Chopin's Ballade Opus 52: Analysis, History and Performance

Document Type


Publication Date



Arts and Humanities | Music | Music Performance


Robert Koopmann, Music


The ballade has become one of Chopin’s trademark compositional genres. Performers and musicologists give notable attention to the Chopin Ballades proving them to be landmark pieces in the world of musical study and performance. Among the four Ballades of Chopin, the Opus 52 has been given special attention. Jim Samson writes that Chopin’s Opus 52 ballade is “[in] common consent one of Chopin’s masterpieces, and one of the masterpieces of nineteenth-century piano music in general” (Samson 219). The intent of this research is to create a depth of analytical, historical and performance understanding that will enhance the overall performance of the Opus 52. Understanding of the analytical components was achieved by exploring the form and compositional features of the Ballade. Knowledge of historical influence was gained by researching the history of the ballade genre and Chopin’s life at the time the Ballade was composed. Finally, questions of performance in regards to pedaling, musical interpretation, and other qualities were researched through a lesson and interview with Lydia Artymiw –a distinguished concert pianist. These areas of understanding undoubtedly enhance the overall performance of Chopin’s Ballade in F minor, Opus 52.