Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Finlow, Simon. “The Twenty-Seven Etudes and Their Antecedents.” In The Cambridge Companion to Chopin, ed. Jim Samson, 50-77. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998 [1992].

Chopin’s Etudes—Op. 10, Op. 25, and the three Nouvelles etudes—are a unique synthesis of musical style and performance technique, and they are examples of the genre in its pristine form. Music critics since Chopin's day have recognized a certain intuitiveness and ingenuity of these works in terms of both musical conception and keyboard technique that cannot be adequately explained by invoking antecedents. However, one can trace a variety of precedents for the musical and technical features of Chopin’s etudes by comparing examples from a group of didactic and non-didactic works. Chopin’s detailed harmonic structures and elaborate chromatic embroidery also point to a strong connection to J. S. Bach. In particular, Bach’s influence on Chopin’s harmonic language is best demonstrated in the contrapuntal tension between the linear, horizontal aspects of the piano figures and the underlying harmonic ground-work that is characteristic of Chopin’s etudes.

Works: Chopin: Etude in C-sharp Minor, Op. 10, No. 4 (54), Etude in A Minor, Op. 25, No. 11 (55), Prelude in F-sharp Minor, Op. 28, No. 8 (62), Etude in C Major, Op. 10, No. 1 (62-65, 69-71), Etude No. 3 from Nouvelles etudes (66-67), Etude in F Major, Op. 10, No. 8 (67-68), Etude in A-flat Major, Op. 10, No. 10 (68-69), Etude in E-flat Major, Op. 10, No. 6 (71-74), Etude in F Major, Op. 25, No. 3 (74-76).

Sources: Hummel: Piano Concerto No. 2 in A Minor, Op. 85 (54), Etude in C Major, Op. 125, No. 1 (63-65); Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 12 in A-flat Major, Op. 26 (55), Diabelli Variations, Op. 120 (55); J. B. Cramer: 84 Studies (55, 61-62); John Field: Piano Concerto No. 2 in A-flat Major (55); Kalkbrenner: Etude in E-flat Major, Op. 20, No. 7 (55): Ludwig Berger: Etude in C Major, Op. 12, No. 1 (63-65); J. C. Kessler: Etude in C Major, Op. 20, No. 1 (63-65); Moscheles: Etude No. 9 in A-flat Major, from Studies for the Perfection of Already Advanced Players, Op. 70 (66-67); Maria Szymanowska: 20 Exercises and Preludes (67-68); J. H. Müller: Preludes and Exercises (68-69); Johann Sebastian Bach: Prelude in C Major, BWV 846, from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I (69-71).

Index Classifications: 1800s

Contributed by: Tong Cheng Blackburn

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