- Created by: S_Bluck
- Created on: 22-07-20 12:20
Developments of Piano
• cast iron frames as opposed to wooden frames which allowed for larger and stronger strings under increased tension
• felt instead of leather on the hammers
• seven octave range (as opposed to five)
• establishment of the sustaining and una corda pedals.
Results of piano development
• a more sonorous tone offering a broader palette of colours
• a better sustaining power to support legato phrasing (of longer note values) and an espressivo cantabile
• a greater dynamic range with more sensitive gradations from ppp to fff and an ability to balance textures
• greater expressive direction given by the composer to the performer on the printed score
• pianistic techniques involving wrists and forearms (as opposed to a purely digital action).
Chopin - Typical attributes
Slow tempo with regular rhythmical flow in the left hand creating a ,elancholic and reflective character
melody – dominated texture, above a largely unvaried homophonic accompaniment
extensive ornamentation, somewhat improvisatory in feel and imitative of the ‘bel canto’ style
very wide range of pitch (in the left hand arpeggio patterns as well as the melodic tessitura)
significant rhythmic variety in the melody, including twos against threes and use of sextuplets etc
largely conjunct melodic shapes, full of yearning appoggiaturas
slow moving, functional harmony with chromatic inflexions
clearly designed tonal scheme
overall arch shape with a quiet start, building to an impassioned climax before subsiding to a final repose
Romantic Period Characteristics
- Between 1830 and 1900
- Composers, artists and authors moved away from the formal restraint of the Classical period
- intense energy and passion
- greater emotional expression
- longer, virtuosic phrases with more varied pitch and dynamics
- New structures such as the rhapsody, nocturne and song cycle were introduced
- Used increasingly elaborate harmonic progressions
- Reflect the tension and nationalism of war and revolution throughout Europe
- The orchestra expanded in size and more instruments were added (Piccolo, contrabassoon, bass drums and triangles)
- Materials used to construct woodwind instruments also improved and expanded their musical quality and variability.
- Bel Canto Style - lyricism (shown through the short, singable 2 bar phrases and the arched melodic contours) and fioroturas
- Chopin’s Fioraturas in bars 31-37 use broken chords, chromaticism, trills, and highly complex cross-rhythms -makes the melody very technically challenging and help to create a climax for the listener.
- Structured into two main tunes, both of which are developed throughout the piece.
- Sometimes Chopin alters the rhythm of the original melody. For example, the melody from bar 2 is changed from straight quavers into triplets
- Bar 31, Chopin adds Fioraturas to the melody in bar 2, and towards the end of the piece, in bar 47, Chopin uses a version of the melody from bar 23 in the tonic major to modulate back to the home key. This creates variety and keeps the melody interesting.
- Abridged sonata form (a sonata form without the central development section)
- Melody develops slightly every time we hear the recapitulation - adds intensity to the mood of the piece via new dynamics and fioritura’s in the higher tessitura of the piano.
Introduction - Bar 1 - E minor
A Section: exposition - Bars 2 - 22 - E minor
B Section: exposition - Bars 23 - 30 - B major
A Section: recapitulation - Bar 31 - 46 - E minor
B Section: recapitulation - Bar 47 - 54 - E major
Coda - Bars 55 - 57 - E major
- Mostly diatonic harmonies moving at a slow harmonic pace - create a stable foundation for the melody.
- Most of the chords are tonic or dominant chords. ( Bars 1 - 4, only two chords are used- I and V7) - Calming mood which reflects the calm of the night
- Occasionally there are some more chromatic chords (Diminished chord in bar 5 - tension, 4-3 suspension in bar 8, Tierce de Picardie in the final bar of the piece)
- Chopin only uses chromatic harmonies at the melody’s climax, so overall the harmony is functional and extremely stable.
- Characterised by the triplet quaver ostinato in the left hand, which often creates cross rhythms with quavers or semiquavers in the right hand.
- Steady andante tempo - steady rhythmic foundation throughout
- Use of rubato - Chopin implies through ritenuto and calando markings - pianist can highlight the more expressive moments of the piece and this helps to tell the story
- Melody dominated homophony throughout
- Occasional moments of polyphony
- Throughout the entire piece, there is a triplet, broken chord accompaniment in the left hand with pedal points with the melody in the right hand play extract - Texture inspired hugely by John Field.
- Field introduced Chopin to the use of ostinatos and pedal points, something that Chopin then continued to write in the rest of his pieces.