This Polish composer’s beautiful piano music plays to the heart
[Chelsea & Chip]
1831, Chopin settled down in Paris, making a living as a composer and highly paid piano teacher. Shy by nature, Chopin avoided playing in public, preferring to perform for small groups instead. His health also began declining during this time.
In 1838, he spent the winter in Majorca, an island south of Spain. Chopin was forced out of an apartment there because the landlord feared he had tuberculosis /tuːˌbɜːrkjəˈloʊsɪs/. Though the move was a hardship, Chopin managed to compose 24 pieces of music, called preludes, that winter.
Despite his poor health, Chopin was dedicated to composing. An observer once described his creative process. “[The music] came to his piano suddenly… or it sang in his head during a walk. … But then would begin the most heartbreaking labor I have ever witnessed. … He would shut himself up in his room for days at a time, weeping, pacing, breaking his pens, repeating and changing a single measure a hundred times.”
In 1849, Chopin’s ill health finally took his life. However, through Chopin’s more than 200 compositions, his passion can still be heard from the piano.
A few musical terms to help us understand Chopin’s music include:
Etude: a piece of music made to help students practice a specific skill.
Mazurka: a type of Polish dance that is written in triple meter and has a lively tempo.
Nocturne: a style of music that is inspired by the night and played for an evening party.
Polonaise: a slow dance of Polish origin that is written in triple meter三拍子.
[Ashley & Ken]
K: So Ashley. Who is your favorite composer?
A: Well, I love Chopin. His music is beautiful.
K: I was reading about it today in Studio Classroom. He wrote a lot of preludes. Did I say it correctly?
A: Many people pronounce it this way. However, it’s actually pronounce 』preilude or 』prelju:de.
K: Oh, but the first part has the prefix that means before. 「pre」 as in prepare, preschool.
A: I know. It’s kind of ironic because prelude also means before. So we don’t pronounce it as 』pri:lude.
K: Prelude means before?
A: Yes, a prelude is a short piece that introduces a larger musical piece. In addition, a prelude can be like an icebreaker at an event. An icebreaker is a short activity that breaks the ice. If you break the ice, then you get rid of tension and let others warm up.
K: Oh, so it’s used in group settings.
A: Yes, for instance, you might have a big gathering where people don’t know each other. If you start out your gathering with a fun game or activity, then people will talk to each other.
K: Okay. So they will get to know each other and be more open.
A: Right, if you’re ever in a tense situation. Let’s say you’re nervous for a job interview, you can make a joke about yourself to break the ice.
K: As long as it doesn’t keep you from getting the job.
A: Right. You don’t want to make a bad joke but a good joke might show that you are easy to get along with.
K: Umm, I’ll remember that the next time I have an interview.
今天的課文講到肖邦寫了24首preludes，首先注意這個字的發音不是』pri:lude而是』preilude。』preilude就是前奏曲，』preilude也可以是一件事的開頭，像一個icebreaker。icebreaker字面上是破冰，延伸出來的意思就是一個使氣氛融洽、緩和緊張的一個舉動。你去參加面試的時候你可以試圖break the ice，先自我調侃一番，來緩和緊張的氣氛。這就是一個很好的prelude to an interview。
Shy by nature, Chopin avoided playing in public, preferring to perform for small groups instead.
shy by nature
adjective + by nature
Suspicious by nature, Henry has a hard time trusting people.
Jonathan is fun-loving by nature.
Sheep are nervous by nature.
Curious by nature, cats like to explore.
settle down 定居,安頓下來
The couple decided to settle down in New Jersey to raise their children.
The kids finally settled down in front of the TV set after running around for almost half-an-hour.
heartbreaking (adj) 令人心碎的,悲痛的
The family’s heartbreaking story touched many people, so donations poured in.
The heartbreaking scene of the earthquake victims lingers in my head.
pace (v) 來回踱步,走來走去 (n) 步調,速度
The husband was pacing outside the labor room waiting for the birth of his child.
He paced back and forth while waiting for the test results.
The pace of the course needs to be adjusted according to the students’ ability.
decline /dɪˈklaɪn/ DJ /dɪ‘klaɪn/ KK
to become smaller, fewer, weaker, etc. 減少；下降；衰弱；衰退 V
- Support for the party continues to decline. 對該黨的支持繼續下降。
- The number of tourists to the resort declined by 10% last year. 去年到這個勝地旅遊的人數減少了 10%。
- Her health was declining rapidly. 她的健康狀況迅速惡化。
[Vocabulary & phrase]
settle down (adj) 定居
landlord (n) 房東,地主,老闆
tuberculosis (n) 肺結核
heartbreaking (adj) 令人心碎的,極度傷心
pace (v) 踱步
measure (n) 拍子,小節
settle down, curious by nature, embark, make a living as, decline by 10%, landlord, tuberculosis, hardship, prelude, icebreaker, break the ice, dedicate to, heartbreaking, measure, shut up, pacing, take his life, linger in my head, pace back and forth, life expectancy.
Tuberculosis, prelude, favorite