Frédéric Chopin’s Prelude In D♭ Major Op. 28 No. 15 is also known as The Raindrop Prelude. This piece is referred to as The Raindrop Prelude because of the persistent repeated notes which sound like rain falling. The name Raindrop Prelude comes from Chopin’s lover, the French novelist Amantine Dupin, best known by her pseudonym George Sand. This is one of Chopin’s most famous pieces which highlights why he was considered to be one of the very best composers of Romantic music. Chopin used the piano as his own voice. In his time, Chopin wrote 24 preludes which consisted of 12 major preludes and 12 minor preludes. In music, the prelude is often a introductory piece but not in this case as this composition is free-standing and self-contained.
Like many preludes in the Romantic period, this piece’s song structure has characteristics of a ternary structure. In music, the ternary structure consists of three sections, ABA. The first section A can be the same as the other section A or it can be similar. Section B on the other hand contrasts from both sections A. The prelude has 4/4 time signature which can be often marked as “C” to stand for common time. 4/4 means four crotchet beats per bar. In the introduction you are able to understand why this piece is called The Raindrop Prelude, it’s because in the opening bars there are the repeated A♭quavers acting as a pedal throughout the song. The term pedal means that the A♭quavers are complementing changing harmonies. A♭is the dominant of D♭major so therefore it makes it a dominant pedal. Section A highlights how effortlessly Chopin composed his music as well as being able to play it with all the soul in the world.
Section A ends with an imperfect cadence which means that the section sounds unfinished. They sound as though they want to carry on to complete the music properly. Section A ends on the dominant chord, A♭. The key signature now changes in section B from D♭major to C # minor. With the change in key the prelude is a lot more dramatic and darker. Section B provides a lovely contrast from A. The second section A now returns back to D♭major. This section is much shorter than the opening A section. The prelude ends very quietly with a perfect cadence. A perfect cadence uses chord V (the dominant, in this case A♭) followed by chord I (the tonic, in this case D♭). Perfect cadences sound final which are normally used at the end of compositions. The way the repeated A♭quavers act as raindrops are phenomenal because Chopin actually does place the listener in a location where it’s raining.
The Raindrop Prelude highlights why Frédéric Chopin was often referred to as the poet of the piano. Even though the prelude may not be an introductory piece, it definitely is six minutes of bliss where Chopin mimics the effect of rain falling even though he despised the name of the prelude being called Raindrop. Chopin provides the listener with gentle piano playing as well as thundering crescendos. This piece highlights why Chopin’s music still lives on 200 years later because his archive of compositions were so beautifully written that it makes you wonder why modern society isn’t living up to the standard of Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Mozart or Beethoven? Every single piece of Frédéric Chopin’s work leaves you weak at the knees.