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The Life and Works of Frederick Chopin The 1830s have been called the decade of the piano because during that period the piano and the music written for it played a dominant role in European musical culture The piano had of course already been popular for more than half a century but by the third decade of the nineteenth century changes in the instrument and its audience transformed the pianos role in musical life As the Industrial Revolution hit its stride piano manufacturers developed methods for building many more pianos than had previously been feasible and at lower cost Pianos ceased to be the exclusive province of the wealthy an expanding middle class could also aspire to own them and make music at home Thousands of amateur pianists began to take lessons buy printed music and attend concerts Virtuosos like Friedrich Kalkbrenner Sigismund Thalberg and Franz Liszt became the first musical superstars touring Europe and astonishing audiences with music they had composed to display their piano technique Frederick Chopin was born in a small village named Zelazowa Wola located in Poland on March 1st 1810 His passionate love of music showed itself at an early age There are stories for instance of how when his mother and sister played dances on their grand piano he would burst into tears for the sheer beauty of the sounds he heard Soon he began to explore the keyboard for himself and delighted in experimenting By the age of seven he had become sufficiently good for his parents to try and find him a teacher Their choice fell on Adalbert Zywny a Bohemian composer then aged sixty-one and now remembered solely as Chopins first teacher Within a few months of beginning his studies with Zywny Chopin began to play in public and by the end of 1817 at the age of seven had already been described by many as Mozarts successor Chopin began to compose around
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