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GCSE Music Analysis: Frédéric Chopin's "Raindrop Prelude"

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I'm currently a full-time student living and studying in London. For years I've written about the environment, science, and psychology.

Frédéric Chopin

Frédéric Chopin

"Raindrop Prelude" General Points

  • "Raindrop Prelude" is one in a collection of 24 preludes, one of each in the 12 major and 12 Mmnor keys.
  • Composed in 1839.
  • Light repeated quavers heard throughout sound like raindrops, hence "raindrop prelude."

Key Features of the Romantic Period

  • Music is more expressive and emotive.
  • Rich chromatic harmonies and lots of dissonance.
  • Modulation between keys.
  • Pieces of music are much longer.

Instrumentation and Dynamics

  • Written for piano.
  • Uses the middle and lower range of the piano.
  • This work is not virtuosic, and the focus is on the legato tone.
  • There is a wide range of dynamics (pp–ff).
  • Lots of crescendos and diminuendos, so there are no sudden contrasts or changes in dynamics.


  • Section A: Db Major quavers in the left hand and the melody in the right hand.
  • Section B: C# Minor quavers in the right hand and melody in the left hand.
  • Section A: Db Major but this time finishes with a brief coda.
  • The piece is written in ternary form (ABA)


  • Time signature is 4/4 throughout.
  • Use of septuplet in bars 4 and 23.
  • Rubato is used in the recording; this means that it is played at a flexible tempo for added expressive effect.
  • Repeated quavers are a unifying rhythmic feature throughout this piece.

Melody and Texture

  • Lyrical!
  • Decorated with ornaments, e.g., acciaccatura in bar 4 and a turn in bar 11.
  • In section B, the melody is in the bassline with a narrower range and longer notes.
  • Homophonic texture (apart from 2 bars at the end that are monophonic).

Tonality and Harmony

  • Db Major.
  • Diatonic harmonies with the occasional chromaticism.
  • Modulates to the enharmonic tonic minor.
  • Sections A and B both end in imperfect cadences but the whole prelude ends in a perfect cadence.
  • Dominant pedal can be heard throughout most of the piece.


Rivi ya Boi on September 09, 2018:

Thank you so much! This really helped me to finish a page on my assignment for Chopin. Actually, I should probably be editing right now because it's due next period. OwO

Thank you again :D

student at daca on April 26, 2017:

where could you find what instruments he uses

RaphGeld on February 09, 2016:

Thanks so much, music essay is now finished!

Geek on May 13, 2015:



us on February 05, 2015:


anonymous on November 27, 2014:

omg this is great!! im defo using it for exams

that random guy on October 14, 2014:

no worries

Toby on June 16, 2014:

You should also remember it is in ternary form, but otherwise really insightful.

Peter on June 02, 2014:

Thanks. Exam in 30 minutes

Dominic Reynolds on May 31, 2014:

thanks so much...exam on monday!

Anastasia Bunce on May 31, 2014:

so useful thanks so much!

zaman on March 23, 2014:

this really helped- but could you please make the analysis more specific like harmony being separate from tonality and analyse them in more depth?

just somebody on March 22, 2014:

this page is really helpful, thanks!

ben on February 12, 2014:

i can tell you don't actually know what you are talking about, and i'm a mere student

anonymous on December 26, 2013:

of course it isn't a virtuoso performance, it's grade 6 at it's best, she is right to say that it isn't.

anonymous on November 21, 2013:

Under 'Instruments and Dynamics' you've put that this piece is not virtuosic but it actually is because it demands immense technical skill?

Emily (author) on May 22, 2013:

No problem, good luck to all of you with your exam tomorrow!

Lucie on May 22, 2013:

Tis has helped me so much for my exam tomorrow. thanks :D the textbook makes it seem so much more complicated. Cheers for this

Josh on May 15, 2013:

aah the fun thing is that at first it seems like a massive job just to remember some of this stuff but now you look at it in this form and well i think its soo easy, thanks

Harrison on May 12, 2013:

Thanks for this, it has really helped me throughout my revision! Again thanks Anthropophobia, I owe you one.

woody on April 18, 2013:

i have an exam on this oops i don't get this 1 bit

Emily (author) on April 08, 2013:

Thank you! Good luck with the revision!

Patrick on April 08, 2013:

Really fantastic notes my friend! These have really helped in my revision!

Emily (author) on December 13, 2012:

Great that I could help you! Best of luck with your essay. :)

MitsukiManga on December 13, 2012:

Thank you for the help! Wouldn't have been able to do my music essay without these good points :)

Emily (author) on May 13, 2012:

No problem! All the best in the exam tomorrow! :)

Anonymous (well more or less) on May 13, 2012:

Thankyou so much for the info on all the edexcel pieces, they've been a brilliant substitute for our "absent" teacher

Emily (author) on May 08, 2012:

Thank you, I'm glad you found it useful.

Good luck in the exam!

Student on May 07, 2012:

Really helpful, will definitely use this information in the exam!