Chopin Waltz Op 64 nr 2 in C# minor … an analysis

The Waltz begins with a pickup to the tonic (I) of ‘C-sharp’ minor, the key of the Sub-Mediant (VI).[1]  Note that harmonic functions (I, II, V), etc. are placed below the bass clef, and harmonic identities (M, m, x), etc. between the clefs.[2]  

The super-tonic below (II) is an altered dominant (x) with ‘F-dbl-sharp’ as the major 3rd, and ‘A-sharp’) the normal (perfect) 5th. The dominant (V) in the third measure is also an altered dominant (x), with ‘B-sharp’ as the major 3rd of the chord, and ‘F-sharp’ the minor 7th. The first two beats of measure 4 are a carry-over from the previous measure in the treble, however they function differently, with the two beats in measure 3 functioning as root and 7th of the dominant (x). The same two beats in the treble in measure 4 now function as a 9/11/13 of the minor tonic (Im).  It must be heard this way. Play all the notes together on the first and second beats in measure 4 and you will understand what Chopin has written.  Note that the 3rd, ‘E’ is missing until the third beat.[3]  

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Measure 5 begins the phrase on the sub-mediant (VI). Measure 6 changes chords but keeps the ‘E’ in the bass as a ‘pedal’. In any case, the chord is a ‘G-sharp’ dominant chord without its root, ‘G-sharp’. ‘B-sharp’ is the major 3rd, and ‘F-sharp’ is the minor 7th, the two characteristic intervals of the dominant (x).  ‘A’ is the minor 9th.

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[1] Refer to the Conventions for specifics on how the Waltz is analyzed.

[2] The issue of harmonic function and identity must be the first effort, including locating roots. See ‘Learning to Analyze’.

[3] Theorists will argue that the D# and the F#, the 9th and 11th respectively are ‘non-harmonic suspension notes that resolve on the 3rd bar.  There are two problems with this analysis: 1. There is no such thing as ‘non-harmonic’ notes, as all notes contribute to the harmony. 2  The sound of the chord on the first two beats is totally dismissed.

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