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Frédéric Chopin

BIOGRAPHY

Frédéric Chopin (1 March 1810 - 17 October 1849) was a Polish composer and pianist during the Romantic Era. He primarily composed solo piano works, but also wrote two piano concertos, chamber works, and 19 songs in Polish.

He is the most well-known composer of the mazurka, a lively Polish national folk dance in triple meter, where the accent is on the second and third beats. He also known for his nocturnes, impromptus, polonaises, études, and waltzes.

There are several common characteristics in Chopin’s works that make his music recognizable. Chopin’s process with composing is very improvisatory, which presents itself in trills, grace notes, chromatic runs, and a call for rubato playing. Chopin is also known for complex rhythms, such as four notes in the right hand being played against a triplet in the left hand. These are called polyrhythms.

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SCORE READING

Below is an excerpt from Chopin’s Impromptu Op. 36 No. 2 in F# Major. Search for runs, trills, and polyrhythms that are characteristic of Chopin’s compositions.