Prelude, Op. 28, No. 4 (Chopin)

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The Prelude Op. 28, No. 4 by Frédéric Chopin is one of the 24 Chopin preludes. By Chopin's request, this piece was played at his own funeral, along with Mozart's Requiem.

The piece is only a page long and uses a descending melody line. The melody starts with the dominant B and works its way to the tonic E, but halfway through the piece the descending line is interrupted and the melody starts over again. Only in the last bars does the melody dissolve in the tonic and go through a chord progression to the soothing and satisfying E minor chord.


Hans von Bülow called the prelude "suffocation", due to its sense of despair. In fact, Chopin's last dynamic marking in the piece is smorzando, which means "dying away". But the prelude may have once been given a title. According to George Sand's daughter Solange, who stayed with the composer at the monastery in Mallorca when the preludes were written, "My mother gave a title to each of Chopin’s wonderful Preludes; these titles have been preserved on a score he gave to us."[1] That titled score is lost. But Solange did record the names of the preludes, apparently without assigning the names to the prelude numbers.[2] It is believed that the title "Quelles larmes au fond du cloître humide?" ("What tears [are shed] from the depths of the damp monastery?") corresponds to Prelude No. 4.

Cultural legacy[edit]

Film and television[edit]

Adaptations and covers[edit]


  • Benjamin Zander talks in depth about the prelude in talks (the most notable being his TED2008 appearance[9]) to persuade the public that Classical music is enjoyable by everyone.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chopin: Pianist and Teacher as Seen by His Pupils", by Jean-Jacques Eigeldinger, paperback p. 281
  2. ^ "List of Solange's names of the Preludes". Archived from the original on 2014-03-02. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
  3. ^ "Five Easy Pieces". IMDb. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  4. ^ DVD at ca. 1:57:12 to 1:59:13, plus a reprise at ca. 2:03:13 to 2:03:51.
  5. ^ a b Biamonte, Nicole (2012). "Variations on a Scheme: Bach's 'Crucifixus' and Chopin's and Scriabin's E-Minor Preludes". Intégral. 26: 73. JSTOR 23629590.
  6. ^ "Classical Made Modern - contemporary arrangements of classical music". Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  7. ^ currennelson (2011-04-20), Jimmy Page Prelude No 4 in E minor, Op 28, retrieved 2016-07-03
  8. ^ Plays at AllMusic. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  9. ^ Benjamin, Zander. "The Transformative Power of Classical Music". TED. Retrieved 6 January 2016.