Chopin – Nocturne in C Minor, op. 48 No. 1. Detailed Piano Tutorial

PianoCareer. Chopin - Nocturne in C Minor, op. 48 No. 1. Analysis and Step-by-Step Tutorial.Hi guys! Are you up for a new challenge? :P

Today’s video tutorial is dedicated to a black-belt advanced piece: the amazing Nocturne in C Minor, op. 48 No. 1 by Frederic Chopin! 8)

Did I mention that this is a black-belt piece? :P

An epic dramaturgy, a VERY wide range of expressive nuances and technical challenges – the Nocturne has it all! And, above everything else, this music has the power to ‘grip you by the heart’ and never let you go… Once you get acquainted with this masterpiece, you’ll fall in love with it. For life ;D.

Have you ever practiced a Nocturne before? If you haven’t, I recommend to start with an easier one – such as the famous Nocturne in C# Minor, op. posth.

And now we’re ready to begin! 8)

First, download the needed score:
Chopin – Nocturne in C Minor, op. 48 No. 1.

Next, you have to ‘meet’ the music!

From the many professional recordings available on YouTube, I chose the following four:
Arthur Rubinstein
Vladimir Ashkenazy
Valentina Lisitsa
Nikolai Lugansky

Listen to at least one of them before watching the tutorial below :). Then, before (or during) the practice process, you can listen to the other ones as well. Notice (and enjoy) the unique vision of every performer, and how it is reflected in their tempo (and use of rubato), sound colors, phrasing, dynamics, voicing, emotional intensity etc. Such a great insight into the amazing flexibility of our art! 8)

Chopin – Nocturne in C Minor, op. 48 No. 1.
Analysis and Step-by-Step Tutorial

Part I. Musical Analysis. Detailed Tutorial for the Exposition (bars 1-24).

Video highlights:

00:02. Played Intro.
00:47. Introduction.

Musical Analysis.
01:23. Artistic concept.
01:55. The unusual ternary form.
03:12. Dramaturgy: Exposition.
04:56. Middle section.
06:30. Reprise.

Step-by-Step Tutorial.
08:54. 1st phrase. The 3 main challenges – phrasing, singing tone, effortless accompaniment.
09:52. LH practice.
12:53. RH practice. Musical image and resulting touch. Intonation. Phrasing.
18:59. Practicing both hands together. Sound balance; phrasing; emotional image.
20:56. 2nd phrase. Tempo and pulsation. Phrasing.
25:47. 3rd and 4th phrases (bars 9-16). Phrasing. Harmonic awareness. Pedaling. Hand distribution for the LH tenth stretches. The ‘quiet culmination’ in bar 15.
36:58. 5th phrase (bars 17-20). Dramaturgy: the ‘dreamy’ episode. Rubato. Harmony.
40:29. 6th phrase (bars 21-24): the culmination of the Exposition. The RH polyphonic element.
45:35. Conclusion. A quick recap of the Dramaturgy of the Exposition.

48:03. Ending. Where to find Parts II and III of this tutorial :).

Get access to PARTS II and III of this tutorial (focused on the Middle section and the Reprise from Chopin’s Nocturne op. 48 No. 1) by becoming a member of my Piano Coaching Program at! 😉

In the Private Members Area you will also discover many hundreds of other exclusive tutorials for ALL levels (including step-by-step courses and interactive projects) that reveal the professional secrets of the Russian piano school – helping you to transform your technical & expressive skills, and take your playing to a whole new level of freedom, brilliance and artistry! 8)

Enjoy every step of this challenging and very rewarding practice journey! 8) ;D

P.S. Many new articles and video tutorials are coming soon on! Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter (and now also on Pinterest!) to get instant updates, support and motivation! ;)

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11 Responses to “Chopin – Nocturne in C Minor, op. 48 No. 1. Detailed Piano Tutorial”

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  1. Masami de Toulouose-Lafaille says:

    Thank you for your kind invitation. I’m working on my problem (shyness) and at the same time, my piano teacher had given to me an assigment . Draw pictures from music since I see “pictures” from music. According to my teacher, it’s a unique inborn gift. Oh, it a very enjoyable thing. Hope, one day I’m able to share with you. Thank you again for your invitation. Talk to you soon again and Have a nice day. Masami

    • Ilinca says:

      Thank you for your comment, Masami! Drawing pictures to represent the images encoded in a piece is a great idea!

      Enjoy your practice ;),

  2. David Pauker says:

    Dearest Ilinca….You have left me breathless and speechless after I have watched in its entirety your intro tutorial of the Chopin Nocturne in C minor, opus 48 no.1.You are such an amazingly gifted artist and interpreter of Chopin’s piano music.Your musical analysis I thought was extremely well presented and remarkably well thought-out in all of its detail.I cannot see the things that you can see in Chopin’s music yet.But maybe one day with your help I can have this ability to analyze the music as well as you did in this intro lesson. I am particularly fond of the piano works of Chopin,Beethoven and Bach.Last week I learned to play for my very first time Chopin’s prelude number 1.And I have learned one or two of his Waltzes.One day I hope that I live long enough to be able to learn and play all of his piano pieces as they are such beautiful gems from another planet!!

    I also spend a few hours a day trying to work my way through a few measures of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier.Working out the best fingerings is no easy task for me and which I find to be very time consuming.But I just find Bach’s fugues so utterly fascinating and hope one day that I can play them all as good as Andras Schiff can!!(Big dream there!!!)Do you have detailed lessons on Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier Books 1 and 2 in your Piano Academy Piano Coaching Website????? I also spend a few hours if I can find the time on trying to slowly learn figure out the fingerings to Bach Goldberg Variations.This is also very time consuming but I do it anyway because I love these variations.

    Thank you for sharing this fabulous Chopin tutorial in the email you sent to me today. I will get to work on practicing it as soon as I can. I just came out from the hospital 10 days ago after having undergone surgery on my very arthritic knees.And so yes, I am in pain and isolation and so I can relate to the pain in Chopin’s music rather well,especially since I may never be able to walk normally again.And I used to be very athletic and play all kinds of sports!! Kind of tragic,right? Well, anywayz thanx for sharing your magnificent tutorial!

    • Ilinca says:

      Hi David!

      Thank you for your comment and your appreciation! I’m really happy to hear that you enjoyed the first part of this tutorial! 😉

      Yes, we do have a couple of tutorials dedicated to Bach’s Preludes & Fugues from the WTC in our PianoCareerAcademy database.

      Our Complete List of Tutorials is publicly available as well – you will find it here:
      Piano Career Academy – Complete List of Tutorials.

      I hope you recover from your surgery soon!

      Best wishes,

  3. Archit says:

    I was really struggling to find a piano teacher like you. Teachers here at Jaipur, India are just not providing what I was looking for. I look forward to learning a lot from you. Thank you for making this website. Also, I love how you express yourself without anything in between. You just flow with your emotions. This shows you’re a genuine person. I really feel what you’re trying to communicate because I have had some years’ experience with music and piano. Once again, I thank you so much for this platform.

  4. Tim Sheffield says:

    I appreciate all you do. Can I ask where you teach? The reason is I have spent the past 2 years on the Rach 3 and have only “learned” the first movement. It needs so much polishing and now I am at a loss as to how to procede. I desparately need help. Thank you.

    • Ilinca says:

      Hi Tim!

      I teach via my online Piano Coaching Program at (which you can join anytime!).

      You can learn more about its functionality by taking a look at the following answer from our detailed FAQs (
      No. 1-3: discover what PianoCareerAcademy is, how it works, what is included (and what is not included) in the membership – and also the List of Tutorials currently available for our members.
      No. 4-6: learn more about our membership options (monthly and yearly) – and how they work.
      No. 13: find out why I do not offer individual lessons at the moment.


  5. David Philip Pauker says:

    Hello Ilinca! It is really such a pleasure to hear from you! And this Chopin Nocturne really tugs at ones “heart-strings”…. as Chopin’s nocturnes can do so magically!!! He really knows how to get his musical moods into the deepest recesses of your soul and he is so full of melancholy which I love about his music. And this is such a wonderful tutorial you have made here… and I haven’t even finished even watching all of it yet!! But I can promise you that I will get to complete this great (free) tutorial!! I am a bit older now….but when I was a very young boy, my mother always put me to bed by playing recordings of the Chopin Nocturnes so that I would subconsciously internalize the music in my mind’s ear before I would fall asleep. She instilled in me at a very young age a love for this composer’s music. That was one of the greatest gifts that she had passed on to me.

    • Ilinca says:

      Thank you very much, David! I’m really happy to hear that you enjoyed this tutorial!

      Have a very inspired practice! 😉

      • David Philip Pauker says:

        I am indebted to you for bringing me back to my true love…..CHOPIN!!! In this high-tech driven,cell-phone age and with all of the garbage that hits all of us on the television every night….its really a miracle how you have brought me back to my true love….Chopin piano music!! It’s easy to forget our deepest loves…the loves that resonate in our soul of souls in this mad modern age!!I feel well grounded again and my soul now has healing!! Thank-you and take care!! I owe you one!!

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