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Chopin and His World$
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Jonathan D. Bellman and Halina Goldberg

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691177755

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691177755.001.0001

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Middlebrow Becomes Transcendent: The Popular Roots of Chopin’s Musical Language

Middlebrow Becomes Transcendent: The Popular Roots of Chopin’s Musical Language

Chapter:
(p.147) Middlebrow Becomes Transcendent: The Popular Roots of Chopin’s Musical Language
Source:
Chopin and His World
Author(s):

Jonathan D. Bellman

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691177755.003.0007

This chapter explains why Chopin's music has always been so readily appreciated by listeners—far more even than that of still-popular contemporaries such as Robert Schumann and Franz Liszt. The answer hinges on musical language: the gestures heard moment to moment on the musical surface rather than longer-term structural relationships. Chopin's music is disarmingly accessible, and his influences—the music he most enjoyed—explain how his style evolved this way. These repertories include far more than a familiar selection of revered masterworks, as scholars tend to conceive historical music today, or familiar pedagogical curricula, and it takes nothing from his music to ask which part of it was acquired outside the classroom.

Keywords:   Fryderyk Chopin, Robert Schuman, Franz Liszt, musical language, repertoires, masterworks, historical music

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