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Chopin's Singing Piano Tone

 Chopin's Sing Piano Tone

Chopin played the piano softly, with a singing tone that imitated the voice. Others bashed and thumped the keys, but Chopin was a master of understatement. In the mid 1800's, piano virtuosi were often distinguished by what they did best. Kalkbrenner was known for his octaves, Liszt for surpassing technique.

Indeed, one of Chopin's favorite composers was Bellini, known for his beautiful, perfectly shaped melodies. Given that Chopin only really liked Bach and Mozart, that is high praise of Bellini, indeed. A melody of haunting beauty is always at the center of Chopin's music,  even when there are strenuous pyrotechnics in progress.

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Compare Chopin and Liszt

A comparison of Liszt and Chopin reveals, for example, that Chopin is always somewhat contrapuntal, with several carefully crafted parts simultaneously at work. Liszt's accompaniment includes little counterpoint beyond basic voice leading.

Chopin uses his counter melodies, those inner parts, to support the melody in a way that shows his intense knowledge and love for the musical biology of Bach. Few other composers of the time bothered to lavish such attention on almost inaudible inner parts. But Chopin did it with care and passion. He lovingly sculpted each voice until their sum made a living breathing whole.

Chopin Was Always Elegant

Chopin's short life drew to a close. He knew he was dying for many years. His melodies became convoluted, tortured and dark. Gone was the shiny brilliance and the childish enthusiasm of his early works, replaced by a brooding, mature romanticism that has a razor sharp inner lining to the bittersweet exterior.

Indeed, there is a streak of anger to his very last works, as if he reproved his fellows for not sharing his early departure. Imagine what we would have heard, had Chopin lived another thirty years!

REFERENCES

Music History

What Killed the Golden Age of the Piano

Carl Tausig Cooks His Cat

I Meet Aaron Copland

George Sand Killed Chopin

Why Brahms Must Have Been Fat

Artur Rubinstein Was A Vampire

Igor Stravinsky Loses His Cool

Vladimir Horowitz Goes To The Racetrack

Beethoven Was No Beauty

The World’s Largest Blue Danube Waltz

Was Mozart Murdered?

Beethoven’s Rage Over A Lost Penny

Franz Schubert, The First Bohemian

Chopin’s Singing Piano Tone

Stravinsky’s Good Luck

Tchaikovsky’s Greatest Fan

Hector Berlioz and the Orchestral Train Wreck

Piano Lessons with Papa Bach

Piano Lessons with Frederic Chopin

The Great Piano Craze of 1910

The American Piano Wars

Why Hugo Wolf Went Insane

Rachmaninoff and the Evolution of Pop Songs

Musical Feuds

Piano In The Past Was Better

The Master’s Hands

Einstein’s Piano

Einstein’s Violin Improvisations In Gypsy Style

A History of Piano and Numbers

Ryan Seacrest’s Piano Concerto #2

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