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Chopin: Fantaisie-Impromptu Op. 66 in C-sharp Minor

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Frédéric Chopin - Impromptus :
Fantaisie-Impromptu, Op. 66
Fantaisie-Impromptu Op. 66  in C-sharp Minor by Chopin piano sheet music
Key: C-sharp Minor Year: 1834
Level: 8+ Period: Early Romantic
piano sheet music Piano score: PS Urtext (146 kB)
piano sheet music Piano score: Scanned score (1765 kB)

Sweeping brilliance, saved from the fire

Chopin's Fantaisie Impromptu in c sharp minor is a technically difficult but also very fun piece to play, and it's easy to see why it's among Chopin's most famous and popular works. It is interesting to note that the middle section was used in the song I'm Always Chasing Rainbows, which was a very popular song in 1918.

Fantasie Impromptu was composed around 1834 but published only after the composer’s death, contrary to his express wish that all unpublished works and sketches should be burned. The version that is heard most often was prepared from Chopin’s sketches by his friend Julian Fontana.

It is a relatively short piece in ABA form. The A section has a sweeping melody of sixteenth notes running up and down the keyboard, accompanied by triplet arpeggios in the left hand. It's very fast and almost a little chaotic, while the softer middle section with its wonderful cantilena provides a good overall balance to the piece. The coda begins passionately, but calms down little by little, reintroducing the theme from the middle section in the left hand. The work ends peacefully.

The various versions of Fantaisie-Impromptu

It seems odd that the so called Fantaisie-Impromptu, one of Chopin’s most famous pieces, was not published during the composer’s lifetime, although it was composed as early as 1834-1835, some fifteen years before his death. Many would agree that it is a significant work. Why did Chopin not want it to be published? Some have pointed to the similarities between the main theme and that of Moscheles’ Impromptu in E flat Op.89 - perhaps Chopin just didn’t want to be accused of plagiarism?

Another view was held by Arthur Rubinstein, who in 1962 published a new edition of the piece, based on an autograph which he had sensationally found. Rubinstein’s theory was that Chopin had sold the work to its dedicatee Baroness d’Este, and therefore was not free to publish it.

Until Rubinstein found the autograph, Fantaisie-Impromptu was known only in the form of Julian Fontana’s 1855 edition. Fontana published a number of the composer’s posthumous works in 1855 and 1859, providing them with opus numbers from 66 to 72. This numbering has been abandoned, because it gives the misleading impression that these works were composed in Chopin’s later years. In many cases the opposite is true: ‘Fantaisie-Impromptu’, still sometimes referred to as op. 66, was composed before any of the other Impromptus (Opp. 29, 56 and 51).

Fontana deserves credit for passing on Chopin’s posthumous works, but he didn’t always treat his sources with due respect. Although the autograph on which Fontana based his edition of ‘Fantaisie-Impromptu’ has been lost, there are handwritten copies of this earlier version of the piece, which make it clear that Fontana made significant alterations and additions to the composer’s text. The title Fantaisie-Impromptu was also invented by Fontana.

Many of the most important differences between the autograph found by Rubinstein and Fontana’s edition are found in the accompaniment. Although the chords have not been altered, the distribution of notes in the left hand is different in the autograph throughout the fast section. For example, in measures 5 and 6 of the autograph, the thumb of the left hand alternates between e’ and g sharp’, which adds richness to the sound but of course also demands a more flexible wrist than in the other versions. Another crucial difference right at the beginning between Fontana’s edition and the handwritten versions is that Fontana only writes sforzando on the first octave and piano in measure 5, while Chopin in both his versions has forte at the start and a diminuendo to measure 3, with a forzato on the first sextuplet note in the autograph. Note how Chopin has indicated the use of both hands for the octaves by the use of rests and stem directions.

Fontana also has several other questionable dynamic indications. In measure 13 he writes a forte, not found in any of the other versions and not very effective since it interrupts the long gradual buildup of intensity achieved if one continues at a moderate dynamic level here. The accents on the thumb in measures 13-16 and on the little finger in measures 17-21 also seem to be the result of Fontana’s misguided efforts to try to add variation to Chopin’s notation.

In measure 24 Fontana has moved the sharp sign on the left hand B to the third quarter note, thereby achieving a chromatic bass line A-A sharp-B-B sharp, again trying to add variation which Chopin surely not intended.

There are significant differences between Chopin’s two versions where the fast section culminates. On the first beats of measures 33-35 in the autograph, the right hand stubbornly returns to e’’, instead of alternating with g sharp’’ as in the earlier version, resulting in an even more intense feeling of hurried desperation. And the second left hand chord in measure 35 now arrives on the second quarter note instead of on the third, also increasing the sense of accelerated, overwhelming emotion.

In the slow section, Chopin made a number of substantial changes when writing down the final version. The rising eighth-notes of the main theme (measure 43) are varied from measure 55, where the first one becomes dotted. This seems to give the entire section a more improvisatory, rubato feel. Another rhythmic change is in measures 60 and 72, where the right hand c’’’ is moved from the second to the third quarter note. On the third quarter note of measures 59 and 71, the autograph introduces a d flat minor chord in the accompaniment.

Also note the subtle but very characteristic improvement that Chopin made in measure 49, where the left hand thumb plays f’ and e flat’ on the 10th and 12th sextuplet notes, echoing the f’’ and e flat’’ of the right hand.

Finally, Chopin altered the beginning of the coda, replacing the eighth notes of the left hand from measure 119 with triplets. He also slightly simplified measures 123-126, making it easier to achieve the requested diminuendo and accelerando.

So, all in all there are three versions of this piece to take into account. First, the Fontana edition, in which form Fantaisie-Impromptu presented itself to the world. Second, the more authentic early version of the piece, revealed by two handwritten copies by Auguste Franchomme (cellist, composer and close friend of Chopin´s) and reproduced in several modern Urtext editions. Third, the ‘Rubinstein version’, which we would like to encourage all Chopin players to study and perform. It may not be as well known as Fontana’s version, but it is certainly more authentic, complete and definitive. All modern Urtext editions, including the Polish National Chopin Edition, base their editions on Rubinstein’s find.

Members who like this piece have also downloaded:

Practice & Performance Tips:
The cross-rhythms (sixteenth-notes against triplets) and the incredibly fast right hand figurations in the first section of this piece may seem daunting, and this is certainly not a piece for the beginner or even intermediate player. However, the Fantaise-Impromptu is not one of Chopin's most difficult pieces. The piano writing makes amazing use of very natural movements, and there is no great awkwardness for anyone with a normal-sized hand. As for the coordination problem, it also more or less solves itself if each hand is mastered separately and the pianist keeps focusing on a flowing alla breve pulse.

Note that the Largo marking only applies to measures 41 and 42; the rest of the middle section is marked Moderato cantabile, which should mean a rather flowing tempo. Of course this lyrical and reflective section needs some time and flexibility, but take care to avoid a... Sign up for a Gold membership to read the practice tips.

Posts in the piano forum about this piece by :

xx Chopin Fantasie-Impromptu
July 07, 2012, 11:34:19 PM by fleetfingers


I have been recording this piece every so often on a K Kawai grand piano, trying to get it to a point where people would truly enjoy listening to it. I would love to receive some constructive criticism from listeners with advice on what changes to make. Or, tell me if I'm far off the mark and no where close to being good . . .

Just a little note about the end: I have everything memorized except the last page, and in the recording, I lost my place or something, so you can hear me fumbling around trying to fake it until I could get back on track . . . hard to do at that speed. Grin So, ignore that; I'll memorize it this week, and then hopefully it will be fine.

Please tell me what you think and how I can improve. I'll re-record in a week or two and post.


xx Fantaisie impromptu -.-
February 24, 2012, 01:21:31 PM by twirler

Well I remember saying on a thread on posting my fantaisie impromptu vid. Though a bit late,here it is.

How is it?

smiley What is harder? The revoloutionary or Fantasie impromptue
March 18, 2011, 09:08:36 PM by bozzyraven

What is harder? The revoloutionary or Fantasie impromptue

xx fantasie impromptu
March 18, 2011, 05:05:02 PM by tds

not a virtuoso, just a human being  Tongue


xx Chopin - Fantasie Impromptu in C Sharp Minor
March 15, 2011, 06:53:14 PM by carbe

I play a classical piece by Frédéric Chopin, Fantasie Impromptu Op 66 in C Sharp Minor.
For some months ago I started a topic where I described that I get tired in the fingers easy. I got much help and now the problem is almost gone! See what you think, and please give a comment.

xx Chopin Fantasie Impromtu
March 08, 2011, 02:03:53 AM by wtfnametaken

I need help with combing left hand and right hand. I am able to play the right hand and left separately but when I tried to combine them I found a problem. The left hand is are tuplets if I'm correct if not please correct me and I can't find a way to combine them together. Any help/advice to be appreciated.


xx Practicing Fantaisie Impromptu
February 07, 2011, 08:31:49 PM by countrymath

I started Fantaisie Impromptu 2 weeks ago following Benhard's and Chang's tips. I taked the most difficult bars, analized it and pasted it in a different sheet. On the first week, i managed to learn all this dificult bars, but they are not "mastered". They aren't even sounding good, but i can play all notes without stoping (besides the 2 bars after the arpeggio. They look easy, but i always miss a lot of notes). I think that if a keep practicing the same wasy i'm doing now, I will not make too much progress on the next week.

Can someone give me tips to "clean" this chunks out?

Here are the sheets i made:

xx Re: I need help >> FANTASIE IMPROMPTU played with the left hand
January 18, 2011, 05:26:40 PM by lelle

I fiddled around a bit and came up with this. It could probably be a pretty good etude for the left hand!

xx a Chopin Recital
January 09, 2011, 02:06:37 PM by frank_48

i am thinking of a hiring a venue for a chopin recital at the end of the year, i was thinking to be worth it, i would play about 20 pieces, going for roughly 90 mins these are the pieces i was hoping to play, i know the first 10 already, so its only a matter of learning the last 10 pieces in a matter of 11 months, what do you think, feasible?

1. Fantaisie Impromptu
2. Op.10 No.3
3. Op.9 No.1
4. Op.69 No.2
5. Op.28 No.4
6. Op.15 No.2
7. Op.Posth No.20
8. Op.28 No.1
9. Op.28 No.13
10. Waltz, No.16

11. Op.37 No.1
12. Op.72 No.1
13. Op.69 No.1
14. Op.64 No.2
15. Op.28 No.15
16. Op.9 No.2
17. Op.27 No.2
18. Op.62 No.2
19. Waltz, Op.18
20. Prelude, Op.45

this is merley a thought at the present time, im not sure how things will turn out in the end.

xx Chopin
December 30, 2010, 07:02:07 AM by sjeon

My teacher gave me three pieces to play. I have to pick one of them to play.
The three are:
Chopin's Polonaise op.40 no.1
Chopin- Fantasie Impromptu
Chopin - Waltz op.18

Which one should I play?
What do you think about these pieces?

xx how fast should chopin's op. 66 be played?
December 29, 2010, 04:38:31 PM by idreamofpiano

i have heard different ideas.  to me no more than 84 bpm.  when i play it any faster the notes seem to run together and it doesn't sound pretty.   i have heard some say 115 bpm? what is the general speed for performing this piece?

xx fantasie impromptu
December 16, 2010, 10:42:01 AM by skunkfunk9

This may be an easy question for some, but, since I haven't actually had lessons since I was about 10, I'm looking for an answer to this.  When playing the first line in chopin's fantasie impromptu, is it better to play the first c# with 4 or 3?  I mean the line that goes g# a g# g natural g# c# e etc....  I know that better is a loaded word, but what do most people play it with.  The fingering isn't in my version. 

xx Which level are this pieces?
November 24, 2010, 07:35:03 AM by musicioso

Hallo dear forum members,

Can someone tell me which level the following pieces are?

1 chopin etude op.25 no.12
2 Moonlight sonata 1st movement
3 chopin nocturne in c# minor
4 chopin fantasie impromptu
5 chopin prelude op.28 no.24
6 revolutionary etude (chopin)

And i also would like to know what is the highest level and some pieces that are of the highest level.

I hope you guys can help me with this..


exclamation Beethoven and Moscheles in Chopin's Fantasie-Impromptu.
November 17, 2010, 11:54:27 PM by presto agitato

A very interesting video made by Paul Barton shows you the strong influence of Beethoven and Moschleles on this very well-know piece by Chopin.

Check it out:

xx My Fantasie Impromptu
October 14, 2010, 02:22:14 AM by faa2010

I have found a recording of the Fantasie Impromptu which I have practiced for this March.

I have practiced it since last year. However, I have practiced less because of work.

I am open-minded and I always look for improving my piano.  I accept suggestions as long as they are polite.

About the Impromptu, I would like some tips.

xx Relearn Fantasie Impromptu
October 13, 2010, 11:10:19 PM by faa2010

I got and practiced Fantasie Impromptu a long ago. However, due to my busy schedule and a "bad experience" with a strict teacher (mostly my schedule), I forgot some parts of the piece.

What can I do?, should I start from scratch again? what kind of exercises should I follow?

Thanks for your suggestions.

Note: I will put in Audition the piece when I was "in my prime" playing it, when I did less mistakes.

I hope to put the link to it.  Just be patient, please.

xx Fantaisie impromptu
June 24, 2010, 02:40:05 PM by kickoutofyou

Hi everyone! I have been playing piano for about 4-5 years and have played in many different genres(Mozart sonata's, ragtime, beethoven, etc.) and I am now in the middle of learning Clair de lune. I am asking that after I learn Clair de lune, do you think its a good idea to start learning Fantaisie impromptu. I know i am not learning this for the wrong reasons because I am equally excited to learn the very beautiful slower part as well as the show offy faster part of the song. I would really like the opinion of an experienced piano player(or just anyone), and would not get discouraged if the answer is no.

xx 4 on 3 (in Fantasie Impromptu)
May 08, 2010, 04:58:37 AM by johnjamessmith0

This is my first post!  Smiley

So yes, I did find this forum by searching "Fantasie Impromptu" on Google and reading the breadboy thread. And I did search up FI like you guys say to do in all the other FI threads. So I hope that people aren't annoyed with yet another FI thread, and that I haven't made an embarrassing oversight, my question already answered elsewhere.

I just started learning FI (I hope not for the wrong reasons), and the polyrhythm thing is just about killing me. Most of the internet suggestions I've read fall into one of the following two categories:

1) Hands Together:
First work out the 4 on 3 sequence in twelfths. Practice tapping the rhythm, tapping 3 times with your left hand for every 4 taps of the right hand. Then start slowly on the piano. Use a metronome if necessary. Get faster and faster slowly, until you reach the desired speed. This process is necessary so that you play accurately.

2) Hands Independently:
Practice each hand separately until you can play each part very fluently. Then just play them at the same time!

This is all nice,... except for the fact that the two are BLATANT CONTRADICTIONS  Sad  I am very afraid of learning the entire piece too quickly, realizing it is super-sloppy, and not being able to correct bad habits. This suggests I follow (1). At the same time I can hardly imagine "feeling" the twelfth rhythm at high speeds. Besides this is hardly how the music is structured. And plus it seems very difficult to speed up. Even when I try to just go up a few bpm it just degenerates into... Someone please clear this up.

Much of the advice also says that after a bit it will just "click," and you will magically be able to play it. I can slowly play some of the measures with both hands, but it's nothing like a magical feeling of accomplishment. It's more like balancing a stick on the end of your nose... I feel like it's all going to come apart any millisecond, and I'm not even sure if I have it right---the moment I try to listen to one hand to see if it's even, the other hand forgets what it's supposed to do.

Am I panicking too early?

xx Fantasie impromptu - sustain
May 03, 2010, 04:24:55 PM by japie


I'm new to to forum, but I've been walking around with a question for a while maybe theres someone around here to help me.

For the past 2 months ive been working on the fantasie impromptu by chopin, wich is a hard peace for me and probably a bit to hard, but i can play it fairly well now.

But for some reason i cant get it to sound the way i want it to in the first and the last movenent, and I KNOW it has to to with my pedaling. I just dont know how to do it right, so i was wondering if anyone could give me any tips. (since i dont take lessons since about 7 years, I will when i got the money)

Pls dont shoot me for playing pieces out of my league, im just having fun on the piano and i had lessons so im not a beginner.

Thank you in advance and kind regards,


xx Fantasie Impromptu op. 66
May 02, 2010, 05:24:41 PM by threepwood

Hello Everyone

I just began learning Chopins Fantasie Impromptu op. 66, today. This is of course a big project.
Playing each hand alone goes easy, but I can already now see that I have a problem with putting it together. I can't read out of the sheet music if I'm suppose to play a note on the right hand at the same time with the left, or if they are a little staggered. You know what I mean?
Naturally I wan't it to sound perfect, so can anyone tell me if it makes much difference in the big picture?
Any comments or experienced thoughts would be greatly appreciated.


xx is fantasie impromptu or chopin nocturne?!?!
April 14, 2010, 11:47:54 PM by luckee7rbecca

i just finished noctune op. 9 no. 1 by chopin when should i start fantasie impromptu op. 66 (maybe some spelling mistakes, sorry)

xx chopin fantaisie-impromptu polyrhythm confusion
March 27, 2010, 03:40:04 PM by igalk474

i have a problem when i try to play this,
with each hand i can play it's part good,
but when i try to play it with both hands,
the polyrhythm confusing me,
i can't connect and play it with both hands,

did it happened to someone else here? what did you do?
can you show me how to play the 5th measure with both hands slowly?


xx fantasie impromptu-lyrical part and the turkish march by Bernard
January 10, 2010, 08:05:35 PM by fredericfrancoischopin

here me playing fantasie impromptu and the turkish march


xx Chopin Fantaisie Impromptu op 66, Polonaise in A major op40 no1 'military'
August 31, 2009, 02:17:56 PM by jehangircama

I'm flooding the audition room today!
here's my FI rec. it's decent imo, except for a slip at 4.06.
this is a polonaise i like. i can't get it much grander on my yamaha upright. 2 slight smudges towards the end in this rec. and there's a blip at abt 5.05 which i suspect is due to the laptop screen going off.
how are these two pieces? are they in decent shape?

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