Nocturnes by Chopin are still Highly Cutting Edge in Novelty . This is true even by today’s standards. One of the nocturnes written by Chopin will serve for today’s blog: It is Opus 37, No. 2. Chopin goes from one key signature to the next, quickly. Like a great painter,constantly changing he colors. Yet the entire work holds together beautifully. This opus is like a musical kaleidoscope of harmonies. They shift continually. Chopin was highly experimental. No matter what key this nocturne goes into, he changes the sharps and flats- not the key signature. Throughout the entire score, you see the “F#”, which here denotes the key of G major. In most music, same key signature with continual modulations by “accidentals” rarely happens. As I fascinatingly practice this work, the continual “F#” really stands out against, say, six flats. Yet, the work hangs together for an unforgettable aesthetic experience.
All About Nocturnes
Generally they have a calm feeling. Surprisingly, an Irishman, John Field (1792-1837), is said to have originated the form. Today the Nocturne’s lingering melodies are almost totally abandoned in favor of music that has short rhythmic outbursts. A fairly recent exception is the Harlem Nocturne. The Duke can thank the Irish fellow and Polish fellow for the form title. They have long melodic lines with ornaments. Often they are played with rhythmic freedom. The nocturne was even favored a century early by composers. It was called the notturno. It spelled out nighttime entertainment. The pieces were generally light, short, and meant to be played outdoors. The Moon, of course, was the featured background. Even Haydn wrote a set of notturnos for the king of Naples in 1790.
My Prediction for Nocturnes
Long melodic lines have been on the “outs” for decades. Everything is cyclic. They will return sooner rather than later as an art form. Beautiful is coming back. Take heart. The cycle of beautiful is only about 50 years overdue. Right now I am offering piano lessons in Sarasota. Here is an update: Beginning Dec 20th 2017 I will play 6 days weekly on their new reburbished 1924 Steinway Grand. It has the sweetest sound of any piano on Earth! Thank you master technician Larry Keckler for rebuilidng the piano!
Duke Ellington and his Orchestra’s rendition of the jazz classic,Harlem Nocturne.