Top 10 Interesting Facts About Frédéric Chopin

By Austin Hennen Vigil 

Frédéric Chopin was a Polish music composer and pianist of the Romantic era who wrote mainly for the solo piano. He was born on March 1st, 1810 and grew up in Warsaw, Poland, and then lived in Paris for his adult life. His life unfortunately ended early, and will be discussed in this article. Here are 10 facts you may not know about the legendary Chopin:

  1. Chopin played the piano in the dark throughout his entire life. He would always put out the candles in the room, and even when playing at an event or party, he would ask to extinguish the light in the room. He was shy, and only gave around 30 public concerts in his lifetime; he preferred to play to small gatherings in the salons of wealthy Parisians. 
  2. Chopin was a child star; he was writing and composing poetry at age 6, and performed his first public concerto at age 8. By the time he was 12, Chopin had already performed in the drawing rooms of countless Polish aristocrats and created original compositions. He inherited the music genes from his parents, his mother was a piano teacher, and his father was a flute and violin expert. 
  3. In 1824, he spent the summer months in Szafarnia, the mansion which is now called the “Chopin Centre,” equipped with a concert hall and small museum. It was during this time that he wrote a series of letters for his parents, known as the “Kurier Szafarnia,” parodying the “Kurjer Warszawski,” which was the daily pre-WWII newspaper in Chopin’s hometown of Warsaw. 
  4. In 1826 Chopin became a full-time student at Elsner’s conservatory, where he received a great foundation in music theory, harmony, and counterpoint. Elsner, after recognizing that Chopin’s style was too original to force into traditional patterns, granted him the freedom to develop along distinctly personal lines. Chopin is one of the few composers whose style formed and remained the same during his youth and never changed throughout his lifetime. 
  5. As a way of making money while living in Paris, Chopin built up a network of wealthy people he would give piano lessons to. He was very modest, however, so he would not ask them for money, instead, his pupils would leave the money on his mantelpiece while he turned away. 
  6. Chopin’s “Minute Waltz” doesn’t mean minute, as in small, but minute as in the unit of time measurement. The 138 bars of music, however, take around 90 to 120 seconds to play. Chopin’s publishers decided on the nickname.
  7. Chopin’s partner of 10 years, George Sand, was 32 when she met Chopin, and he was 26. Sand had already divorced and had 2 children, Solange and Maurice. Solange is said to have been somewhat responsible for the split of Sand and Chopin. George Sand accused Chopin of siding with Solange in the dispute of the marriage of Solange and sculptor, Auguste Clesinger. George Sand, because of this, thought that Chopin had actually been in love with Solange the whole time, not her, which lead to the split. 
  8. Chopin’s favorite piano maker was “Pleyel”. When he was recuperating from tuberculosis in Majorca, Spain, his Pleyel piano was to go with him. However, the piano took too long to go through the Spanish customs, so he had to play on an inferior piano when he was in Spain during his final years. However, some of his most famous pieces were composed on his Pleyel piano. 
  9. As Chopin was on his death bed, he was surrounded by friends and admirers for some days. When he knew he wasn’t going to make it, Chopin asked Delfina Potocka, a Polish countess who had been tending to him, to sing the National Anthem of Poland. It is believed that he gave his last breath as she finished the anthem. His last words were, “mother, my poor mother.”
  10. Chopin died on October 17th, 1849, at the young age of 39, most likely from tuberculosis. His heart was removed from his body after his death and remains preserved in Poland. He is buried near his friend, composer Cerubini, at the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Mozart’s “Requiem” was performed at his funeral. 

I hope you enjoyed the article, please feel free to comment if you have more interesting facts about Frédéric Chopin that I may have missed!

Looking for Chopin Sheet Music? Look no further! We have all you need at Sheet Music Plus.

Austin Hennen Vigil is a marketing intern at Sheet Music Plus, and holds a degree in Business Marketing from Arizona State University.

3 Responses to “Top 10 Interesting Facts About Frédéric Chopin”

  1. 1 maryku405 October 3, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    Frédéric Chopin’s Prelude in D-flat Major, Op. 28: No. 15 “Raindrop” was inspired after the composer had a waking dream on the piano keyboard at a monastery in Majorca. According to George Sand, who interrupted the composer’s reverie when she returned to the monastery during a rainstorm, Chopin told her that he had seen himself drowned in a lake, while heavy drops of water fell in a regular rhythm on his chest.

  1. 1 Composer Highlight: Chopin – Site Title Trackback on January 8, 2020 at 1:55 pm
  2. 2 ۵ حقیقت درباره شوپن که شاید نمیدانستید !! | گالری پیانو نوا | معتبرترین سایت پیانو Trackback on August 2, 2020 at 6:53 am

Leave a Reply to maryku405 Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

About Take Note:

Thought-provoking articles by musicians for musicians

FREE Newsletter:

Get exclusive discounts and coupons
Sign Up Today →

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 460 other subscribers

%d bloggers like this: