Sep. 24-Sep. 30: Chopin

"Everything must be made to sing." 
-Chopin to his pupils

Chopin was a polish composer of the romantic era who wrote almost exclusively for solo piano.  A man of great creative power and unique musical style, Chopin understood the limitations of the piano and composed in a way which overcame these limitations.  He was greatly inspired by the "bel canto" (beautiful singing) style of Italian Opera, and said to his students, "Everything must be made to sing".

Chopin composed a set of 24 preludes in all major and minor keys.  They are often performed as a cycle, offering contrast, tension, and release.  For this week, we will focus on Prelude no. 8.  I've included a recording of the piece played on piano and another with two performers on marimba!

F. Chopin, Prelude in F-sharp minor, Op. 28 no. 8

Prelude no. 8 begins at 9:01


  • Can you name the 3 sharps in the key signature?
  • How would you describe the mood or feeling of this piece?
  • What are some limitations of the piano?  How does Chopin overcome these limitations in this piece? (Hint: Think about what other instruments such as strings or woodwinds that a piano can not)  You can even listen to last week's waltzes to help you with this question!