Ambiguity of Tonal Meaning in Chopin’s Prelude op. 28, no. 22
Hood, Alison (2012) Ambiguity of Tonal Meaning in Chopin’s Prelude op. 28, no. 22. Music Theory Online, 18 (3.8). pp. 1-9. ISSN 1067-3040
This paper focuses on Chopin’s Prelude in G minor, op. 28, no. 22, which derives its passionate character from its particularly individual treatment of tonal and rhythmic ambiguity. The upbeat to the theme of the Prelude (rhythmically distinctive as it includes the only sixteenth note in the entire piece) is tonally ambiguous. In some of its appearances, it seems to have two conflicting interpretive possibilities, functioning as dominant and tonic harmony at the same time—supporting and . The Schenkerian analytical notation employed in this paper follows guidelines for which Steve Larson uses the term “strict use.” This analytical method clearly depicts the remarkable ways in which the motto seems to present simultaneous conflicting meanings. Ambiguity not only characterizes the surface of this work, but it also permeates various levels of structure, and encompasses both harmony and meter.
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