Donald Stark's Story
It's that second chord

How to break a heart with one chord

November 16, 2010

Chopin’s Waltz in c# minor, Opus 64, #2

Chopin was a master of extracting the profound sorrows of the heart out a single chord.  In this waltz, it's that second chord.

On one hand, technically, it's a chromatic downward slipslide — it had to be downward, right? — of that minor sixth interval underpinned by — OMG! — a modulation! and we're only in the first full measure!  Where’s he taking us?  Well (still technically), to the seventh-saturated dominant of the dominant; not a Mozartian drive down a country lane, but a careening off the road into a sunless ravine, all with one chord, that second chord.

On the other hand, all theory aside... it's heartbreak.

Categories:   Composers, Chopin

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