Cover image for Three preludes
Three preludes
Gershwin, George, 1898-1937.
Uniform Title:
Preludes, piano; arranged
Publication Information:
Miami, FL : Warner Bros., [2002]

Physical Description:
1 score (35 pages) ; 28 cm
General Note:
Originally for piano; arr. for orchestra.

Notes by Richard Freed.
Prelude I -- Prelude II : Blue lullaby -- Prelude III : Spanish prelude.
Format :
Musical Score


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
M1060.G3 P7 2002 Musical Score Grosvenor Room-Oversize

On Order



The Three Preludes (originally five) are basically jazz-oriented classical dances and songs originally written for the piano. The first plays off a blue-note riff. The second, one of the marvels of solo piano literature, turns the same riff into a slow blues lullaby. The third, called "Spanish" by its early listeners, seems to blend Caribbean rhythms with jazzy harmonies.

Author Notes

Jacob Gershvin, George Gershwin's real name according to his birth registry, began his music career when he was 16 years old by playing piano in music stores to demonstrate new popular songs. He later studied piano with Ernest Hutcheson and Charles Hambitzer in New York and studied harmony with Edward Kilenyi and with Rubin Goldmark. Gershwin was an almost immediate success with his song "Swanee."

Gershwin also studied counterpoint with Henry Cowell and with Joseph Schillinger. Schillinger's influence can be seen in many of Gershwin's pieces, particularly in Porgy and Bess, an opera written for black singers using African American musical styles. Rhapsody in Blue, for piano and jazz orchestra, is another ground-breaking piece, incorporating jazz and blues sources and idioms in the classical concerto style. His song "I Got Rhythm" has been performed thousands of times in hundreds of ways by jazz musicians. His brother, Ira, wrote the lyrics for many of his songs.

His melodic talent and genius for rhythmic invention are what made Gershwin an important American composer. He died at the age of 38 of a gliomatous cyst in the brain. Every year on the anniversary of his death, Lewisohn Stadium in New York holds a memorial concert.

(Bowker Author Biography)