The 3 Easiest Chopin Etudes (piano)

Introduction

Chopin is known to have written a total of 27 etudes, most of which are contained in Op. 25 and Op. 10 of his works. In this article, I chose 3 of these 27 that are generally considered the “easier” of the bunch. Remember though, that etudes are by their very nature technically demanding compositions, so even for the 3 etudes discussed here you will need to be an advanced student of the piano.

The three etudes featured in this list all happen to be from Opus 25, and they are: Etude Op. 25 No. 2 in F Minor (“The Bees”), Etude Op. 25, No. 1 in A flat Major (“Aeolian Etude”) and Etude Op. 25 No. 9 (“The Butterfly”).

Note: 
Chopin also has much slower etudes that some people might consider easier than the ones presented here, simply because of their speed. However, for the purposes of this article I chose to go with the easy “fast” etudes, as these are much more popular and, in my opinion, more interesting to play. If you do want to take a look at the easier “slower” etudes of Chopin, feel free to take a look at Etude Op. 10 No. 3 (“Tristesse”), Etude Op. 25 No. 7 (“Cello”), or Etude Op. 10 No. 6.

#1. Etude in F Minor, op. 25 no. 2 ("The Bees")

QUICK FACTS
  • Composed: 1830s
  • Pages: 5
  • Technique focus: light touch, polyrhythm
  • Key: F Minor
  • Tempo: Presto (very fast)
  • Ability Level: RCM Level 10 – advanced
  • My personal rating: 5/5 (love it!)

WHAT’S EASY ABOUT IT:

  • RH notes. The RH melody, although fast, is for the most part conjunct (i.e. the notes are spaced closely together), which makes it easier to play. 

WHAT YOU MIGHT FIND DIFFICULT ABOUT IT:

  • Polyrhythmic structure. The piece involves playing triplet eighth notes in RH with triplet quarter notes in LH. This requires a good mastery of hand independence and a good balance between the hands.
  • Speed. This peace is meant to be played Presto (very fast), and it could take quite a bit of practice to get to this speed. As always, starting slow and gradually increasing the speed is the best approach here.

#2. Etude in A flat Major, op. 25, no. 1 ("Aeolian Harp")

QUICK FACTS
  • Composed: 1836
  • Pages: 7
  • Technique focus: RH LH balance, voicing, arpeggios
  • Key: A flat Major
  • Tempo: Allegro sostenuto
  • Ability Level: ARCT (high advanced)
  • My personal rating: 5/5 (love it!)

WHAT’S EASY ABOUT IT:

  • Rhythm. Although the piece does have occasional polyrhythmic passages (see below), for the most part the hands are playing the same rhythm, i.e. sextuplets in both hands. This makes things a bit easier for us.

WHAT YOU MIGHT FIND DIFFICULT ABOUT IT:

  • Balance. The balance and voicing of the melody between the hands is very important in this piece and might give you a big of a challenge. But then again this is the main purpose of the etude!
  • Occasional polyrhythm. While for the most part RH and LH are both playing sextuplets, occasionally the LH switches to regular sixteenth notes.

#3. Etude in G flat Major, op. 25, no. 9 (“Butterfly”)

QUICK FACTS
  • Composed: 1830s
  • Pages: 2
  • Technique focus: fast and light octaves
  • Key: G flat Major
  • Tempo: Allegro assai (very fast)
  • Ability Level: ARCT (high advanced)
  • My personal rating: 4.5/5 (very nice)

WHAT’S EASY ABOUT IT:

  • It’s short. In fact, this is the shortest of all Chopin’s etudes. If played at the indicated tempo, it is just under a minute in duration.

WHAT YOU MIGHT FIND DIFFICULT ABOUT IT:

  • RH Octaves. This should not be surprising since octave technique is the main focus of this particular etude. To play it well requires a very loose and relaxed wrist, which is constantly in motion here. If this is a bit of a challenge for your at first, make sure to spend plenty of time practicing at a slow to moderate tempo.

  • Tempo. Allegro assai means “very fast”, which is how the piece is meant to be performed. Again, starting slow and working up to this speed is the key.

* Want to get the most out of your practicing? Take a look at our “5 Best Practice Tips for Music Students”

* Wondering if your child is gifted in music? Take a look at: “6 Signs Your Child Is Musically Gifted”

* Learn everything you need to know about RCM exams with our  “RCM Exams: Your Complete Guide”

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