Ravel's Piano Concerto in Gmajor- Movement 2

Some notes on the second movement of Ravel's Piano Concerto in G

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  • Created by: Charlotte
  • Created on: 07-06-12 15:37


I've colour coded these notes using the following colours:

  • Themes = RED
  • Influences = GREEN
  • Figures = ORANGE
  • Piano writing = INDIGO
  • Harmony = BLUE


Fig F = Four fanfare-style chords
Fig x = perfect 5th interval
Fig y = major 2nd interval
Fig z = major 2nd followed by a minor 3rd 

This piece is in TERNERY FORM 

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Section A


34 bar piano soloEmajor, diatonic harmony.

Written in 3/4 but the LH has a rocking 6/8 feel about it
-uses inverted fig y (b. 3) 

A1 theme played by the RH, supposed to sound serene and simple.
-uses fig y (b. 2), fig x (b. 3-4) and fig z (b.6-7) 


  • Satie's 'Gymnopedie'
  • Mozart's Clarinet Quintet
  • Mozart's Piano concerto
  • People have also drawn similarities to Faure's 'Ballade'

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Section A1- Harmony (not gonna bother doing this a

-Starts on a tonic E major.
-RH resolves the A in bar 2 with the G in bar 3. 
-G#minor chord (minor 3rd of E) in b. 4
-D minor9 b. 9
-E9 b. 8 (lots of 9th chords-French influence)
-Accented passing note b. 14
-Suspension at end of b. 14
-Bmaj b. 15
-C# minor (relative minor) chords b. 18
-9/8 suspension L.H. b. 22
-Emajor 1st inversion b. 23
-Subtle rising bass line
-A major hinted at b. 32 

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Diatonic with some dissonances.

Flute leads, then oboe, then clarinet.
-Overlapping musical ideas = characteristic Ravel
Climax at bar 42 

Piano thinner 

Starts on B chord, goes to A7 b. 36

Fig x in cellos

Sustained strings

Heads towards D# minor  


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Section B

Starts with D MAJOR chord (tierce de picardie)

Piano increases in texture
Una corda- left pedal

Melody in cor anglais

False relations in piano part

Bassoon doubles bass line to begin with but takes over from cor anglais b. 50

Key change b. 50 suggests B minor 

+ in horn part means to mute using fist

Fig 3
Sustained Romantic sound on strings

Bmin - D7 - G7 - Amaj (V) - Dmaj (I)
Accented upwards suspension in piano b. 57

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Section B (cont.)

Fig 4
Piano increases in intensity

Static chords in strings
Against parallel chords in woodwind based on whole tone scale - IMPRESSIONISM
-Parallel rising chords are in antiphony between horn/bassoon and rest of ww

Piano plays echos of fig 3 in b. 62
-L.H. rocking rhythm temporarily stops

Upwards suspension into Gmajor at fig 5
Basoon plays G pedal

Piano now two octaves lower- darker feel, tension increasing
L.H. slowly rises in pitch
Whole tone parallel chords now on strings

Very dense piano writing b. 71 imitates fluttertounging effect on piccolo
Climax at b. 71- first time tutti and only time trumpet & trombone play (G# minor)

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Section A

Sudden drop in dynamic before (b. 73)

There isn't a proper perfect cadence into fig 6 but you get the feel of one.

Section A is shorter than original (bars 18-28 omitted)

Melody on cor anglais (solo)

Piano accompanies with demi-semiquaver runs 
Rocking accomp continues in L.H. of piano

Sustained strings
Fig z in violin II b. 75

Harmony reflects harmony of opening section
Subtle change in pitch of L.H piano b. 86 and at b. 90

Unexpected cadence into C# major (tierce de picardie) at 96 (fig 9)
Harp interjections, harmonic chords with both hands in bass clef
Flute enters subtly, tapers away, echoed by oboe, cor anglais & bassoon
Strings taset until coda 

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Piano plays dominant trill
L.H. rocking motif continues.
-all based on E major triad

Muted strings
Tonic pedal in double basses and cellos 
Fig z passed around

Bassoon plays inversion of fig z (b. 105)

Harmonic sound on final chord

Perdend. (perdendosi) = dying away 

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