Chopin's Mazurkas - Part 6

This article is part 36 of 52 in the 2022 music project series.
This article is part 6 of 9 in the Reviewing Chopin's mazurkas series.
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I don't have a lot of time this week so once again I'll talk to myself about Chopin's mazurakas. This week I'm up to Opus 41. This will take my only halfway through my mazurkas book :(

Quatre Mazurkas

For à Mr. E. Witwicki.

Op. 41, No. 1 in C♯ minor

Some interesting harmonies to start this one out. Some kind of Phyrgian thing with the C♯m → D chord progression. Eventually it transitions to a major theme with a bit of a deceptive cadence.

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Main theme of Op. 41 No. 1
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Mildly deceptive cadence leads to the B section in C♯ major

The C (or maybe D, I lost count) section has some call-and-response back-and-forth between the left- and right-hands as it modulates to A major. That then transitions back to the main theme, except in a major key, and that D chord makes more sense within the F♯m harmonic scale.

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Call and response between LH and RH
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Main theme revisited, this time in a major key

Some mazurka-ish/Hungarian dance-ish dotted-eighth/sixteenth patterns follow, And finally the main theme is revisited loudly in octaves, before ending in a depressing funeral march waltz. Of sorts.

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A nice funeral dirge ends Op. 41, No. 1

Op. 41, No. 2 in E minor

This one has an interesting start. Originally I thought this was in A minor until I actually looked at the key signature. It's in E minor but starts on an E7 chord. Then it's repeated down a fourth which gets to E minor.

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Op. 41, No. 2 is in E minor but begins in E major

A bunch of annoying-to-sight-read accidentals eventually lead us rather abruptly back to the main theme, only louder and angrier. I also found it interesting that my edition featured an explicit C♮ despite there being no C♯s in the previous measure. I guess it feels warranted after the overabundance of accidentals preceding it.

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Lots of accidentals lead to a louder recapitulation

This one is all slow and sad and feels like it would have been part of a movie soundtrack at some point. Like something depressing like a war movie in a scene showing a montage of the destructive aftermath. Like "look at all the senseless killing. We've won the war, but at what cost?"

I looked but it appears no one has done that, yet.

Op. 41, No. 3 in B major

This one has a unique beginning. Some fast unison scales/arpeggios are featured. Haven't seen that kind of thing in the mazurkas yet.

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Unison scales early on in Op. 41, No. 3

And then Chopin was all "B major sucks, how about E♭ instead?" I'm sure there's some music theory explanation for that transition. I guess the scalar runs ends on a D♯, so he was like "yeah, that's the same as E♭ let's use that note".

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The same scalar run but transitions to E♭

And then he throws a curveball but ending that same run on a D♮ which gives him an excuse to transition to D major.

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And another modulation from the same scalar pattern, this time to D major

Overall this one is pretty fun. Kinda reminiscient of some of Chopin's waltzes.

Op. 41, No. 4 in A♭ major

This one is also very waltzy to start out. Eventually there's a picardy 3rd and now we're in C major.

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Starts out very waltzy
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An eventual Picardy 3rd transitions to C major

Not much more to say about this one. It's short and sweet and basically a waltz.