So now an introduction to Chopin and the style of his first ballade. Chopin was a composer during the Romantic Period. The people who study classical music put it into to three time periods, because of the style changes. It’s kind of like separating styles of music from the 1900s into decades. Just like you can hear the style changes for example between the 80s and the 60s, you can also do that with classical music (after you become familiar with it). So the Romantic Period came after the Classical Period (which ended around 1820) and lasted until 1900.
But you’re sitting there thinking “Why the classical period? Isn’t it all classical?” Generally, yes, and specifically no. If we are talking about “classical music”, we usually are referring to all historical periods, but if we want to point to a single historical period we use terms like Baroque, Classical, and Romantic (see my pages on these eras above for reference).
So who was Chopin? Chopin was a composer who mostly wrote for the piano except for a few songs and some pieces for other instruments. What I really like about Chopin is his melodies. If you are looking for gorgeous melodies, listen to Chopin, especially his Nocturnes. You will find a boatload of gorgeous melodies there. Seriously, go on YouTube and check it out. One of my personal favorites is his first nocturne. You may or may not recognize his second nocturne, it is his most popular nocturne. Some of his other famous works include his Minute Waltz and Etude Op. 10 No. 3. Chopin lived a pretty short life, from 1810 to 1849, so he only lived to be 39. But he lived long enough for photography to be invented so we have a picture of him:
One of his contemporaries was pianist and composer Franz Liszt, who was a guy that really liked to show off his piano skills (we’ll talk about his music later). Chopin wasn’t as much as a show off, in fact he didn’t really like performing in public. Nevertheless, he wrote tons of great music for the piano.
Next time I will write about his first Ballade and reveal how amazing it is. Hold tight.