Edexcel Romantic, Chopin

Revision notes on Prelude in Db Major by Chopin

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Key Words
Music GCSE Notes Romanticism - an artistic movement in Europe in which
the artist was more concerned with feelings and
emotions than with form
Augmented 6th chord - chord which contains an
The Romantic Era: 1800-1900 augmented 6th interval
Diminished 7th - a chord made up of superimposed
F. Chopin minor thrid intervals
Dominant 13th - chord V with the added 13th note
Piano Prelude No.15 in Db major (1838) Neopolitan chord - chord of the flattened supertonic in
the first inversion
Virtuoso performer - someone who has mastered the
A B A1 skills and techniques of their art form
Soft pedal - pedal which softens the tone of the music
Bars 1­27 Bars 28­75 Bars 76­end
Sustaining pedal - removes the dampers and sustains
Major key, long melody Minor key, new melody A shorter version of the the piano note, allowing them to vibrate freely
heard several times heard mainly in the bass opening A section Cantabile - singing style
Tempo rubato - robbed time pull back or speed up the
It is in ternary form - A B A1 tempo for expression
Acciaccatura - a note played quickly before the main
Chopin prelude in D Flat bars 1 ­4 note
Dominant pedal - repeated note on the dominant note
of the key
Inverted pedal - a repeated note as the highest part in
a musical texture
Pivot note - a note common to both keys and used to
pivot between two different keys
The piece opens in D flat major. Look at the melody of the four opening bars. Notice the:
· time signature of 4/4 (C refers to common time)
· key signature of D flat major The melody is supported by broken chords
· melodic line which falls and then rises in a long curve so the texture is homophonic.
· septuplet in the final bar where 7 semi-quavers are played in the time of 4 (the septuplet is
preceded by a grace note ­ a single note ornament) Most of the opening is based on chords 1
and V ­ the tonic and dominant, which in
this case are D flat and A flat.
Opening of a section B
The first chord is the tonic.
Repeated A flat quavers (the raindrops) are
used from the beginning ­ these act as a
pedal throughout the piece.
Don't confuse this with the piano pedal. The
word 'pedal' is used here to mean a
repeated note played against changing
A flat is the dominant of D flat major, so this
is a dominant pedal.
Return of section A - final section
The key has now returned to D flat major.
This section is much shorter than the
opening A section. The opening four bars
are very similar to the opening of the piece
but this time the septuplet is replaced with
10 semi-quavers.
The next phrase is cut short, the pedal stops
briefly and is followed by an eight-bar coda.
The coda opens an unaccompanied melody ­
Look at the opening bar of Section B. Notice the: when there is only one line, this is known as
1. new key signature of C sharp minor ­ this uses an enharmonic modulation a monophonic texture.
2. sotto voce marking The prelude ends pp (very quietly) with a
3. repeated quavers in the treble clef (right hand) perfect cadence. A perfect cadence uses
4. long melody in the bass clef (left hand), mostly in crotchets chord V (the dominant, in this case A flat)
If you look at the piano you will see that the note D flat is the same note as C followed by chord I (the tonic, in this case D
sharp ­ it is the enharmonic equivalent. A modulation is a change of key. flat). Perfect cadences sound final so are
often used at the end of compositions.
Romantic Page 1


Samuel Richardson

This a wonderfully presented page of notes that includes some analysis and definition of key-terms. Would look good as a poster!

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