Music Appraisal - Classical Waltzes

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Gary Chew        Candidate No: 3003        Centre No: 28384

Music Appraisal – Classical Waltzes

Piece 1 – Waltz in B Minor F. CHOPIN, Op. 69, NO.2

Piece 2 – Waltz in C# Minor J. BRAHMS, Op. 39, NO.7

Piece 3 – Je Te Veux ERIK SATIE

My chosen three pieces are all waltzes in ¾. They each maintain the feeling of a traditional waltz, conjured up by the chord movements in the bass clef. Furthermore, each work is composed for piano.

Piece 1 – Waltz in B Minor F. CHOPIN, Op. 69, NO.2

This piece was published after Chopin’s death and is one of a pair with Waltz in Ab Major. It has a time signature of ¾ and should be played moderately fast. The music is in B Minor but also modulates into B Major giving the sudden peak of happiness in the middle of the piece. The use of chromatic scales is also apparent; they generally give a sense of falling back in to the main rhythm as they are used just before a section of flowing melody. Block chords are applied in the left hand; with a strong first beat on the bass note just before, to give structure to the piece and possibly to dancers. This is covered by the right hand with the main swaying rhythm. Dynamics of this piece often relate to the phrases and cadences, if the rhythm begins to increase in pitch then the dynamics tend also to increase and vice versa so that it gives the feeling of a strong uprising in the melody, even building towards the B major section. Some phrases have an accent on their first note as if to fall on to the note then play flowingly through the phrase. When the key change is brought about, a thicker richer texture is introduced bringing harmony to the section.

The structure to the piece is quite simplistic: A A’ B A’’ B A’’ /C C’/ A B A’’ Though the piece uses 3 major sections, which are changed slightly when repeated, it keeps the piece together as a whole linking back to other first sections. For instance the end is A’’ which relates back to the beginning, the A section.

Overall the impression of the piece is one of movement, with a strong bass to keep the feeling of a waltz while the melody moves freely, but well structured, on top. Different musical aspects are included to help build up to the central key change then, in the original key, fading or dying away at the end.

Piece 2 – Waltz in C# Minor J. BRAHMS, Op. 39, NO.7

Similarly to the first waltz this piece has a time signature of ¾ but in contrast, it should be played ‘Poco piú Andante,’ a little more of a walking speed. This work should be performed ‘dolce’ and ‘ben legato’ in parts, this helps smooth out the block chords of the melody and also holds the piece together. The score is in C# Minor but modulates several times in to its relative key, E Major; changes the mood of the waltz to a lively effective dance. Modulating from C# Minor to C# Major is a feature common in both this piece and Chopin’s Waltz in B Minor. The latter of which, modulates from B Minor to B Major.

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Unlike piece 1 this waltz, in the first section, uses block chords to form the melody but also are included in the bass. This provides a constant thick texture to the listener, whereas the first piece varied much more in the changing of texture. Although, in the bass clef an ardent pulse, which falls on the first beat of each bar, is apparent alike to the first score. This attribute keeps the structure and the characteristics of a waltz which, in turn, contributes to the feeling and movement of a typical waltz. The chords in the melody are generally based ...

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