\"\"
Piano Forum logo

A Chopin epiphany (Read 389 times)

Offline mjames

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2497
A Chopin epiphany
« on: July 04, 2021, 08:03:55 PM »
Today I had a eureka moment over Chopin's 3rd Sonata. It's insane, it's a piece I've probably listened to over a hundred times over the past decade since I've gotten into classical piano and only now I'm realizing that everything, and I mean everything in the first movement is constructed over the material introduced in the first two pages. I genuinely can't believe it. What I previously thought as inspired new material in the exposition was actually just a straightforward variation/slight modification on what we saw in the introduction. If it's not a variation, it's a small fragment. It's everywhere, everywhere! Even in the accompaniment, in parts where it's obviously not the focus but instead in the background, it's there; fragments, fragments, and fragments of previous passages, sometimes appearing as counter-melodies. All over the place. In the development, the recap, and coda. Everywhere. Once I started to truly pay attention I couldn't find any actual new material in the entirety of the first movement after the introduction.

It's like "yeah mjames, duh it's a sonata" but the thing is, sure it's obvious when you compare the little fragments and the passages in the introduction side by side on the piano, but to my eyes the contrast between each section is so cleverly written it doesn't seem obvious to look for clever modifications a la a Beethoven sonata. It's so smooth. Everything just seems so freaking spontaneous. But it isn't. It's all beautifully *** crafted.

Chopin man. After all those years I'm still getting stunned by him. Especially embarrassing because I've actually played the first movement.


I also experienced something similar with his Ballade op. 52. It's only when I started learning it that after the transitional passage in g flat  there's barely any new material. Aside from the obvious variations, it's just Chopin constantly and cleverly expanding on theme I.

Even the coda which sounds completely bizarre and unrelated to the rest of the piece to SO many experienced listeners and players, and yet it's just Chopin cleverly reusing the same material one last time. It's insane. The level of craftmanship in his opus 52 and 58 is insane. And it's so *** subtle too. I'm saying insane way too much, I apologize for the limited vocabulary. I'm honestly just excited.

I don't know guys, I just needed to rant about this and share it with you guys.

Chopin's awesome and I love him. That is all.

Piano Street's Digital Sheet Music Library

Chopin: Sonata 3, opus 58
piano sheet music of Sonata 3


Offline anacrusis

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 321
Re: A Chopin epiphany
«Reply #1 on: July 04, 2021, 08:21:30 PM »
Very interesting, I'd love to know more. Can you post some bar numbers or pictures of the score of the foundational motifs he used, together with some examples of how it's used later?