Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing

Haiku Wednesday: Chopin’s “Raindrop”

2 Comments

Raindrops on window

Raindrops on windows
Race each other like children,
Streaming down the glass.

The rainfall sounds like
Running feet.  Why are you in
Such a great hurry?

Even the streams rush,
Carrying hapless leaves that
Carelessly fell in.

They all find their way
To the sea by diff’rent paths
To be rain again.

And notes like raindrops
Fall again and again in
Patterns clearly heard.

Beautiful music
Weaves around these notes making
Streams of melodies,

Beginning in one
Form, changing, then returning
To where they began.

Slow down; refocus,
And you will hear and see things
As never before.

A rainy day made me think of Chopin’s “Raindrop” Prelude (Op. 28, No. 15).  It is one in a set of 24 preludes, one in each major and minor key.

Chopin did not give it the name “Raindrop”—in fact he was adamant that the music was not intended to be an imitation of any natural sound.  The suggestion came from an account by George Sand from the time when Chopin was writing the preludes.  She and her son were caught out in a rainstorm, and they returned to a distraught Chopin, who thought they were dead.  He said he had a dream, a nightmare, while playing the piano, that he had drowned, and heavy, icy drops of water were falling on his chest.  From this, he composed a prelude, presumed to be this one.1

In my post about Bach’s Magnificat I pointed out how Bach had used repeated notes.  You will hear Chopin use them here too.  It is these repeated notes that people associate with raindrops.  But it is important to hear how Chopin’s melodies weave in and around these repeated notes.  From the gentle beginning through the turbulent middle section, a storm if you will, to the return to a gentle conclusion, the repeated notes persist, even though there are the great changes in the music around them.  The result is pure genius.  I would suggest that you listen to the piece more than once; each time you listen, you will hear something new.

I hope you will enjoy Chopin’s Prelude No. 15, performed by Yundi Li.

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prelude,_Op._28,_No._15_(Chopin)
  2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/music/western_tradition/chopin1.shtml

For sheet music of the full set of preludes see http://imslp.org/wiki/Preludes,_Op.28_(Chopin,_Fr%C3%A9d%C3%A9ric) . For the “Raindrop” Prelude by itself, see http://www.mutopiaproject.org/ftp/ChopinFF/O28/Chop-28-15/Chop-28-15-let.pdf

____

Image attribution: Raindrops on a window by Frank Vincentz (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons.  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ARain_drops_on_window_01_ies.jpg

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2 thoughts on “Haiku Wednesday: Chopin’s “Raindrop”

  1. “I hear the drizzle of the rain, Like a memory it falls.”

    Paul Simon

    On Nov 30, 2016 2:43 PM, “Catapulting into Classical” wrote:

    > Chris Gallant posted: ” Raindrops on windows Race each other like > children, Streaming down the glass. The rainfall sounds like Running feet. > Why are you in Such a great hurry? Even the streams rush, Carrying hapless > leaves that Carelessly fell in. They all find their way T” >

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Beautiful comparison between streams of raindrops, flowing streams, and streams of music. Love your imagery. Great Poem
    Dwight

    Liked by 1 person

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