While Chopin composed only a few works in variation form, he employed variations and variation technique in the majority of his works. Multiple modified repetitions of musical units on different levels of a work are so typical of Chopin’s works that this may be considered one of the chief determinants of his style. Focusing on a broad range of Chopin’s works, this book explores the extent to which Chopin’s oeuvre is suffused with variations, the role that variation technique plays in his work, to what extent it interacts with other techniques for developing and modifying musical material, and how the variation technique itself evolved. Beginning with a comprehensively documented investigation of the concept of variation in its own right, Zofia Chechlińska employs Riemannian and Schenkerian theory to consider, in turn, the ways in which Chopin constructs variations on the level of microstructure (motif and phrase) and macrostructure (thematic areas, sections, movements and form). This is the first English translation of one of the classics of musicological literature in Poland and is essential reading for scholars of Chopin and nineteenth-century music and music analysts.
Table of Contents
1. The notion of variation
2. The morphology of Chopin’s variations
3. Variations of microstructures
4. Variations of macrostructures
5.The evolution of Chopin’s variation technique
Zofia Chechlińska is Emeritus Professor of Musicology and has worked at the Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw and the Institute of Musicology of the Jagiellonian University, Cracow. Her scholarly interests are focused on Chopin’s works and Polish musical culture of the nineteenth century. Besides a large number of articles, she has published books on variations and variation technique in Chopin (Wariacje i technika wariacyjna w twórczości Chopina, 1995) and on Polish musical culture in the nineteenth century (2013). She has also prepared several volumes of source editions of Henryk Wieniawski’s works. She is currently editor-in-chief of the series Works by Chopin, Facsimile Edition, published by the Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw. She is a member of the FCI’s Programme Committee.