Just looking over some of the Preludes while giving Beethoven some extremely detailed study reveals similarities I never noticed before: For example
- A fascination with multi-level meters: what look like repeated eighth-note chords actually going against the grain of the quarter- and half-notes they accompany
- Figures that repeat odd numbered groupings within duple meters
- The indication to play lento or sostenuto when "nothing" seems to be happening
The trouble is that most of our education relies on quick responses to visual information, in fact everything in our multi-tasked environment suggests that this is the way to go. But listening, though it seems at first to be passive, is actually attuning one's mind to the speed of vibration, than which nothing is faster.
The ear signal requires the ability to open the mind to peripheral vibration, the parts of the sound that cannot be written down, and the parts that vary from piano to piano and from room to room.
This is definitely the hard part.