Frédéric François Chopin (1810 -1849). Chopin was born in Zelazowa Wola , near Warsaw, Poland to a Polish mother and French father. His musical talents were recognised from an early age and he was playing piano concertos at the age of eight!
Frédéric François Chopin (1810 -1849)
Chopin was born in ZelazowaWola, near Warsaw, Poland to a Polish mother and French father.
His musical talents were recognised from an early age and he was playing piano concertos at the age of eight!
Following school, Chopin attended the Warsaw Conservatoire of Music to study as a performer and composer
In Vienna, Chopin made a name for himself as both a virtuoso pianist and a composer.
In 1832 he travelled to Paris and became a sought-after teacher and performer.
Chopin moved in influential social circles in Paris including such composers as Liszt and Berlioz,
Chopin met the authoress AuroreDudevant (known as Georges Sand) with whom he had a nine-year relationship.
During this period, he composed many of his finest piano works.
His piano music reflects his love of his homeland of Poland in its use of Polish folk melodies and dance rhythms (such as the mazurka and polonaise).
It was the modal nature of the folk melodies and the complex harmonies of the authentic Polish music that inspired him and can be found in evidence in the music he composed.
Towards the end of his life, Chopin suffered poor health and he became desperately ill with Tuburculosis, which eventually killed him.
In 1838, in an attempt to improve his condition in a warmer climate, he went to Majorca.
However, as the local inhabitants feared they would catch the disease, Chopin and his lover were forced to seek exile in an isolated and derelict monastery in Valldemossa. It was here that Chopin composed the 'Raindrop' Prelude and completed the set of 24 preludes as well as the famous C# minor Scherzo.
A year later, he had sadly split up from his lover and died at home in Paris on 17 October 1849.
In music, this person will be an excellent performer on their chosen instrument.
Composers will write music that will show off their playing skills
The development of the piano
The sound and tone of the instrument, invented during the Classical era, was improved considerably to give the instrument more power, which was vital in expressing the extreme dynamic ranges in Romantic music. The piano became the supreme solo instrument of the Romantic era.
This was achieved through the following developments:
The instrument was reshaped and enlarged to create a greater sound The number of notes increased in both treble and bass registers to seven octaves
Felt replaced leather on the hammers, producing a more rounded and fuller tone
Strings were longer, stronger and under increased tensions than previously
The body frame of the piano was constructed of metal (as opposed to wood) to cope with the increased string tensions
Thesustaining and soft pedals were developed
Over half of the piece is made up of the middle section. The mood of this C# minor section is ponderous, dark and stormy, with the melody in the left-hand bass of the piano in thick chordal, almost chorale-like, movement. Yet the piece is remembered and acquired its nickname of the 'Raindrop' from the beautiful elegiac melody of section A!
Keyboard techniques used:
The piece is of moderate playing standard and is not virtuosic.
The keyboard range keeps mostly to the stave with a few ledger line notes. The top note is only Bb and the rhythms are quite straightforward.
Key playing techniques employed in this piece include:
cantabile legato (singing style and smooth) playing
careful expressive use of the pedals
use of rubato (pull back or speed up the tempo to show expression)playing.
arpeggiothe notes of a chord played one after the other rather than together, e.g. C-E-G-C etc
soft pedal pedal on a piano that, when pressed, softens the tone of the music
sustaining pedalthat, when pressed, sustains all the strings on the piano by removing the dampers from all strings and allowing them to vibrate
acciaccaturaliterally an ornament - 'a crushed in note' played as quickly as possible before the main note
dominant pedal a sustained (or repeated) note(s) on the dominant note of the key inner pedal a sustained (or repeated) note(s) in the middle of a musical texture
inverted dominant pedal a sustained (or repeated) note(s) as the highest part in a musical texture
pivot note a note common to both keys and used to pivot between two
fuguea musical texture involving polyphonic writing for instruments/voices. However, it is also known as a structure in which voice parts enter one after the other in imitation. The fugue has three sections: the exposition - middle entries -final entries
Text taken from Edexcel GCSE Music – John Arkell, Jonny Martin Pearson Education Ltd. 2009