2 Background to the Preludes ‘Raindrop’ belongs to a set of 24 preludes ( )Prelude: Opening piece that sets a particular mood. We expect it to be followed by something else.Works were criticized for a lack of recognizable structure and their shortnessShortest: 13 bars longLongest: 90The Raindrop prelude was written during Chopin’s period of recuperation in a deserted monastery in Majorca. It was written during a storm and was inspired by the raindrops dripping from the roof
3 Form and Structure ABA (loosely) 3 unbalanced sections Piece is dominated by the middle sectionMood is dark, stormy with melody in left handAnd yet the piece is remembered for the beautiful melody in section A!SectionKeyLengthA (1-27)Db Major27 BarsB (28-75)C# Minor47 BarsC (75-81)6 BarsCodetta (81-89)8 Bars
4 Keyboard Techniques used Moderate playing standardNot a very large rangeStraight forward rhythmsCantiable legato playingCareful expressive use of pedalsUse of rubato playing
5 Section A: Key points Marked sostenuto (sustained) Whole section is marked piano (p)Right hand has melody throughout in regular 4 bar phrases (except and which are 2 bar phrases)Simple left hand quaver accompaniment with repeated ‘raindrop’ Ab’sTexture: Melody dominated homophonyDetailed pedal markings help keep cantiable melody line
6 Section A: Bars 1-8Falling raindrops theme: F-Db-Ab characterize the melodyInner part provides harmonic support to the melodySimple diatonic harmony using mainly chords I and VPhrase ends with a perfect cadence at bar 4Ornamentation: Turn, acciaccatura (bar 4, semiquaver run)Bars 5-8: Repeat of bars 1-4
7 Section A: Bars 8-12 Second part of the theme is heard Simple stepwise melodyNotice the odd Cb chromatic note in bar 9 that adds colour to the harmonyG in bar 11 modulates the music to Ab majorPerfect cadence in Ab at bars 11-12
8 Section A: Bars 12-16 Slight variation on the previous 4 bar phrase Lots of different key changes in this section, using pivot chordsAb minor, Bb minorMusic is chromatic and modulates, unlike bars 1-8
9 Section A: Bars 16-23Two sets of 2 bar phrases based on the second part of the themeLinks to the 3rd hearing of the main melodyInner part of left hand provides chordal support to the melody, filling out the musical textureSecond 3 bar phrase takes us back to Db major20-23: Opening melody heard again, ending with a chromatic sextuplet figure
10 Section A: Bars 24-27Sextuplet figure leads to another statement of the opening ideaIt’s Left hanging on a V7 chord at bar 27Repeated Ab’s taken over by right handRight hand becomes the accompaniment and the left now has the melody line in the bassAb now changes character and becomes G#This is the dominant note of C# minor, leading to section B
11 Key Questions Section A is marked Sostenuto. What does this mean? How are the raindrops depicted?What is the texture of this section?What does cantiable mean?What’s the main difference between bars different from bars 1-8?What does chromatic sextuplet mean?What happens to the repeated Ab’s at the end of section A?
12 Section B (28-75) Lengthy and dramatic section Melodic interest is mainly in the left hand, with the right hand playing lots of G#s (raindrops)The raindrops in this section are stormier and feel more regular and repeatingRaindrops stand out as the G# is played in octaves at the top of the musical texture (Right hand) [eg 35-39]60-75: Right hand takes melody partMusical texture is homophonic but with much fuller chords and the use of octaves in both hands
13 Section B (28-75)Section starts quietly (sotto voce- undertone or whisper) but builds to ff and a bright sounding E major at bar 40Builds again at bar 51-56Rest of section at a lower dynamic level
14 Section B 28-35Two 4-bar phrases with a chorale like crotchet melody in left hand partBoth phrases end on chord 5, but middle note is left out (what is this called?)Octave G#s added at bar 35
15 Section B 35-39 Repetition of 28-31 Right hand doubles the top notes of the left hand in octavesThis produces a thicker texture and reinforces the melody as the music crescendos to ff at bar 40
16 Section B 40-43 Sad mood is broken by dramatic chord of E major These 4 bars are in the key of G# minor, so E major is chord 6 in this keyPerfect cadence at bars 42-43Strong and powerful 4 bars of music with octaves in both hands and accents over the chordsMinim notes provide a strong chordal outline to the melodyTexture then reduces dramatically to single, piano G#’s
17 Section B 44-59 Repeat of bars 28-43 With slight dynamic changes Bar 59: Repeat G#s are an octave higher
18 Section B 60-63 Back in C# minor Melody moves to the top of the texture and is chorale like againMelody is similar to ideas from bars 30-31, but with longer note values (minims instead of crotchets) [augmentation]Repeated G#’s are now in the middle of the texture
19 Section B 64-70Static chords of V-I forming a series of perfect cadencesRepeated minims and crotchets on G# form a pedal effectAs G# is chord 5 in C# major, its called a dominant pedalBecause the pedal is in the top part of the music, its called an inverted dominant pedalIf the pedal was in the middle of the texture, it would be called an inner pedal68-70: Repeat of bars 60-62
20 Section B 71-75 Forte passage Bar 71:F# minor, then back to C# minor in bar 72Above the V-I bass there are 3 repetitions of the notes A# A# G#. This creates an added 6th chord (C# E G# A#)Feeling of anticipation as the repeated G#s want to lead back to section ABar 75: link into a repeat of the opening melodyG# E# F# D# in the bass can be read harmonically as Ab F Gb Eb in the key of D major
21 Key Questions on Section B Where is the melody mostly heard in this section?How are the repeated raindrop notes different in this section?How do the raindrop notes stand out?What is the texture of this section?How are dynamics used in this section?What is an inverted dominant pedal?Bars are repeated, but with what changes?What is augmentation?How does section B link back to section A?
22 Section A1: 76-81 Bars 1-4 heard piano Ornament at bar 79 is extended into a 10 note figureSmorzando (dying away) bar 7980-81: broken off repeat off the opening figure. Has a dream like effect of fading away into the coda section
23 Codetta: 81(last beat)-8981-83: Listener is made to jump with the forte top BbThis is the highest note in the piece2 bar phrase then descends in dynamics and pitch84-89: Six bar phrase based on chords I and VRepeated Ab’s heard in middle of the texture (left hand)Melodic line also in the middle (right hand) and is similar to that heard in bars 60-62Piece ends pianissimo with a perfect cadence
24 Key questions on Section A1 and codetta What does smorzando mean?What effect does the broken off figure have in bar 81?What makes the listener jump in bar 81?How does the piece end?
25 Listening and Appraising questions Why is the prelude nicknamed the raindrop?Name 4 different subjects favored for musical expression by romantic composersWhat type of piece is a prelude?Describe the basic outline and structure of this pieceHow are contrasting moods achieved in sections A and B?Name 2 keyboard technique used in the musicName the 2 main keys used in this pieceWhich note is used throughout the piece as a representation of falling raindrops?Name 2 different ornaments used in the musicWhat name is given to the main texture of this piece?