Would anyone like to do a contextual analysis on the first 8 bars of Chopin's 4th Ballade? I am just getting into contextual analysis and wondering what other people's interpretations are. And plus, I am getting stuck in a lot of places.

Or does anyone know of any places where I can see what professionals have analyzed? Any published articles or books?
Last edited by Unreal T at Jun 29, 2014,
According to my Theory and Analysis textbook it is a two-level analysis. The top level gives gives roman numerals for each chord. The lower level supplies the contextual analysis-indicating how these harmonies function withing the basic phrase model (T-D-T).

Basically it's purpose is analyze the chords found in the phrases and how they function. So you may find that a phrase is actually composed of a I chord and then proceeds to a V chord as it nears end...a Tonic-Dominant (T-D) phrase.
Last edited by Unreal T at Jun 29, 2014,
Well, this "contextual analysis" thing I am learning about seems pretty interesting. It is pretty amazing if it works well with large scale works...I believe the book claims it does. I am finding out in this book that tonal harmony seems to be pretty structured whether one realizes it or not.
I don't believe it is Schenkerian. I think it is just some basic way of analyzing a tonal piece of music. I was just curious as to what others analyze it as...it would be great if I could find a professional analyzed piece but I don't know where to look.

Basically it is a method that takes all the notes and interprets them as phrases....those phrases/notes are then thought of as belonging to a particular chord...and the chord having a particular function. So the phrase may be 8 bars long...but actually just be a 1-5-1 progression using root position or inversions etc.

I'm certain this type of information can be found in a good college textbook on theory.
Last edited by Unreal T at Jun 29, 2014,
I agree with jazz_rock_feel in the sense that this form analysis seems to share with Schenkerian analysis a sense that the structural or (hesitate to say it) 'hypermetric' order of a piece is can be understood as acting according to a set of basic principles, which for contextial analysis would be those of cadence and predominant->dominant->tonic progression, and for Schenkerian analysis those of -- heavily pared-down -- a descending arpeggiation of a the tonic triad. That said, this sounds kinda cool, even if a bit completely divorced from the listener's sensation and experience of a piece...

p.s. someone feel free to kick my ass if I'm wrong about Schenkerian analysis, because I am not supremely intimate with it.
You might could use some double modals.
Last edited by AETHERA at Jun 29, 2014,
^Other than Schenkerian analysis is about stepwise descent from either the 5th or 3rd scale degree (called the Kopfton) and not arpeggiation, you basically got it. Also, be careful using the word hypermeter because that's an actual thing with its own definition.

Unreal_T, you'll have to post an example of the sort of analysis you're talking about or I can't help you because I've never heard of it. I could attempt to do a Schenkerian analysis of it, but I'm not the greatest at it.
It seems like (in C major) I I7 IV V I in the first 4 bars then I IV V I V I I.

That might be an oversimplification but that seems to be the bare bones of it. I suppose that the first 8 bars might function as a way to make the true beginning of the peice more dramatic. When the Db in the melody comes in it's a suprise after all the C major.
Here is an example. It is in g minor and starts with an anacrusis. This analysis shows an expansion of the tonic harmony using I-V-I motions (" T----------") until it reaches the V chord ...a half cadence.

The top row depicts the chords, and the bottom row explains the functioning of the chord.

Now, applying this to the first 8 bars in Chopin's Ballade is what I was looking for. I am sure though the process will not be as clear cut as examples in my textbook.

And what I have found out from reading my textbook is that harmony seems to be very structured...it does not seem so "magical" as it does before you study how it "works" ...or more precisely "how others have come to explain it". It works though!
Last edited by Unreal T at Jul 4, 2014,