Contrary to their name, the four scherzos are not light-hearted compositions, and the first three, in particular the Scherzo in B minor, have very strong dramatic accents.
The first and last make the most of the ternary form, with extreme contrasts between the outer sections, full of restless motion, and the melodious middle episodes. The second and third scherzos shows Chopin’s ingenuity in creating new complex and dramatised forms, full of astonishing changes, sudden pauses and contrasts.
The most popular of these pieces is the B-flat Scherzo, Op. 31. Chopin himself used it in his teaching and admonished his pupils to play the famous first bars in a manner that evoked the image of a mortuary.