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The Music of Chopin

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

A key figure in musical Romanticism and a symbol of Poland, Chopin’s compositions retain their central position in the piano repertory. This course studies examples of his work in all genres, drawing on recordings by many of Chopin’s greatest champions, while paying special attention to the instrument as it existed in his day.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No previous knowledge required.

Content of Course

1. Nocturnes.

2. Mazurkas and other Polish dances.

3. Ballades and Impromptus.

4. Larger-scale works.

5. Preludes and Etudes.

Teaching method(s)

Lectures, guided listening, and discussion.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Recognize the main musical features of Chopin’s idiom aurally;

  • Analyse their components;

  • Explain the sources of his inspiration;

  • Evaluate the relationship between events in the composer’s biography and the character and subjects of his compositions.


Core Readings


  • Abraham, Gerald. 1939. Chopin’s Musical Style. London: Oxford University Press.

  • Bellman, Jonathan. 2010. Chopin's Polish ballade: op. 38 as narrative of national martyrdom. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Eigeldinger, Jean-Jacques. 1986 Chopin – pianist and teacher as seen by his pupils. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Hedley, Arthur 1966. Chopin. London: J.M. Dent; New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

  • Samson, Jim (ed) 1992. The Cambridge Companion to Chopin. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press.

Class Handouts

Handouts will be provided.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.