Chopin Preludes Transcription
Chopin's 24 Preludes, Op. 28, are a set of short pieces for the piano, one in each of the twenty-four keys, originally published in 1839.
Chopin wrote them between 1835 and 1839, partly at Valldemossa, Majorca, where he spent the winter of 1838–39 and where he had fled with George Sand and her children to escape the damp Paris weather. In Majorca, Chopin had a copy of Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier, and as in each of Bach's two sets of preludes and fugues, his Op. 28 set comprises a complete cycle of the major and minor keys, albeit with a different ordering.
The autograph manuscript, which Chopin carefully prepared for publication, carries a dedication to the German pianist and composer Joseph Christoph Kessler. The French edition was dedicated to the piano-maker and publisher Camille Pleyel, who had commissioned the work for 2,000 francs (equivalent to nearly $30,000 in present day). The German edition[which?] was dedicated to Kessler, who ten years earlier had dedicated his own set of 24 Preludes, Op. 31, to Chopin.
Whereas the term "prelude" had hitherto been used to describe an introductory piece, Chopin's pieces stand as self-contained units, each conveying a specific idea or emotion. He thus imparted new meaning to a genre title which at the time was often associated with improvisatory "preluding".[n 1] In publishing the 24 preludes together as a single opus, comprising miniatures that could either be used to introduce other music or as self-standing works, Chopin challenged contemporary attitudes regarding the worth of small musical forms.
Whereas Bach had arranged his collection of 48 preludes and fugues according to keys separated by rising semitones, Chopin chosen key sequence is a circle of fifths, with each major key being followed by its relative minor, and so on (i.e. C major, A minor, G major, etc). Since this...