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Frederic Chopin. The Child Prodigy . The Beginning:. Born on February 22, 1810 in Zelazowa Wola , Poland Baptismal records reflect the date of Feb. 22 as his birth date but the Chopin family always stated his birthday as March 1 Grew up in the countryside just outside of Warsaw

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Frederic chopin

Frederic Chopin

The Child Prodigy

The beginning
The Beginning:

  • Born on February 22, 1810 in ZelazowaWola, Poland

    • Baptismal records reflect the date of Feb. 22 as his birth date but the Chopin family always stated his birthday as March 1

  • Grew up in the countryside just outside of Warsaw

  • Chopin was the only boy out of 3 children

  • Both his parents were musicians

    • His mother played and taught the piano

    • His father played the flute and the violin

  • Chopin cried as a baby every time music was

    played. His parents were terrified he hated it

Never too young
Never Too Young

  • Chopin learned to play the piano when he was 5 from his oldest sister, Ludwika

  • Later they hired him a piano teacher, Zywny, who was a friend of the family

    • He wasn’t very disciplined but was skilled in teaching Chopin the basic fundamentals of piano

  • By the age of 7 Chopin was already famous in his hometown of Warsaw

  • At age 8 he played for the prince of Russia and composed 2 Polonaises.

    • One in G minor

    • One in B flat

  • Chopin used to sleep with wine corks between his fingers to gain a wider grip

Moving on up
Moving On Up

  • Soon Chopin became too skilled for his current instructor, Zywny, and was in the market to hire someone new

  • He soon found Josef Elsner, a well known musician of the time, and hired him on as his new instructor

  • Elsner worked great with Chopin. He allowed him to vary from the mainstreams of composing and encouraged him to develop something of his own

  • After studying with Elsner, Chopin left for Vienna to showcase his compositions

    • Chopin was recognized but didn’t achieve the success there that he was hoping for


  • After Vienna, Chopin tried his hand in Paris.

    • Stayed in Paris much longer then Vienna striving for success

  • Soon found himself in the “highest society”

    • Gave lessons to royalties

  • Became VERY famous and desired in the music world.

    • Was known as a composer, teacher and pianist

  • Found a “lady friend” in Paris, George Sand, and was with her for 10 years


  • Chopin was diagnosed with Tuberculosis at age 24; lived with it for 15 years, and finally passed away from the disease at age 39 in 1849

    • His sister died as a young child from the same disease and his father is also taken later on for this same disease

  • He was buried in the cemetery of PereLachaise

  • A monument was made and placed in Wassan in

    his memory

  • Portraits, medallions and sculptors were also made

    of Chopin following his death

Chopin’s Burial in Paris

The music
The Music

  • Known as a Romantic Composer but his music fit better in the baroque era with a modern twist

  • When teaching his students, Chopin used compositions from Beethoven, Hummel, Field, Dussek, Hiller and Scarlatti

  • He himself studied Bach, Mozart, Bellini and Handel and Field


  • From the composers listed previously, Bach

    was said to be Chopin’s greatest influence

  • Chopin’s 24 preludes in all keys mimics

    Bach’s 45 preludes and fugues

  • Like Bach, Chopin used an abstract approach in many of his works

Chopin inspires
Chopin Inspires

  • Chopin was an inspiration to many composers who came after him, those being:

    • Franz Liszt (Hungarian pianist & composer)

    • Richard Wagner (German composer)

    • Claude Debussy (French composer)

Claude Debussy

Franz Liszt

Richard Wagner


  • All of Chopin’s music is composed using the piano

  • He is most famous for his Preludes, Etudes, Waltzes, Impromptus, Nocturnes and Scherzoz and Polish dance forms of the Mazurka and Polonaise

  • Chopin is credited with developing a new form called Ballade

    • Ballade is free in style but still has logic behind it

  • Unlike Chopin’s contemporaries; he never wrote overtures, symphonies, ballets or operas

The mazurka
The Mazurka

  • Chopin wrote great Mazurkas!

  • Unlike other composers, he wrote for concert halls

    AND dance settings

  • Chopin was one of the first composers to clearly express nationalism in his


  • He created his own genre

    • Was known to his home country of Poland and transformed it to appeal to the concert going people


  • Chopin never gave actual titles to his compositions

    • He would label them by genre and number

  • Wrote most of his music from inspirations

    • Most were from his own life

  • One of the first inspirations for Chopin was a singing student at Warsaw Conservatory

    • This singer went on to later become a singer at Warsaw Opera which impressed Chopin

  • Chopin would write letters to his friend, TytusWoyciechowski, and tell him who his songs were inspired by and why

Piano concerto no 2 in f minor op 21 composition history
Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21Composition History

  • Composed by Chopin in 1830

  • Wrote this piece before he had finished his formal education at the age of 20

  • It was first performed on March 17, 1830 in Warsaw, Poland at Warsaw’s National Theater as a soloist

  • This Concerto is made up of 3 movements:

    • Maestoso

    • Larghetto

    • Allegro Vivace

  • Movements involve: Piano, two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, one trombone, one timpani and the strings

Movement 1
Movement 1

  • Unlike the usual title of Allegro, this composition is entitled Maestoso, meaning “majestic”

  • This movement shows off the amazing skill of Chopin

  • 2 main melodies in this movement

    • Both start out by the introduction of the orchestra

Movement 2
Movement 2

  • Titled Larghetto

    • Said to be so “Chopinesque”

  • This movement was inspired by the student at Warsaw Conservatory who was mentioned previously

    • Chopin was secretly in love with her

  • Chopin dedicated this concerto to a different woman who was a Polish countess, DelfinaPotocka, whom he knew from his early years in Paris

Movement 3
Movement 3

  • Titled Allegro Vivace

    • Rondo Piece

    • Patterns the Mazurka

  • Played in F minor, but changes to F major toward the end

    • Finishes the piece with more energy and gusto

  • In the end of the movement, the violins play collegno meaning with the wood of the bow

Listening guide 0 00 3 00
Listening Guide0:00 – 3:00

  • 0:00 - Starts in Minor Mode and has a slower start but builds on the tension almost immediately. Starts in a narrow range, march like theme, strings start out and the orchestra is added.

  • 1:00 - Melody quickens, comes to an abrupt halt. Strings and bass trade off for several meters playing their parts. Tempo slows dramatically; gives a sense of a “rest” in the piece.

  • 2:00 - Dynamics are fluctuating from loud to soft, played in duple/simple meter, sound is disconjunct but adds to the timbre of the composition.

  • 3:00 - Melody becomes more complex. Played in a wide range, but are light and carefree. Strings are added in the background, very softly, same melody as the piano.

4 00 7 00
4:00 – 7:00

  • 4:00 – Tempo is still very fast, notes go from light and airy to very strong and robust. Piano plays a solo until the strings are added back in. Piano still has the spotlight. Piano plays a side range, scales moving up and down the keyboard.

  • 5:00 – Piano solo, light strings in the background. Soft dynamic and slower tempo. Notes of the piano give off a soothing and calming effect through conjunct notes. Piano in duple/simple meter.

  • 6:00 – Tempo is still slow but crescendos and gains speed around 6:22. Melody is conjunct and pleasing to the ear. Places pauses and follows them up with several fast quick notes.

  • 7:00 – Piano crescendos and plays very high notes. Strings enter back in for a couple measures, adding to the dynamics. Then the whole orchestra enters again with a very rich sound. Theme explodes. Horns become dominant over the rest for 1 measure. All instruments play the melody in unison.

8 00 11 00
8:00 – 11:00

  • 8:00 - Piano solo, conjunct sound, soft and thoughtful. You can hear the strings playing in the background. Strings hold the melody while the piano gains in tempo and intensity. Wide range with great serenity.

  • 9:00 – Orchestra is added back in adding to the dynamic of the sound. Music intensifies, sounds as if its leading up to something big. Tempo increases in all instruments. Piano still holds on to the main melody.

  • 10:00 - Peak point of the theme, letting it all out. All instruments fade out and the piano is left playing alone. Slower rhythm; notes are conjunct and start the downturn of the theme.

  • 11:00 – Mezzo piano. Piano plays a strong melody but sounds more muted. Continues to play with a wide range and carries on the steady rhythm from the past few measures.

12 00 end
12:00 - END

  • 12:00 – Strings become louder than just background music but the piano keeps the main focus of attention. Piano starts in the upper range but then heads down for the lower range and the sound intensifies.

  • 13:00 (END) - All the instruments explode as the whole orchestra is added, repeat of measures from the 9:00 min mark. Peak of the theme is played over again, but intensified. Strong ending, instruments playing the same melody. Virtuosic & dramatic coda.

Works cited
Works Cited