In the first quarter of the nineteenth century, Beethoven, Weber and Schubert, each in his own way, founded the Romantic piano style by bursting through the fetters of the eighteenth-century fortepiano. But it was left to the following generation, and principally to Chopin and Liszt, to explore the resources of the newly developed instrument (Erard, Pleyel) in the service of a new aesthetic. …

The progress made by French and English piano manufacturers enabled particularly the bass strings’ vibrations to be substantially prolonged by using the damper pedal. The fingers could then elaborate over a bass note which could be held on the pedal without dwindling too rapidly. Chopin also took advantage of this to develop his writing for the left hand. It is this extension of suppleness that underlies the accompanying voice in compositions such as the Andante spianato op. 22, the Berceuse op. 57, most Nocturnes (particularly opp. 27/1 and 2), and the trio in the ‘Funeral March’ from the Sonata op. 35.