Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Term Paper on Frederic Chopin

Term Paper on Frederic Chopin

Frederic Chopin was a Polish composer and pianist who lived from 1810 to 1845. He wrote hundreds of pieces, mazurkas, concertos, preludes, nocturnes, polonaises, and sonatas. Almost everything he wrote was exclusively for the piano. He had his own unique poetic and lyrical style; his songs could be light and dreamy and yet dark and emotional at the same time. Known as "The Poet of the Piano", he is still considered the most important composer from the Romantic period, and it can be said that no one understood the piano better than him.

He was born Frederic Francois Chopin on February 4, 1810, at Zelazowa Wola, Poland. His mother was Polish and his father French. He started his musical training at an early age, starting up with the piano at age four. He wrote his first piece at age seven, a polonaise, and gave his first concert at the age of eight. From here on he was revered as a child prodigy.


Chopin made his musical debut in Vienna, Austria, and after that he played his two piano concertos (Concerto in F Minor, and Concerto in E Minor) in Warsaw. Then he decided to leave Poland to give concerts in Western Europe, never to return. Shortly after this however, the Polish insurrection broke out, and his travelling companions returned home. Chopin was then mainly inactive, and was plagued by anxiety of the upheaval at his home.

In September of 1831 Chopin moved to Paris, twenty-one years old, and was immediately recognized for his talent. His musical training had been for the most part self guided, because there were no prestigious piano teachers where he grew up, but immediately people in France were trying to persuade him to enroll in strict and disciplined piano studies. His piano teacher from Poland observed "they have recognized genius in Frederic and are already frightened that he will outstrip them, so they want to keep their hands on him for three years in order to hold back something of that which nature herself might push forward."

Chopin now had the advantage of being a fresh, new, and free pianist. He has developed his own unique style, deriving from his influences such as violinistic singer Angelica Catalani, the nocturnes of Weber, and of course Mozart and Bach. His pieces had a somewhat familiar air to them, but were not harnessed by the strict form that everyone at the time followed. Unlike other romance composers, his paintings didn't depict love stories or paintings, they remained poetic yet personal. His works demanded a lot of hand coordination, and challenged even the most accomplished pianists of the time. The left hand would be rhythmic and unwavering, while his right hand would glide around in the melody freely. Chopin described his technique thus: "the left hand is the conductor; it must not waver or lose ground; do with the right hand what you will and can." This technique is called tempo rubato. An example of this technique can be found in Chopin's Berceuse (Lullaby), containing a repeating and jumping rhythm in the left hand, while the right hand plays a light, and beautiful melody that almost sounds improvised. Schumann was one of the first of his contemporaries to realize Chopin's unique and original style, using the now famous line "Hats off, gentleman. A genius!"

Chopin had soon become an established teacher of the piano with many pupils. He would give concerts in people's homes (which he preferred over large halls), and was now widely known for his innovation and skill. While visiting London in 1837, Chopin started an intimate relationship with the French novelist George Sand. He moved with her and her children to the island of Majorca, where they lived in wretched conditions. Chopin began to show signs of tuberculosis. Despite his illness, he composed a great deal of his pieces at Mme. Sand's country house in Nohant. He made no public appearances for a span of six years, and became more and more frail. His music reflected this, and developed softer graduations.

Sand continued to nurse Chopin until their continued differences drove them apart. Although he was able to live comfortable on his fees as a tutor, he gave several more concerts in England, Scotland, and France, with his last in Paris. He died at age thirty-nine, and at his request his heart was taken to Warsaw and placed in the Holy Cross Church. His funeral was at the Madeleine, where Mozart's Requiem Mass was performed, and he is buried at Pere-Lachaise. According to legend, not one day has passed when flowers haven't been placed on his grave.

Chopin introduced new variations and techniques in familiar forms of music. His many Preludes varied in style, some could be powerful and intimidating, such as his Prelude in C Minor, and others could be slow and sad, like the Prelude in E Minor. He always stayed true to his Polish background, and his most written pieces were polonaises and country mazurkas. One of his most famous pieces is his Military Polonaise in A Major, and it is still widely celebrated in Poland.

Chopin is internationally known for his beautiful and melodic pieces, his emotional and personal style, and his mastery of his instrument. Once called "the Piano Bard, the Piano Rhapsodist, the Piano Mind, and the Piano Soul", his innovation influenced two generations of composers: from Liszt and Rachmaninoff, to Debussy and Granados. Surely the piano would lack some of its prestige and power if he had never furthered its art so much.

Warning!!! All free sample term papers and college term paper examples on Frederic Chopin topics are plagiarized and cannot be fully used in your high school, college or university education.

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