preluding in the 19th century


Running a little behind this morning. I just helped daughter Sarah make an order on I also would like to make new copies of two descants for this morning’s Eucharist since the old copies from the church’s library are pretty crappy.

My thought for today is that I learned a new fact about Chopin’s Preludes for piano yesterday. Since there are 24 of them, I always sort of associated them with Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier which also runs through all the keys. But actually they are something else.

Kenneth Hamilton says they are composed versions of pieces pianists would improvise before playing a piece. Apparently this was a wide spread phenomenon in the 19th century. And many composers published examples of them. I was looking through Clementi’s Introduction to the Art of Piano Playing Op. 42 and noticed that before each group of compositions he has provided for students by other composers is a little strummy prelude that looks like he wrote as an example of how to prelude before performing one of the pieces.

Who knew?

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