Tag Archives: Frederic Chopin

Chopin on Scarlatti: “He sometimes reaches even Mozart.”

“My colleagues, the piano teachers, are dissatisfied that I am teaching Scarlatti to my pupils. But I am surprised that they are so blind. In his music there are exercises in plenty for the fingers and a good deal of … Continue reading

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“Everything depends on good fingering”

Those were Chopin’s words. Chopin played with a simple, natural position of the hands – and used the easiest fingering. Which was sometimes against the rules. We know he played with a beautiful singing legato touch. He used lots of … Continue reading

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Strike the head with a hammer.

I tell my students to make up a story for the pieces they play. There’s no right.  There’s no wrong. They might need a prompt. Engage the imagination and let them fly with it. No story any student comes up … Continue reading

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A hidden sense of sorrows

“After playing Chopin,  I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own. Music always seems to me to produce that effect. “It creates for one … Continue reading

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Strangely beautiful heartache

“There are … moments in many pieces we love — a fleeting passage, a short series of chords, some unexpected shift in a melodic line — when something occurs that just grabs us. I’m not talking about the obvious ones, … Continue reading

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Chopin:70 Mozart:5

75 minutes on the Horowitz Steinway. The actual piano that Vladimir Horowitz owned and toured with. Not 30 minutes, like I was expecting. My insistence on being early pays off sometimes – there was no one there before me so … Continue reading

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Ex tempore

impromptu: adj. & adv. extempore, unrehearsed. (The Concise Oxford Dictionary) extempore: adj. & adv. 1 without preparation. 2 offhand. [ L ex tempore on the spur of the moment… ]  (Oxford) impromptu: [F.] Title for short pieces by… Chopin and others, … Continue reading

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Learning WAY beyond his level

A 14-year-old student brought a copy of Chopin’s Nocturne Opus 9 #2 to the lesson last week and asked if he could learn it. He said he was prepared and willing to take the whole year. You’ll have surmised by … Continue reading

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Musings on Chopin: It’s a Wrap.

And there we have it. I’ve sight-read through most of Chopin’s solo piano music – all the Preludes, Etudes, Nocturnes, Waltzes, Ballades, Impromptus, Mazurkas and a few miscellaneous pieces (notably absent – the Polonaises and Sonatas). Definite favourites have emerged … Continue reading

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Musings about Chopin: The Mazurkas

Chopin wrote a lot of mazurkas – at least 69, of which 58 have been published. As with the waltzes, he did not intend them for an actual dance, but as stylized piano solos that would be recognized as a … Continue reading

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Musings about Chopin: The Waltzes

Chopin’s Waltzes were more familiar to me than any of his other genres until I embarked on this sight-reading project. I played quite a number of them in my youth and have taught several of them regularly. They’re more accessible … Continue reading

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Musings about Chopin: The Nocturnes

Chopin’s Nocturnes are some of the most beautiful piano music written and rightly occupy a fairly prominent place in many recitals. As a group of pieces, they are similar in form (ternary) and mood (melancholy). A clear melody in the … Continue reading

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