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Piano Instruction: Chopin Prelude No. 4 in E minor, Op. 28, Teacher, Shirley Kirsten

Chopin composed 24 Preludes in Op. 28 exploring 24 different keys (Major and minor) with each Prelude having its own mood and character.

In my step-by-step practicing of the E minor Prelude, I start with the Left Hand with its chordal mosaic, and listen attentively for descending chromatic movement between chords. In the foundational learning process, I want to be aware of common tones and those voice or voices within the sonorities that move. (Note that there are some progressions that are not chromatic)

I also need to use a supple wrist so I don’t enter the chords too fast, or with unnecessary impact. Listening across the chords helps to avoid a vertical rendering.

Next, I shape the right hand, which is especially challenging with its long notes in Largo tempo. The Alla breve indication of cut time, or a feeling in two helps move the melody along.

Finally, I play hands together trying to keep a nice balance between chords and melody, listening for how the passing, chromatic and other harmonies nourish the expressive line above.

9 thoughts on “Piano Instruction: Chopin Prelude No. 4 in E minor, Op. 28, Teacher, Shirley Kirsten”

  1. What a marvel- Chopin- this- you.
    Dad would approve. I have heard a number of people play this, but you have “something extra” which makes the music so special.
    Thanks for sharing.



  2. John, Thanks for your special response to the Prelude. Very appreciated, and thank you for sending along your dad’s precious playing of this very beautiful work. It’s nice to know that Oberlin is memorialized as well in his reading.


  3. I thank you very much for the fingering that many sheets don´t have.

    In the beautiful upwards path or learnig piano it´s a pleasure to find a helping, friendly hand, thank you.


  4. I am not positive the place you’re getting your information, but good topic. I must spend a while learning much more or understanding more. Thank you for excellent info I was on the lookout for this information for my mission.


  5. I work with a teacher here in. Sydney, but in between lessons consult your blog regularly. I find it a wonderful source of additional advice, illustration and resources for the pieces I am working on. Very generous of you to share your passionate approach to playing and practicing.


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