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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Schumann, "Carnaval," Op. 9 No. 4, "Valse noble"

Schumann composed “Valse noble” in ternary form (ABA). The first section starts the piece off in the key of B-flat major, and the tempo is placed at one that would give the imagery of being a little majestic (un poco maestoso). To help with the majestic feeling Schumann also starts the dynamics at forte in the first measure, which then grows throughout the whole first A section. This increase in dynamics leads straight into the IAC in measure 8. The A section is then repeated one time before moving on into section B.

Section B (m. 9-24) is quite the opposite when placed in comparison with section A. Right in the first measure you experience a change in key to D major, and another change in the register of the treble clef which drops a whole octave. Also, the dynamic in measure 9 is piano where as in section A the softest dynamic was forte. In measure 13 the difference between section A and B increases when you see instruction for the musicians to play very gentle (molto teneramente) instead of majestically like in section A.

Before the return of section A, there is an eight measure transition (m. 25-32) to connect the two different sections, and bring us back into the original key of B-flat major. In the first measure of the transition the dynamic is still piano, but in measure 26 they start to increase which continues for three measures. In these eight measures there is a good mix of rhythms from both sections, but more from A because it is the section Schumann is trying to work his way back into.

Once back in section A, Schumann places a double forte on the first measure. The dynamic is set this way to give the sense that we are back home, and to really stress the difference in the sections. Also, Schumann works the treble line back up into the higher register where it originally was at in the first A section. Instead of having the same eight measures as in the first A, Schumann only uses the first four measure of the original A section and then uses the last four measures to bring the register and dynamics back down to end on another IAC.

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