Biography of Frédéric Chopin ; On March 1st, 1810, Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin was born in Zelazowa Wola Village in Poland. At the age of 6, Chopin began to show musical talents on the piano and was writing verse and composing by the age of 7. Chopin began performing at salons at age 8 and it was not long before his skills surpassed those of his own piano teacher and was deemed a child prodigy.
In 1826 Chopin’s father enrolled him in the Main School of Music at Warsaw University. During the time he was in school he composed two important variations: Mozart’s Op.2 on the theme of La ci darem la mano and the Sonata in C minor, Op.4 (Chopin Institute 6), which were published and pushed his career forward. After graduating from the School of Music in July 1829, Chopin left to travel to Vienna, for a tour like experience. He gave two concerts in Vienna, in which he performed “Op.2 and Rondo” and “Op.13 and improvised”. Soon after he returned home to Warsaw, he made a reluctant return to Vienna in hopes of continuing his success, but his second trip was very different from his first. After he left, there was an uprising in Poland that prevented him from being able to visit or see his family or his home. In his distress he performed almost no concerts and the music that he did compose during that time was influenced by the gloomy mindset that he had about his family’s situation. Biography of Frédéric Chopin
After eight weeks in Vienna, Chopin moved to Paris, which at the time was the focal point of romanticism in music and the center of the pianistic world (Walker 20). Chopin made a comfortable living teaching piano to the daughters of the rich and also had a very lively social life, being associated with other artists such as Eugene Delacroix, Franz Liszt, and Hector Berlioz. In the late 1830s, Chopin began an affair with Aurore Dudevant, a novelist more commonly known as George Sand. When Chopin was with Sand he came to a new point in his career, producing a remarkable amount of compositions. During their time together, even in the midst of his troubles with tuberculosis, Chopin produced works such as the B minor sonata, the Op.55 Nocturnes and the Op.56 Mazurkas which are characterized by remarkable refinement and complexity (Libbey). As years passed, his relationship with Sand came to an end and his health was deteriorating even more. He died on October 17, 1849, at age 39, from his tuberculosis.
Megan Gannon for livescience.com wrote that Chopin’s last recorded words were: “Swear to make them cut me open, so I won’t be buried alive.” It was said that Chopin had a terrible fear of being buried prematurely so as a result his body was buried at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris and his heart is now kept in a crypt at the Holy Cross Church in Warsaw, Poland. Biography of Frédéric Chopin
Frédéric Chopin was a composer in the Romantic Era. Chopin is infamous for being the first genius to be completely devoted to piano and compose piano centered pieces only. He composed extremely emotional music and many miniatures, which is a characteristic of the Romantic period. He was a perfectionist and wrote many nocturnes and etudes, but he was really known for polonaises and mazurkas, which gave him the reputation of being a nationalist composer.
Chopin’s “Minute Waltz” is a very short piano piece. The waltz is in triple meter and involves many changes in dynamics. For example at approximately the 53 second mark, the music crescendos to fortissimo and then the music will decrescendo at the 58 second mark to piano. For the majority of the piece, the tempo is presto, but from the 39 second mark to the 1:10 mark the tempo is allegretto. The piece is played in legato, has a polyphonic texture and is in ternary (A B A) form.
Frederic Chopin’s “Nocturne in C sharp minor B. 49” is in three-part ( A B A) form and the tempo of the song is moderato. At the 1:22 minute mark to about the 1:54 mark, you can hear the song has a clear quadruple meter at that time. Many changes in dynamics occured over the course of the piece. At the 1:55 mark, the mezzo piano notes begin to crescendo to forte and then decrescendo at the 2 minute mark back to piano. From the beginning of the piece till 20 seconds in, the nocturne has a monophonic texture, but from the 21 second mark till the end of the song the texture is polyphonic. Biography of Frédéric Chopin
Chopin’s “Variations in A major B.37” is also known as ‘Souvenir de Paganini’. The piece is in sextuple meter, the tempo of the music is andante and it has a pretty slow beat . The texture of the song is polyphonic and the form is three-part ( A B A’) with a variation. As for the dynamics of this piece, the softness and loudness only change a few times. For example, the crescendo from the beginning of the song, in which the notes were piano, all the way to the 1:55 minute mark in the piece, where the notes were forte. After the 2 minute mark, there are clear examples of how the notes quickly crescendo and then decrescendo, going up and then falling back down in a pattern.
Frédéric Chopin composed some of the greatest compositions for piano and was in many ways ahead of his time. His music is of interest to me because he did such an amazing job of conveying emotions through his music. The way that Chopin used the effects of consonant and dissonant tones really enforced his message onto the listener and made his music so distinct.
Chopin only played for small crowds in salons, so his music was often shorter than most composers and he also composed many waltzes. I believe that his miniatures are easier to follow for a listener who might not be as into music from earlier periods. Also, the tempo of the waltzes are allegro or faster and they all have a triple meter so they are more upbeat and exciting which will resonate more with people of today. Chopin was able to make music about deep emotions that also set him apart from other composers. Frédéric Chopin was a very unique composer who paved the way for many other artists and wrote many great works that characterized the Romantic Era.
Chopin Institute. Fryderyk Chopin – Information Centre – Chopin’s Life,
en.chopin.nifc.pl/chopin/life/biography/page/6. Accessed 30 April 2020
Gannon, Megan. “Chopin’s Pickled Heart Reveals Cause of His Death.” LiveScience, Purch, 16
Nov. 2017, www.livescience.com/60953-chopin-pickled-heart-reveals-cause-of-death.html.
Libbey, Ted. “The Life And Music Of Frederic Chopin.” NPR, NPR, 2 Mar. 2010,
www.npr.org/2011/07/18/123967818/the-life-and-music-of-frederic-chopin. Accessed 30 April 2020
Walker, Alan. “CHOPIN: The Voice of the Piano.” The American Music Teacher, vol. 59, no. 6,
2010, pp. 19-26. ProQuest, http://nclive.org/cgi-bin/nclsm?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/734719015?acco untid=10669. Accessed 30 April 2020