Friday, 5 August 2011

Chopin Ballade No.1 in G Minor Tips, Resources, Tutorials, and Masterclasses (how to play) Opus 23

Score (
Chopin's Ballade #1 in G Minor (op.23) is a LRSM (Licentiate Royal Schools of Music), LTCL (Licentiate Trinity College of Music) level piece which is the same graded virtuoso level as Liszt's La Campanella, or equivalent to the final year recital for a Bmus degree in a specialist music convervatoire. I've found a collection of masterclasses from the Internet as well as academic resources as well as broad resources on how to approach and analyse this particular Ballade.

Before the masterclases, let's first listen to the Ballade by the great Krystian Zimmerman, winner of the 1975 Chopin Competition
Krystian Zimerman: Chopin/Schubert

Josh Wright from Utah giving suggestions for the Coda of the Chopin Ballade #1

Josh's tips - (Coda section) Presto con fuoco (fast with fire)
  • Don't just focus on the technique, focus on the artistry and the artistry will help the technique.
  • Voice the top hand melody and stay light
  • Feel the phrasing
  • Don't play too fast but focus on producing the artistic resolutions, colours,  images you want to portray.
  • Keep sensitivity at the core of your practice.
Oleg Stepanov Masterclass, who studied under Lev Vlassenko at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, won the Liszt International Competition in 1956 (Stepanov has dedicated a piano competition in his memory) gives a masterclass starting off with the Chopin Ballade #1
Masterclass with Oleg Stepanov
Masterclass with Oleg Stepanov

  • Chopin Foundation: How to Play Chopin's Ballades by Professor Regina Smendzianka (Chopin Foundation, USA)
  • Chopin and the G Minor Ballade by David Björling, Luleå University of Technology Abstract The purpose of this work is to make a general presentation of Chopin, the age in which he lived, his G minor Ballade and selected editions of the Ballade. I will also compare five recordings of the G minor Ballade, and make a presentation and a recording of my own interpretation of the G minor Ballade. This work discusses his life up to the time the Ballade was published, Chopin’s development as a composer, and the period in his life when the Ballade was composed. Background material on the history of the Ballade as a genre and its development is included to give the reader an enhanced contextual understanding. The issue as to whether Chopin had a literary model when composing the G minor Ballade and his relationship with the Polish writer Adam Mickiewicz is discussed. This work considers the issue of form in the G minor Ballade, Chopin’s personality, how Chopin played, his use ofthe term ‘tempo rubato’, and how he used improvisation and composition.
  • Chopin Ballade #1 in G Minor Opus 23 Sheet music (IMSLP) -
  • Wikipedia overview of the Chopin Ballades
  • Descriptive analysis of the Chopin G Minor Ballade (La Folia Online Music Review)
  • Brief Music Analysis of the Ballades (
  • Full text of the translated text of Konrad Wallenrod, poetry by Adam Mickiewicz, which is said to have inspired the Ballades.(Gutenburg Project)
  • Frederick Scott on the Chopin Ballade in G minor (Thetutorpages)


  1. Thanks a lot for the presentation, it is miracles, informative post, thanks a lot for the share.

    Upright Pianos

  2. The Chopin left hand, like the male ballet dancer, must do stoic work at the same time, and Chopin never made his left hand part a mere accompaniment.
    Chopin Technique

  3. Incredible post, many thanks for sharing this information on this incredible masterpiece of keyboard literature.