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Looking for examples of Chopin's music with an unusual number of notes to a beat (Read 3407 times)

Offline jespada

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Greetings friends - I'm a guitar teacher in San Francisco, and Chopin was mentioned yesterday in a lesson as an example of someone who composed often with irregular numbers of notes per beat (landing again, of course, on the downbeat).  I was wondering if any of you could suggest a simple example of this (preferrably with a youtube video and sheet music I could show) to illustrate my point.  I'm teaching this young man to read and write down his music, and unusual numbers of notes to a single beat is something that happens quite commonly for improvising guitarists.  Many thanks, Jason.

Offline lukediv

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Hi Jason,

Just went on holiday to San Francisco from Australia - fantastic city.

Anyways, on to your Chopin question, if i have understood what you're looking for, try looking at Chopin's nocturne in b flat minor (op.3 no1). In the 3rd bar you have what's called a fiortura passage (i think) where there is a flourishing of notes that don't always divide easily.

I hope thats what you're looking for.


Offline quantum

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Perhaps you meant to say Op 9 no 1.
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline lukediv

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Perhaps you meant to say Op 9 no 1.


Yep - i was so excited i could answer a question i got the numbers mixed haha

Offline starlady

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In the Nocturne Lento Con Gran Espressione in C# minor the right hand gets to play 18, 35, 11 and 13 notes while the left plays 4 1/8-th notes.   Very pretty. --s.

Offline harryedgar

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mmmmm - I'm just learning the opus 25 no 1 etude "Aeolian Harp", and you have a reasonable amount of groups of 6 played against groups of 5 on the second and third pages. Though a far better one for uneven groupings of notes would be Liszt - check out etudes like Un Sospiro, La Leggiezzera and Chasse Neige

Offline j_menz

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Yep - i was so excited i could answer a question i got the numbers mixed haha

You might find it useful to have a look at Op 3 in any case (it's a work for piano and cello). It's an early work, and Chopin doesn't use the odd numbers he soon came to adopt. It provides an interesting contrast and shows what he might have been after in adopting them.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline nanabush

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I was just playing this today:

Look at the Nocturne in F# Major Op 15.  I'd say that is his clearest example of "what????" when you are asked to split beats.  The middle section has a strange 5 feel paired with a 2+3 feel.  It's weird.  There are also tons of embellishments, loads of irregular subdivisions in the beats.  It's a trippy looking piece, but it's beautiful.

Interested in discussing:

-Prokofiev Toccata
-Scriabin Sonata 2

Offline rmbarbosa

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In Nocturne post. no 20, in C sharp minor, you have near the end 32 notes RH against 4 notes LH

Offline richardb

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The famous Waltz no.2, Op.64, has 8 beats against 3 in measure 20 of the Piu Lento section.

I was struggling with this measure until I saw a score that had these 8 beats written as 2+3+3, that is, two eighth notes (two quavers?) on the first beat, then a triplet followed by another triplet on beats two and three.

Another example: In measure 21 of Chopin's easiest waltz there's a triplet against the first beat, then 5 notes against the second beat.


Hope this helps.