Thoughts on Performing Chopin By Scott Perlov As pianists train, they often find that the work of one or two composers best suits their tastes and performance preferences. In my work, I have found that Chopin and Rachmaninoff speak to me. Musicians who choose to study and perform Chopin can improve their odds of success by taking the following into account. Take into account unusual musical terms. Chopin’s compositions include a variety of less-common musical directions. Students of Chopin should be sure they have a clear understanding of these terms’ literal Italian meanings as well as their intended effect on the piece. One should also consider “Rubato” phrasing when playing Chopin. Many of Chopin’s works, especially his Mazurkas, rely on rubato phrasing, which involves prolonging one part of a musical phrase or measure and shortening another to even the piece. Knowing how rubato works and when to stretch and shorten makes a world of difference in performing Chopin. Another important aspect would be the pedal and tuning adjustments. The pedaling instructions Chopin indicated were intended for 19th-century instruments. To create his intended sound today, examine a piano internally and experiment with various pedal applications. About the author: Scott Perlov currently is an associate attorney with Berg, Hill, Greenleaf and Ruscitti. He attended Colgate University as an undergraduate on a music scholarship. Perlov maintains his concert piano performance abilities and has taken up the study of guitar as well.
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