Chopin's Piano Sonata in B Flat Minor Opus 35 - Further analyses - Walker and others



concentrated themes, a phenomenon already noticeable in his early C Minor Piano Sonata Opus 4.[177] In addition, as already noted by Réti, Klein observes that Chopin's themes are all derived from a few basic motives. This is in agreement with Walker's view that, in general, the sonata was subjected to a large amount of structural compression in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.


In a monumental dissertation from 1981, John Bollinger uses integrative and Schenkerian analyses to investigate the relationships among unifying compositional devices within Chopin's opus 35. His work involves the integration of several analyses, a summary of which follows:


1)      Foreground-Vertical-Linear Analysis. This shows the fusion and interplay of the unifying intervals (the major and minor third) of the Sonata within the pianistic texture.[178]

2)      Compositional-Structure Outline. This shows the basic structure of each movement, including details of subject material, key changes, and the demarcation of each movement into its respective sections.[179]

3)      Chromatic-Scale Analysis. This uncovers another unifying device in the Sonata: the ascending and descending chromatic scale as it occurs in each of the four movements.[180]

4)      Diatonic-Major and Melodic-Minor Scale Analysis. This shows the importance of major and minor scales as unifying devices in each of the four movements.

5)      Reconstruction Analysis. This involves the juxtaposition of material notated in sharps and flats in the first, second, and fourth movements in order to show chord-function continuity.[181]

6)      Middle- and Background Schenkerian Sketches. These corroborate the integrative analyses, and include sketches of each movement as a separate entity, as well as a final unified sketch of the entire Sonata.


[177] Klein. Rudolph. 'Chopins Sonatentechnik,' in Osterreichische Musikzeitschrift XXII/7 (1967), p. 393.

[178] Bollinger, John S.I. An Integrative and Schenkerian Analysis of the B-Flat Minor Sonata of Frederic Chopin. Ph.D dissertation, University of Washington, 1981, p. 3.

[179] ibid., p. 11.

[180] ibid., p. 24.

[181] ibid., p. 27.


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