Robert Schumann
Op. 9

Carnaval represents an elaborate and imaginative masked ball during carnival season. Schumann also put some musical puzzles into the score – "deciphering my masked ball will be a real game for you."

ID: 221
Robert Schumann

Op. 9

Key: N/A
Year: 1835
Level: 8+
Period: Early Romantic
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A Masked Carnival Ball

Schumann’s Carnaval is a collection of 21 short piano pieces that show musical portraits of both Schumann himself, characters from Italian comedy (commedia del'arte), and of his friends as they might appear during Fasching, the period leading up to Shrove Tuesday just before Lent. He even includes Chopin with a particularly apt tribute. This tribute was in spite of Chopin’s harsh criticism of the piece where he said that it “... wasn’t even music.” That is particularly unfair when one considers that Liszt compared Schumann’s wonderful work favorably with the “Diabelli Variations,” which Liszt himself used as part of his arsenal during his monumental duel with Thalberg.


Carnaval had its origin in a set of variations on a theme by Schubert, which Schumann worked on in 1833 and 1834. The variation work was never completed, but the opening 24 measures were re-used for the opening of Carnaval. Schumann puts himself into the work both musically, in the form of Eusebius and Florestan, and cryptically through musical codes, connecting the pieces through recurring motifs using the four notes Es–C–H–A, common to his name and the German word for Carnival, Fasching.

Forum posts about this piece:

Help with "Paganini" from Schumann's Carnaval. by drvaughn
I've played Carnaval a couple of times, but I've never been happy with the way I play "Paganini." If you know Carnaval, then you know that "Paganini" is a bear. Any suggestions for...

Dotted rhythms in Chopin and Schumann by frodo3
I'm here to be educated by you guys.  8)  I could spend a few hours to research myself, but instead I will rely on your expertise.  So I noticed a lot of dotted rhythms in Chopin...

Schumann Carnival Edition by scriabinophile
Looking to order the score for [b]Schumann Carnival [/b]online. I want to get a good edition -- something with a nice layout on the page; good quality printing and binding; intelligent editing; etc.

Fatigue in Schumann by rienzi
Has anybody any suggestions for limiting the fatigue I feel in the LH when practising the final march from Carnaval. It's caused by the repetitiveness of the LH movement which begins at the "molto piu...

Does anyone know the name of this piece? by lyurealm
Hello, first of all i want to introduce myself. I'm a student from Spain, i don't know to play piano but it's my favourite instrument, i always listen piano pieces while i'm studing and when...

Trying to identify a Schubert piece by tim3001
Hi everyone, I saw a great French movie called "Séraphine" in which one of the character plays a Schubert piece I think, and I'm trying to identify it. It can be heard at the...

Schumann's Carnaval by healdie
Hello i have purcharsed Schumann's Carnaval and would like to eventually learn all of it but some of it is definatly out of my skill range at the minute, so which would pieces within Carnaval would you all...

Schumann's---Carnaval---practice advice by kitty on the keys
I am starting this great piece---Where should I begin with first----and any helpful hints for Paganini. Thanks Kitty on the...

Schumann's Carnaval favourite piece by frigo
I think 'Chiarina' is quite nice... ...

Carnaval Sphinxes, What is it? by Frederic
What is it? I mean i have a copy of Carnaval and after No. 8 there is a title Sphinxes and under that, 3 bars of really strange looking notes. It says it shouldn't be played. But how exactly do you play...

More on Carnaval Op9 by Schumann... by Stokes
What do you think about this piece? It is for sure a hilarious collection of pieces, but how serious minded do you think Schumann was when composing this piece? It includes several very beautiful pieces but...

Members who like this piece have also downloaded:

Schumann: Carnaval Op. 9 (published in 1835) . DOWNLOAD piano sheet music from Piano Street digital sheet music library.
Carnaval Op. 9 by the composer Robert Schumann (1810-1856). This piano piece was composed in 1835 and is part of Schumann's Miscellaneous pieces.