Features of Romantic Music
The Romantic era began in 1800 and ended in 1900. Chopin composed the raindrop prelude in 1838.
Features of the era
Wide range of expressions and emotions.
Longer melody lines that are more developed.
More freedom in the form and structure of the music.
Harmony often chromatic and discordant to portray grief and anguish.
Including strong and varied dynamics.
Links to other art forms.
Increased technical demand in the music and the rise of the 'virtuoso performer'.
Rise of Nationalism.
Expansion of the orchestra and development of the piano.
Texture and Instrumentation and Dynamics
The only instrument used in this piece is the piano.
It uses mainly the medium and lower ranges of the piano. There is a cantabile legato style of playing.
The piece is Homophonic throughout.
The A section- Mainly Piano with a few subtle crescendos and dimminuendos. The second A section has more variation from loud to very soft.
The B section- More dynamics and overall a louder section. There are louder, more noticible crescendos and builds gradually.
Rhythm, Tempo and Metre
The piece should be played in a 'sostenuto' style meaning a sustained style.
Septuplets are frequently used throughout.
The piece if in 4/4.
The use of Rubato playing which also created expression.
Repeated use of quavers throught keeps the rhythm.
There is also a use of a dectuplet in some occasions and the pianist can change the length of the notes (rubato) to be more expressive.
Structure, Tonality, Harmony and Melody
The piece is in Ternary form (ABA) and then features a short codetta at the end.
The A section has the melody in the RH and the accompaniment in the LH. In the B section they swap.
The A section is in D flat major. The B section is in C sharp minor.
In the A section the melody is lyrical in the right hand and it is decorated with ornaments like acciacaturas and turns. Overall it is chromatic and features several dotted rhythms. In the B section the melody moves to the left hand and there are longer notes. The B section begins with a rising sequence.
There is a definite diatonic key but there are a few chromatic notes. There is a key change to the tonic minor for the B section.
Key Parts of the Raindrop Prelude
Falling Motif- This represents rain and represent sadness and a melancholly feel.
Repeated Notes- A flat is repeated in the A section and G sharp is repated in the B section. These notes represent raindrops.
Chromaticism- Chromatic notes are used throughout the piece which adds more interest.
Keyboard Techniques- Cantabile legato style of playing and an expressive use of playing makes the piece more expressive.
Lengthy B section- Unlike other pieces in ternary form the B section is much longer than normal taking up half the length of the piece.
Ternary Form- ABA.
Cantabile Legato- Asinging style.
Acciaccatura- Crushed note.
Dominant pedal- A sustained note on the dominant of the key.
Pivot note- A note common to both keys and used to pivot between two different keys.
Inner pedal- A sustained note in the middle of a musical texture.
Inverted dominant pedal- A sustained note as a highest part in a musical texture.