Which are harder - Chopin's Etudes or Liszt's Etudes?

Before I’m accused of pulling another ‘pianoworld/street topic out of my ass’ - I’m curious about what my SDC brethren have to say on this matter.

Liszt’s etudes are more sprawling - in each etude they have a wider variety of techniques.
Chopin’s are more modest in length and scope but their difficulty lies in their thorough exhaustion of a singular technical pattern. In doing so - they may be shorter but require more ‘endurance’ capacity.

We’ve all seen n00bs & buffoons over at other forums discuss this - so I thought I’d open it up and see what the more erudite mofos here have to opine on this.

Moreover - which etudes do YOU find particularly challenging and/or impressive?

Do the double notes of Feux Follets provide the biggest challenge or do the Thundering octaves and leaps of Mazeppa strike greater fear into your heart?

  • Chopin
  • Liszt

0 voters


It’s really about where you aim with them I think. I’ve tried Bach’s Italian Concerto, and I can ensure you that if you want that to sound like Sokolov’s it’s harder than the fuckin Rach-3.

I definitely think the Liszt studies are harder to make sound good however. Chopin you can almost always make work even in slower tempos and with a less than stellar technique, but if you’re attempting something like the Mazeppa… there’s just no way around that.

I’ll vote Liszt, and the hardest study… Wilde Jagd. Though purely mechanically it’s probably FF.

Ahahahah bazically da xmofo zayin:

A 3min 10/4 can ztill zound wikid
While a 10min ZEPP, cannot pozzibly

Derefore da ZEPP iz hardah

Diz a clazzik zl*world argument tru :sunglasses:

You make a great point!

Chopin doesn’t require imagination the same way Liszt does. The Chopin of course thrive when played with imagination but they still sound kind of okay without.

Liszt’s etudes played slowly and boringly on the other hand fall flat on a whole other hellish level.

I have to say though - to play them at an elite level - Chopin’s etudes require regular practice to maintain the endurance of dexterity in extended passages with ‘niche’ techniques such as op10no2.

Tell a pianist who’s not performed the TEs in a year to brush them up in a week and they will manage mostly fine.

Tell a pianist to brush up op10no2 in a week without playing for a year and you’ll end up with a :snail::snail:

For me, the Chopin. In the middle of something, will expand on this later…

I never played enough of them to really have an opinion.

Chopin fo moi. His techs demand a certain flexibility, and on top of everything else - a truly colorful tone.

Liszt? You can raw rape dem all except Feux Follets :sunglasses:

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I find Liszt is always pianistic in the TEs (it’s very rare he isn’t, tbh) whereas in the Chopets I find Chopin is often actively anti-pianistic. (He takes this to extremes, imo, in the Allegro de concert, which I found disgustingly difficult albeit it was a long time ago.)

I kinda agree with what you said, espcially as - sure I haven’t invested real study on most of the TEs, but I know my own technique and limitations pretty well and I think FF is the only one I am not capable of playing. I actually find the opening two of the Chopin op 10 extremely difficult to play accurately. In the final analysis it’s probably about the individualities of a pianist’s technique; I don’t think 25/10 and 25/12 are hard at all, and likewise I think the 6th TE is pretty straightforward. Well maybe not in the 1837 version cos the opening is all in the lh :stuck_out_tongue:

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On da other hand, da TEz require mammoth endurace or chill style of unleash or both

Well if you are gonna do a full set rectal unleazh like da whale, yeah :laughing:

That’s tough with either set though! One of the craziest recs I know is Gavrilov’s 10+25 in the 70s. And how he did them. He once told a friend of mine it doesn’t matter for him if he plays a trill with 13 or 35. Sounds like bragging - until you actually hear the guy play!

ahahah but iznt dere alzo da ztory of da GAV zimplifyin da ONDINE openah into a raw tremolo? :sunglasses:

In the 90s/00s in that case I think, I haven’t heard the story. I know I sure would though.

ahahahahah da GAV haff da chopetz az part of hiz core tech rep

howevah dat mofo clearly mo of a PIMP PENIZT

wuzn he zcheduled to rec da complete TEz b4 randomly goin inzane? :sunglasses:

Fo da complete pimp TEz, pozz da best modern live unleash is still da whale in dat 90’s hungarian unleash :zif:

Most complete sets pussy out on either 4 & 8 or 5

Da whale dominates all 3 random azz techs like a mofo n has libido left over to keep rapin da rest of da set with minimal fakerudies


Haha da gensui ztructure ov da TEz

having Feux Follets after Mazeppa is a funny musical transition but technically clever - going from brute force unleash to ticklah unleash.

When you have a more muscular, masculine, fleshy disposition as a pianist, you’ll find most of the Liszt Etudes probably less hard than the Chopin ones. The latter often demand a special sort of supple, flexible dexterity that can only be achieved by working systematically a long time on the specific technical patterns on which the particular Etude is based. You don’t need that kind of “extra work” to the same extent in Liszt’s TEs IMO.

Well, you do, but Liszt will still sound good raped :dong: