Minute Waltz Glimpse of Chopin’s Genius

Neolithic number eight is on the piano keyboard.

Minute Waltz Glimpse of Chopin’ Genius. When a genius creates, everything he or she does is great. Such is the piano music of Frederic Chopin. The Minute waltz has a touching story attached to it. It was inspired by a dog. The dog belonged to his muse and girlfriend, George Sand.

Minute Waltz as a Glimpse into Genius
Chopin’s Minute Waltz offers a rare look at Polish rhythmic complexity

The “Minute Waltz” is the nickname for the Waltz in D flat major, Op. 64, No. 1 by Frederic Chopin. It was written in 1847. It is a piece of music for the piano. It is sometimes called “The Waltz of the Little Dog” (French: Valse du petit chien). This is because Chopin was watching a little dog chase its tail when he wrote it.[1] The little dog was “Marquis”. He belonged to Chopin’s friend George Sand. Marquis had befriended Chopin. The composer mentioned Marquis in several of his letters. In one letter dated 25 November 1846, Chopin wrote: “Please thank Marquis for missing me and for sniffing at my door.”[2]

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The waltz was published by Breitkopf & Härtel. It was the first of three waltzes in a collection of waltzes called Trois Valses, Op. 64. The publisher gave the waltz its popular nickname “Minute”. The tempo marking is Molto vivace (English: Very fast, very lively), but Chopin did not intend the waltz to be played in one minute as some believe. A typical performance will last between one and a half to two and a half minutes.[3][4]

The Complex Rhythms of the Minute Waltz Revealed

Just take a look at my 5 measure excerpt above for this:

  • The treble staff has the 2 beat motif of four eighth notes in measures 1 and 2.  The motif  is repeated many times during the waltz.
  • The scale that follows in has 8 eighth notes. They cover 4 beats.
  • Measures 4 and 5 have a dotted quarter note beginning each measure. The entails 1½ beats each.
  • Also in 4 and 5, following the dotted quarter are 3 eighth notes. Each 3 note phrase lasts for 1½ beats.
  • Finally, against all this melodic complexity, we find  a steady 1-2-3 beat in the left hand. It takes the form of “Bass-chord-chord.”

So Where Can I Hear David (this blogger) Play Chopin’s Minute waltz?

I am still booked six days a week through April 14 at the Gasparilla Inn. It is on the Florida isle of Boca Grande. There I get my choice of 2 vintage steinway Grand pianos. I played in the “living room” from 6:20 to 7:00 pm. Then I go in the dining room and play from 7 – 9 pm. See you there.

Chopin's Minute Waltz can be heard nightly at this setting on an exotic island
Gasparilla Inn where the music of Frederic Chopin is heard on vintage Steinway grands nightly as played by David Ohrenstein

 

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