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Chopin and the Early Romantic Era

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 3 months ago

The Era

the medium of composing for piano was beginning to gain popularity as performances in the salon became more and more popular. The piano was changing as well with new ability like being able to control dynamics, an expanded range, quicker release allowing for more technical pieces to be composed.



Frédéric François Chopin




Birth: February 22, 1810 in Żelazowa Wola, Poland

Death: October 17, 1849 in Paris, France

Nationality: POLISH and French

Occupation: Coposer and Pianist





Chopin Created the typical Romantic piece. He enjoyed elaborating the Polish Mazurkas, or dances, Polonaises, Waltzes, The Bollero, and the Tarantella. Chopin also developed new styles which added complexity to the composition of Piano pieces. He didn't write any operas, symphonies, or quartets; only a trio, which was for the Piano, cello, and violin. Chopin, though, is most famous for his musical miniatures, of which most are within the playing ability of amateurs. His style consisted of melodius themes which were expressive and technical, and many repeated melodies. His best pieces include op. 7 no. 4 and op. 17 no. 4 of the Mazurkas, as well as Piano concertos No. 1 and 2., and op. 10 of his Etudes. Chopin was also very nationalistic, proud of his Polish heritage, and loyal to his motherland.







Les autres Compositeurs Romantiques





In the Early Romantic Era, there were many composers who were transitioning from the Classical Era, such as Ludwig van Beethoven, Gioacchino Rossini and Franz Schubert. All of these composers composed pieces that were very reminiscent of the Classical Era, mostly because they had first composed in this time period. Some Early Romantic compsers were; Vincenzo Bellini, Hector Berlioz, Johann Strauss, Felix Mendelssohn, Frédéric François Chopin, Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner. The styles of the composers born and taught in the Early Romantic Era were emotional and dramatic, often contaning virtuoso performers. But, not all compositions were sad and depressing, there were different moods, depending on the piece. The rhythms were complicated and flexible with a heavy and homophonic texture. The melodies were often supported by chords, and contained dissonance. The Classical structure and forms were applied a lot to Early Romantic pieces, with pieces for orchestra or solo voice accompanied by the piano. Operas were also very prominent in this era.



Hector Berlioz coined the term idée fixe, which is a theme, or musical piece that is repeated to represent a person or idea. He used this in his song title Symphonie Fantastique to represent the woman he loved. This is a program music peice and has five parts, where as most music of the time had four. The four movements are: Rêveries - Passions (Dreams - Passions), Un bal (A Ball), Scène aux champs (Scene at the Country), Marche au supplice (March to the Scaffold) and lastly Songe d'une nuit de sabbat (Dream of a Witches' Sabbath). The story is of an artist, much like himself, who falls in love with a woman and is obsessed with her, eventually he goes into the depths of hell and which as  a whole new sound but the theme of the woman still comes in thus the idée fixe.






Verdi                                           Bellini                                          Mendelssohn                                          Berlioz


Strauss                                       Liszt                                                               Schumann





Notre Groupe!


  • Aggie Marchel
  • Alyssa Ried





Les Sources!


  1. Sadie, Stanley. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Ed. 4. Britain: The New Grove Dictionary, 1980.




listening logs


Mazurka No. 44 in C major, op. 9

~ Frédéric Chopin




-triple meter

-fluctuations in tempo, but mostly around moderato or slow allegro



The piece is in ABA format. The first section being longer because it is repeated. The phrasing is 2+2 with a crescendo on the antecedent and a decrescendo on the consequent. The entire idea is 16 measures long, but 32 after it is repeated. The next section, beginning at 1:01, is much shorter, only going until 1:14. It is only 8 measures in length and uses the same structure of 2+2 but at a quicker tempo. Then Chopin returns to the theme at A for one final playing.



Chopin was a composer from the romantic era. He composed mostly for the piano. He also took forms and expanded on them, such as the Mazurka, which is a dance. He made it more drastic and emotional. Chopin grew up as a virtuoso performer, and moved to Paris when he was 20. He never considered himself a romantic composer because he used classical forms. However, he used the traditional forms in such a way and with such expression that makes him a romantic.




Nocturne No. 10 in C# minor, op. 72

~ Frédéric Chopin




-duple meter




From 0 to 0:22 the piece opens with the same idea repeated twice. First it is forte and strong, then it is repeated piano and submissively. From 0:23 to 1:31 Section A is played. It is characterized by trills and the melody in the right hand accompanied by broken chords in the left. Chopin uses 2+2 phrasing. 1:32 to 2:15 is section B because it switches temporarily to the major at 1:40 and a nationalistic, folkloric melody is incorporated right before the switch back to minor at 1:48. This section of folk music is then repeated in the new key…



Chopin was a composer from the romantic era. He composed mostly for the piano. He took forms such as the Nocturne and turned it into more sophisticated music. Chopin grew up as a virtuoso performer, and moved to Paris when he was 20. He never considered himself a romantic composer because he used classical forms. However, he used the traditional forms in such a way and with such expression that makes him a romantic.



Nachthelle by Franz Schubert




· One section of male singers


· Have a tenor range and are about 4- 5 singers


· Piano


· One male voice starts singing one line in mezzo piano and then three other male singers sing the same line again in piano


· The form is ABCA


· The text is different in each section, A,B, and C, but the piano plays the same melody throughout the song


· The melody of the singers is also the same but they repeat different lines in the different stanzas


· Meter is 4/4


· Left hand of the piano plays staccato and the right hand more legato








· First Section A 0:00-1:25


· 0:00-0:17 the piano plays alone


· A tenor male voice sings, after he is done three other male voices, who have a pitch that is slightly lower repeat the same line, this time a little bit more piano than before, with a slight variation in the pitches of the notes (lower)


· Before the new section is sung, the lead singer repeats the last line and the others after him as well. This time it was very slow and even softer and higher pitched


· Second Section B: 1:26- 2:02


· There is a crescendo from 1:27-1:53


· The second line is homophonic since the solo singer and the group sing together but different texts, this is also true for the third and second line


· At 1:55 there is abrupt decrescendo


· The third Section C: 2:03- 2:50


· It starts similarly to the first section, it is very soft and subtle and then at the third stanza there is a crescendo and it gets rapidly louder


· The last three lines that are repeated are sung in unison


· For five seconds the piano plays alone and is a bridge between the C and A section


· The fourth section A: 2:56-4:15


· The last part of the song 4:16-5:49 is very loud and dramatic. It has the same text as section A but its dynamics are very different and also portrays a different mood, so I would say it is not part of A but a conclusion.


· The end then is again very soft






· Composer: Franz Schubert


· His strength is with voices as this piece clearly demonstrates. He was bound to the classical form, which is shown through its simplicity and not many mood changes.


· Romantic composer



Mazurka in F minor- Chopin as played by Piotr Anderszewski




4/4 time





0:00-0:33- A

Begins in F minor


0:34-0:49- B

Key goes up



0:50-1:27- A




1:21-end- B

Theme is varied

Repeated once

Begins in a lower key than the previous B, but returnes to original key with the repeat




Similar to other Mazurkas



Nicht Schnell- Robert Schumann as played by Yuri Bashmet on Viola and Mikhail Muntain on piano





4/4 time



A-B-A-C-A-ending theme


0:00-0:19 A


0:20-1:01- B

Solos interchange between viola and piano


1:02-1:23- A

The theme is varied


1:24-2:11- C

They key changes to minor


2:12-3:12- A

The theme is varied

Played in a minor key


3:13-end- Ending theme

Played in minor

The theme of the piece is varied




Similar to other Schumann pieces


Comments (1)

Anonymous said

at 9:05 pm on Mar 19, 2007

I have a Chopin listening log on there, if you guys want to add it - on his Military Polonaise.

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