UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Harmonic structure and performance in some passages of Chopin's Ballade No. 4 in F minor Yu, Libby


This document examines some passages in Frederic Chopin’s fourth Ballade, Op. 52 and identifies its consistent disruption of the expected tonal energies of the I-V-I triangle. Examples based on Schenkerian analysis show how the dominant becomes delayed and loses its energy, revealing consistent and purposeful disruptions of continuity. Structurally important dominants, whether introductory to tonics, interruptive, or involved in perfect cadences, are treated in such a way as to lose their normal accentual and rhetorical force, whether because of rhythmic placement, length, melodic design, dynamics, or textural organization. Another consistent feature in the Ballade is the cycle of descending major thirds, expressed as the relationship of a major chord to the one a major third below, which serves as the substitute for the motion from dominant to tonic, producing an effect of “false’’ resolution. Several passages are shown to illustrate how Chopin deconstructs the tonal triangle by employing an entirely different axis of motion through the augmented triad. Performance suggestions with regard to touch, rubato, textural variety, articulation and pedalling are discussed, based on the integration of the musical analysis and the articulations of the musical score.

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