Set work 3 CHOPIN - Ravensbourne Performing Arts

F. Chopin: Prelude No.15 in D flat major, Op.28
(also known as the ‘raindrop’ prelude)
AIMS - In the study of this set work you will learn about:
The Romantic period and the main hallmarks of the style
Some background to the life and works of Frederic Chopin
The ‘prelude’
ABA (ternary) form
How the prelude is constructed, through an analysis of the music
The key features of the music
The Romantic Era (c. 1800 – 1900)
Piano Prelude No.15 in D flat major, Op. 28
 Known as the ‘Raindrop’ prelude
 The piece is by Chopin
The Romantic Era (c. 1800-1900)
An era reflecting an interest in ideas inspired by
 nature
 magic
 the supernatural
 mystery
‘Romantic’ music is concerned with expressing a
intense feelings and emotions
Music from this time often tells a story.
E.g. “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” by Dukas
The Romantic era (c. 1800-1900)
Some famous ‘romantic’ composers were
 Liszt
 Wagner
 Chopin
 Berlioz
Features of the Romantic style
 The music often tells a story (Programme music)
 Long, sustained melody lines. In piano music, extensive
use of sustaining pedal helps build the sound.
 Chromatic harmony; Use of a wide range of chords
and chromatic harmony.
 Musical structures tend to be freer and less
symmetrical than in the classical style
 Contrasts in keys, melodies and dynamics are often
very dramatic
What is a Romantic Prelude?
A short
piece, often
for piano....
....and has an
feeling like
telling a story
that recur
through the
...that sticks
to one or
two ideas or
moods.... generally
features a
small number
of rhythmic
and melodic
Frederic Chopin
Born in Poland in 1810
Studied music as a pianist and
Travelled widely in Europe giving
Composed music to play to the
public at his concerts
He composed mainly solo pieces for
the piano
Died at age 39 in 1849.
Frederic Chopin
Moved to Paris –
Had a succession
of love affairs
9 year relationship
Aurore Dudevant
Had poor health
- tuberculosis
Frederic Chopin
1838 – moved to
Majorca for health
Frederic and Aurore
went to live in an
old monastery at
He wrote the
‘raindrop’ prelude at
Valdemossa ....
......during a storm
Raindrop Prelude
The title of the piece refers to the
dripping of raindrops from the roof of
the monastery.
These are represented by the continuously
repeating A s in the first section and the
continuously repeating G#s in the middle
Raindrop Prelude – Basic Points
 Metre/Time signature - The prelude is in 4/4
 Structure – the movement is in ABA form
(ternary form) with a short codetta
Raindrop Prelude – Basic Points
 Texture - is mainly homophonic, mostly melody
and accompaniment.
 Use of sustaining pedal to hold on notes
= press pedal down and hold
= release pedal
Raindrop Prelude – Basic Points
 Tonality/Key
The first section of the prelude is in the key of D flat major (5
The middle section of the piece is in C# minor (4 sharps)
The end of the piece returns to D flat major (5 flats).
The piece uses some chromatic notes in the melody
The piece uses a wide range of chromatic chords.
Prelude ends with a perfect cadence in D flat major.
Raindrop Prelude – basic points
Tempo –
The prelude is marked sostenuto (sustained).
It is basically played slow throughout
The player is expected to play with use of rubato style
This means the piece is played with a slight
speeding up and slowing down within the basic
slow tempo of the piece (for expressive effect)
There is a slight pause on the first note
There is a pause on each of the last few notes
The music slows down at the end (Ritenuto)
Raindrop Prelude – Basic Points
Dynamics –
 The first (A) section is quiet (p).
 The middle (B) section starts quietly, then gradually
crescendos to very loud (ff)then gets softer
(dimenuendo) . These dynamics repeat and then...
 the ending (A and Codetta) is very quiet (pp)
Structure of ‘Raindrop’ prelude
A (bars 1-27)
B (bars 28-75)
A (bars 75 -81)
D Major
27 bars
C# minor (tonic minor)
47 bars
D Major
6 bars
D Major
8 bars
(bars 81-89)
Ternary form
A B A + Codetta
Mood swings?
A (bars 1-27)
Quiet, sad, calm, peaceful. /Major key
The calm before the storm?
Repeated A flats representing raindrops?
The pitch of the notes are quite high in this section.
Quiet dynamics (p)
Melody played mainly in the right hand.
B (bars 28-75)
Music becomes more stormy, angry, violent / minor key
Melody played mostly in the left hand now.
Pitch of notes starts quite low
Repeated G# s get gradually louder – raining harder?
cresc. = crescendo - Storm approaching?
Texture becomes more dense.
The music builds in intensity twice to ff (height of storm?)
before starting to become more peaceful. Storm passing?
A (bars 75 -81)
Returns to a more quiet peaceful mood like at the start. Light
Repeating notes stop at bar 84 – sun coming out for a moment ?
Piece slows down at the end and finishes pp.
(bars 81-89)
 Page 45.
 Answer questions 1-10 in full sentences

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