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Harmonic Analysis from an excert of Chopin's G minor Ballade (Read 472 times)

Offline jlmap

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Hello! I'm studying Chopin's Ballade in G minor, Op.23, and I found a somewhat strange passage, that is in the archive attached.

It seems to start with a sequence of chords that have a pattern: In A maj: IV6-ii7-iii6-I7. Does anyone know this pattern?

Than, it seems to use the I7 as the III7 of the relative minor (f# minor), followed by iv6-V7-i of this relative minor. Finally, it restores A major, begining with V/V, than V and I.

Is this correct?

Piano Street's Digital Sheet Music Library

Chopin: Ballade 1, opus 23
piano sheet music of Ballade 1


Offline lelle

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Re: Harmonic Analysis from an excert of Chopin's G minor Ballade
«Reply #1 on: May 07, 2021, 11:05:20 PM »
Hey,

I grew up learning a different analysis system than roman numerals, but it looks right to me. Here's how I'd understand the unusual chord progression.

First, consider the original harmonization of the theme, which I have written in the first line with the chords in root position. It's just a normal sequence using fifths, which can be found everywhere in classical music; I'm sure you are familiar with it.



When the theme comes in A major, Chopin does not use a transposed version of the same harmonization, but changes it. The bass notes imply a similar sequence using fifths but starting from a different harmony, but the chords over the bassline tell a different story as you say.

You can sort of squeeze the music to fit a sequence of fifths if you interpret it like I have written in the third line. The more sensible option is of course to think of it as you have analyzed it; on the second line I have written the chords in your analysis in root position. In this case, you can view each chord on the 4th beat leading to the 1st beat in the next bar as a deceptive cadence: bminor7 -> c# minor (instead of e major),  and Amaj7 -> bmin (instead of D major). After that it continues the sequence of fifths in normal fashion.

I think the truth is the ear hears a mix of both. It's a very creative and cool reharmonization that still works really well.

Offline jlmap

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Re: Harmonic Analysis from an excert of Chopin's G minor Ballade
«Reply #2 on: May 08, 2021, 12:13:44 AM »
Thank you very much for the explanation! It helped a lot!