The Life And Music Of Frederic Chopin

Considered Poland’s best composer, Frédéric Chopin focused his efforts on the piano composition and had the high influence on the composers who followed him.

Frédéric Chopin was born on March 1, 1810. He was a virtuoso pianist and Polish composer of the Romantic era who wrote mostly for the solo piano. Chopin gained and had maintained famous worldwide as the greatest musician of his time.

Frédéric’s “poetic genius depended on a professional technique which was without equal in his own generation.” This great composer was born in what was then known as Duchy of Warsaw and grew up in the Warsaw that in 1815 became part of the Congress Poland.

As child prodigy, he finished his musical education and did compose his earlier works in the Warsaw before he left Poland at the age of 20, less than a month before an outbreak of the Nov. 1830 Uprising.

It’s clear that Chopin’s love for music started at an extremely young age since his father was a musician of various instruments and his mother a piano teacher and player. Nonetheless, his decision to become a musician was on account of his sister Ludwika who taught him basic tunes and how to play the piano. Many scholars give thanks, Ludwika as a first piano teacher of Chopin.

All of the Frédéric’s compositions include the piano. Many are for solo piano, even though he also wrote a few chamber pieces, two piano concertos, and a number of songs to Polish lyrics.

Chopin’s Musical Styles

The music of Frederic Chopin is world-famous for its captivating moods and delicate gracefulness. He wrote music which was to be understood in musical terms only and didn’t depend on evoking pictorial or literary elements from the past. Pretty much all of the songs Chopin wrote is for solo piano.

His most popular works, on which his reputation is established, are his Preludes and Nocturnes. His Mazurkas and Polonaises are also famous. Each of these special styles had a tradition before Frédéric, but his experimental talent and nature transcended what had been carried out with each form of the music.

Frédéric endowed his Nocturnes, short-lyrical pieces whereby a simple melody expresses a broad range of emotions, into what’s possibly his most seminal works. The Preludes, written while he lived in the Majorca with George Sand, are at once melancholic and ecstatic.

1. Raindrop Prelude in D-flat Major, Opus 28. No. 15

2. Nocturne in E-flat Major, Op. 9 No. 2

The mazurkas and the polonaises are Polish dance forms which Frédéric used to express his love and the longing for his home country.

1. Mazurka Op. 17 No. 4

2. Fantasie Impromptu in C-sharp Minor Op. 66

The unique sound of the Chopin’s music is because of a number of things.

First of all, his style of playing was light, delicate, and had flexibility to it which developed lots of different emotion layers. These qualities are all shared by the songs he wrote.

Frédéric was (apparently) much more suited to playing in a drawing room or any other intimate settings rather than a concert hall.

Perhaps, it makes sense because most of his pieces have a lot more power when they are performed in a cozy setting. The melodies in his pieces are either exciting and grand, or reflective and touching. The harmonies develop subtle shades of color and provide the music a fragile feeling.

In fact, there are very many ways to describe Chopin’s music, here is a short list of words:

1. Thoughtful

2. Liquid

3. Dark

4. Frail

5. Refined

6. Graceful

Frédéric music is also important since it benefits a lot from a rhythmic technique known as rubato (that he mainly used when he played). This is basically speeding down or slowing up the melody based on the flow of the piece. The nocturnes particularly sound excellent with the rubato!

He also used characteristic chromaticism (Greek word for “colored,” means using notes not part of the existing scale) to develop inky and thoughtful moods. Chopin always puts these little chromatic runs throughout the place. They are tricky to play but very funny!

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