"Nocturne in Eb" by Frédéric Chopin

Piano AR guidance for “Nocturne in Eb”

"The Poet of the Piano," Frédéric Chopin was born in Poland in 1810. The nickname is attributed to the emotional range Chopin summoned in his piano works, a direct contrast to an excessively loud keyboard performance style that was in fashion at the time.

Opus 9, a set of three nocturnes (a composition inspired by or reflective of nighttime) was composed between 1830 and 1832 for Marie Pleyel, whose in-laws provided pianos for Chopin (and owned concert halls where he would perform).

Before she married composer Joseph Etienne Camille Pleyel, Marie—who herself was an accomplished musician—was engaged to Hector Berlioz. Their engagement was cut short by Marie's mother who thought Berlioz was too unstable. This belief was seemingly supported when he subsequently planned the murder of Marie, her mother, and Camille. Berlioz later reconsidered.

Number 2 of this nocturne collection is arguably Chopin's most famous work, at least in terms of its use in popular culture. It has set the emotional state in movies (Crush, Passage to Mars, 8 1/2, Bad Santa), television episodes (Mad Men, House of Cards, Dexter, Westworld, Orphan Black), video games (BioShock Infinite), and is almost universally recognizable.