Measures 1 a 16

Here is the harmonic analysis of the first phrase. Measures 5 to 8 are explained in more detail below:

We'll start with the harmonic progression shown in the first system on the following image. With some chord substitutions, we'll arrive at Chopin's chords:

  1. Starting harmonic progression.
  2. The dominant chords in the first part of each measure are substituted using diminished sevenths (A7, V7 of D by C#dim7, vii of D).
  3. The B diminished seventh chord (vii of C) is substituted by an augmented sixth chord that resolves to C, V degree of F. We can also explain this chord by tritone substitution. G7 is the dominant chord of C, Db7 is the tritone substitution.

The bass note of the augmented sixth chord (B), would usually be placed as an inner or top voice. The following image shows the traditional disposition (a) and that used by Chopin (b):

The first four measures (9 to 12) of the second phrase are identical to those of the first. Follow some comments about the other measures.

Measures Comments
13 - 14 The progression in measure 13 is repeated one tone down in measures 14.
15 The G dominant chord in measure 14 leads to C minor. An augmented sixth chord of the C minor key is written as an Ab dominant chord and prepares the next section in Db.

© 2020 José Rodríguez Alvira. Published by

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