alone.

I confess that I really like the return of the theme to be exactly as you described it: crazy, passionate, and fast. Practice it so that you can play it effectively fast or slow; in other words, you should be able to play it any number of ways: slow and tormented, fast with direction, loud and grand, quiet but intense, etc. Then in performance (and here's the kicker), you should let yourself go - let yourself be carried away by the music. That section is all about the passion and intensity of the moment.

Have fun with such beautiful music!

- Greg