The sectional ternary form, with tonally closed A-sections framing a central middle section, was a mainstay of Chopin’s music, appearing in nearly all the genres in which the composer wrote. Yet the Preludes Op. 28 largely avoid this type of form. Only the Preludes in D-flat major, F-sharp major, and B-flat major use it, or a close approximation of it. Following a brief consideration of Chopin’s ternary forms in general, this paper considers the specific ways in which the ternary forms of these three preludes differ from those typical of Chopin’s other music. After considering such general features as the handling of closure in the preludes’ opening sections, the design of the middle sections, and the rewriting of the reprises, the paper addresses the interplay among a variety of formal and tonal factors, especially those involving voice leading, thematic design, and register. These features bring these ternary preludes closer in some ways to their companion preludes in Op. 28 than to their ternary counterparts in other genres. Close readings based on formal design and tonal structure, conceived in a Schenkerian sense, thus inform considerations of genre, drawing together areas of research sometimes conceived as peripheral, even antithetical, to one another.
À propos de Wayne Petty