Chopin – Prelude No.15 in Db major, Op.28

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Transcript Chopin – Prelude No.15 in Db major, Op.28

Today we will be analysing this set work so that you can
answer questions from both section A and B of the exam
paper if they refer to this set work. You will also be doing
some drawing, and not of animals....
The Romantic Era (c.1830 –
 1800’s = Age of Romanticism
 Music influenced by other art forms
 Expression of intense, but ordinary, human emotion
i.e. Love, anger, grief, death, joy and the beauty of
 Writers of the time = Byron, Shelley, Wordsworth
 Artists = Turner
 Composers = Dvorak, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky
Features of the Romantic Style
 Emphasis on expressing a wide range of feelings and emotions
 Longer and more developed melody lines
 Freedom in use of form and structure
 Extended vocabulary of chords i.e. Dominant 13th
 Chromatic and discordant harmony to portray grief and anguish
 Strong and varied dynamics (pppp – ffff)
 Link to other arts through programme music
 Increased technical demand on performer and the rise of the virtuosic
 Rise of Nationalism
 Significant expansion of the orchestra
 Development of the piano.
The virtuoso performer
 Idea of struggle in the music led to the development of the
‘heroic’ soloist performer.
Composers such as Brahms, Liszt and Chopin enjoyed
writing music for themselves to perform.
This piece is of moderate playing standard, and not
virtuosic like other works by Chopin.
It has a comparatively limited range and the rhythms are
quite straight forward.
Key techniques used include cantabile legato playing,
careful expressive use of the pedals and use of rubato
The development of the piano
 Improved to give more power over a greater dynamic spectrum
 Became a supreme solo instrument
Improvements were made by;
Was reshaped and enlarged to create a bigger sound
Number of notes increased to 7 octaves, increasing both bass and
treble registers.
Felt replaced leather on the hammers, producing a fuller, more
rounded tone.
Strings were longer, stronger. Increased tension meant the frame was
now made of metal, not wood.
Sustain and dampening pedals were developed.
Chopin’s pianistic style
 Perfect example of the Romantic ideal being expressing the poetic
feelings and emotions through sound.
 Chopin = Lonely, aloof, withdrawn. Talented but tragic, dying at 39yrs.
 Founder of the 19thC school of cantabile, or in the singing style – an
emphasis on melodic lines.
His compositional style;
 Long lyrical melodies with graceful ornamentation
 Spreading arpeggios
 Simple, broken chords with subtle pedalling
 Tempo rubato
 Passages of rapid articulation and virtuosic display
 Range of touch, tone quality and dynamics
Background to the Preludes
 Part of the group of works ‘The Preludes’, written
between 1835-38 and published in 1839.
 Initially criticised for their lack of recognisable
structure and brevity – The shortest being 13bars,
longest is 90bars.
 Composed while Chopin was studying The WellTempered Clavier – A collection of preludes and
fugues in each key.
 Chopin’s preludes are arranged in the circle of 5ths.
Background to the Preludes
 A Prelude = A brief opening piece to set a mood, linking to a fugue in
the same key.
Chopin’s preludes stand alone (no fugue following them)
Each depicts a specific idea or emotion.
Although all preludes, nocturnes and etude had titles in early editions,
these were not given by the composers.
Written during his period of recuperation at the deserted monastery in
Valldemossa, Majorca.
Written during a storm and depict the raindrops from the roof of the
monastery. (Ab’s in section A, G#’s in section B).
These pedal notes pervade the work but do not detract from the beauty
of the melody line.
The form and structure
 Loosely ternary form
 Even though over half of the piece is section B, which
is dark and stormy in mood, the piece is remembered
for it’s beautiful elegiac melody of section A.
A (Bars 1-27)
Db Major
27 bars
B (Bars 28-75)
C# Minor (Tonic Minor)
47 Bars
A (Bars 75-81)
Db Major
6 Bars
Codetta (Bars 81-89)
Db Major
8 Bars
Section A: Bars 1-4
 Main motif = ‘Falling’ motif. A Sighing figure, commonly
used in music since Renaissance times to represent
sadness, melancholy and grief.
 Fills in the phrase with stepwise movement upwards to
Gb and then back down again to Db.
 Inner parts provide harmonic support, doubling in 6th at
bars 2-4. Harmony is diatonic using mainly chords I and
 Bar 4b = Ic-V7-I followed by septuplet figure made up of
an acciaccatura figure followed by a turn.
Bars 5-12
 Bars 5-8 = Repeat of Bars 1-4
 Bar 8 (Beat 1 -12) = New, second part of the theme is
 Variation every 4 bars. Simple stepwise melody.
 Odd chromatic note seen (i.e. Cb in bars 9 and 11) used
to add colour to the harmony. G in bar is more
impotant, hinting at Ab Major (Dominant key)
 Bar11-12 = V-I cadence
 Notice the turns in bars 11 and 15.
Bars 28-35
 2, 4-bar phrases
 Chorale-like crotchet melody in the left hand
 Octave G#’s in the right hand (similar to the Ab’s permeating the left hand of
section A)
Bars 36-39
 Repetition of bars 28-31 except the right hand has inner crotchet movement,
doubling the left hand in octaves
 This produces a thicker texture and reinforces the melody as we crescendo to ff
at bar 40.
Bars 40-43
 Sombre mood is broken by dramatic E major chord
 In G# minor for 4 bars (relation to C# minor and Ab from section A?!)
 Created by using the ambiguous chord in Bar 39 (with no 3rd – Like a power chord)
as a G# minor chord.
 V-I cadence in G# minor in bars 42-43.
 Strong and powerful section of music achieved through octaves, use of minims and
accents on each note.
 The texture is the reduced to single p quaver G#s ready for a repeat of the whole
section so far.
Bars 44 - 59
 This is a repeat of bars 28 – 43.
 The only differences are slight dynamic changes and
the repeated G#s are an octave higher.
Bars 60-63
 Back in C# minor.
 Melody moves to the top of the texture
 Chorale-like and step wise movement.
 Melody is similar to the first part of section B i.e. Bars 30-31, but this time
 Repeated G# quavers are in the centre of the texture
Bars 64-67
 Static harmony chords of V and I in C#min, forming a series of perfect
 Repeated quaver and minim G#’s form a pedal effect.
 G# is the dominant, therefore it is a dominant pedal. As the G#’s are on the
top of the texture, it is an inverted dominant pedal.
 If the G#’s were on the bottom, it would just be a pedal, if it was in the middle
of the texture, it would be an inner pedal.
Bars 68-70
 A repeat of bars 60-62
 And that is all.
 Golden Doodles are most awesome.
Bars 71-74
 A forte passage. F# minor (bar 71) and then back to C# minor (bar 72)
 Added A# are chromatic notes in C# minor, making it an added sixth
 As we hover on G#, there is a feeling of anticipation as we prepare to
modulate back to the home key of Db major, returning to the A
Bar 75
 This is a link bar, back to the opening A section
 G# - E# - F# -D# can be read as Ab – F – Gb – Eb.
Section A reprise
Bars 76-79
 A 4-bar reprise of the opening 4 bars
 The ornament figure is extended to a 10 note figure
(Dectuplet, rather than a septuplet!)
 Smorzando (bar 79) = Dying away.
Bars 80-81
 A ‘broken off’ repeat of the opening figure. Meant to be
dream-like fading away into a mini cadenza in bars 81-83.
 Slentando = gradually slower.
Bars 81, beat 4 - 83
 The forte top Bb (highest note in the piece) grabs the
listener’s attention.
 This 2-bar phrase descends in dynamic and pitch
leading to the final 6-bars of the piece.
Bars 84-89
 6-bar phrase based on the tonic and dominant in Db major
 Ab’s heard in the middle of the texture (left hand)
 Melodic line is in the middle of the texture (right hand), resembling the minor
melody heard in bars 60-62.
 Piece ends pp with a V-I cadence in bars 87-88.
 A ritenuto bar of tonic harmony leads to the final chord in bar 89.
Define the following...
 Chorale
 Forte
 Repetition
 Chromatic
 Augmented
 Modulate
 Ritenuto
 Reprise
 Pedal
 Ornament
 Static Harmony
 Smorzando
 Inverted Pedal
 Cadenza
 GoldenDoodle
 Slentando
 Inner Pedal
Now, answer the questions on Page
45 of the text book. Work Hard,
Chopin is always watching you.....
Essay-style Question for Section B
1: In what year was this piece composed? (1 mark)
2: Where did Chopin compose the piece? (1 mark)
3: Under the following headings discuss the main
features of the piece
I am watching
 Structure
you work.......
 Ornamentation
 Harmony
 Italian score markings
(10 marks)
challenge is
the 3 types of
pedal using the
analogy of a