Chopin- Prelude No.15 in D flat major

Raindrop Prelude

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  • Created by: Bethan
  • Created on: 23-04-12 18:14

General Information

  • written in 18 39
  • in ternary form meaning it has Section A, then Section B, then Section A again then a coda
  • Section A is in D flat major and Section B in C sharp minor which is the enharmonic equivalent and tonic minor of D flat. Other keys are explored in both sections which is typical of Romantic music
  • nicknamed Raindrop Prelude because of a repeated quaver A flat in the left hand part
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Section A

  • marked sostenuto meaning sustained and also a slow, held back tempo. The pianist has to use the pedal lots to create this
  • 'raindrop' note is heard in the first bar and continues for the rest of the piece
  • the first melodic phrase is marked piano and lasts 4 bars. The first three notes of the melody are descending. In bar 3 the melody is harmonised in sixths. In bar 4 there is an ornament which is a turn written out in full. These four bars are repeated without any changes except for the last bar where the ornament isn't played
  • another melodic idea starts in the last two quavers of bar 8
  • the melody goes through B flat minor which is the relative minor of D flat major
  • the section ends in D flat major where you hear the opening melody again
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Section B

  • in C sharp minor but other keys are explored like G sharp minor and F sharp minor
  • melody is in crotchets in the left hand part and is played underneath the raindrop notes which are now being played on G sharp in the right hand part
  • texture builds up through doubling the raindrop in octaves
  • dynamics build up gradually until bar 43 when the music drops back down to piano. It then builds up again until it reaches fortissimo
  • lots of accents which make a contrast to Section A
  • the last bar of Section B is a transition bar when the last four quavers prepare for the key change back to D flat major
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Section A Repeated

  • opening phrase played again with a slightly different ornament that is more chromatic and consists of ten notes instead of seven
  • suggest the piece is going to end using the term 'smorzando' which means dying away
  • in bar 81 the melody is cut short for the coda
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  • melodic line in the coda has the highest notes in the whole prelude and the only bars that are not accompanied by the raindrop note
  • starts off forte then drops down to piano with the final two bars being pianissimo which is the quietest part of the whole piece
  • the piece slows down towards the end with a gentle ritenuto
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