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D flat major

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27324.  Tue Oct 18, 2005 8:48 pm Reply with quote

My latest audiobook is called Letters from the Great Romantics, and is a collection of real historical documents - love letters from people including Voltaire, Rousseau, Napoleon, Byron, Keats and Chopin.

I laughed my socks off at Chopin's letter to his earlier love (before George Sand) when he speaks gravely about how ejaculation (loss of 'the precious fluid') weakens the creative impulse in a man, but goes on about how he longs to plant it in her perfect little D flat major, that black note that nestles between her C and her D.

27332.  Wed Oct 19, 2005 1:57 am Reply with quote

A flat minor, on the other hand, is what you get if you drop a fridge-freezer down a mineshaft.

Whereas (OT alert) pouring boiling water down a rabbit-hole results in hot cross bunnies.

27513.  Thu Oct 20, 2005 5:25 am Reply with quote

A rabbit raced a turtle;
Of course the turtle won.
And left behind him on the track
A little hot cross bun.

27601.  Thu Oct 20, 2005 4:07 pm Reply with quote

I haven't the faintest idea what this thread's about, but it's a little known fact that, whereas 'The Girl from Ipanema' is popularly performed in F major, Gilberto played it in Db.

Thought you'd like to know.

27635.  Fri Oct 21, 2005 1:50 am Reply with quote

Other famous pieces in Db major:

1. Chopin's "Minute" Waltz;

2. Weber'r Invitation to the Dance;

3. er.... that's it.

Well, actually, it isn't, but I don't have time to do the research, and in any case I don't know whether piano concertos by Prokofiev and Khatchaturian count as "famous".

27637.  Fri Oct 21, 2005 3:36 am Reply with quote

Faure and Rachmaninov wrote quite a few pieces or movements from pieces in Db major.

Zaphod Beeblebrox
27684.  Fri Oct 21, 2005 10:04 am Reply with quote

Chopin's Raindrop Prelude is in Db also is it not?

27687.  Fri Oct 21, 2005 10:41 am Reply with quote

And Schubert loved Db major - he uses it quite often in his piano impromptus. He's big on flats - I wonder if he was a brass player...

27693.  Fri Oct 21, 2005 11:18 am Reply with quote

Zaphod Beeblebrox wrote:
Chopin's Raindrop Prelude is in Db also is it not?

Indeed it is, and represents raindrops falling on the roof of a monastery in Mallorca.

Yeah, right. It was finished yonks before Chopin ever went to that most cultured of islands.

Zaphod Beeblebrox
27695.  Fri Oct 21, 2005 11:45 am Reply with quote

Oh, now that's a quite interesting idea. I'd just thought it was meant to represent raindrops, in no place in particular. I wonder who came up with the Mallorcan monastery theory.

27697.  Fri Oct 21, 2005 12:01 pm Reply with quote

The nicknames of musical pieces are the bane of musicologists' lives - some of them were bestowed by the composers themselves, but a great many were made up by publishers and romantically-inclined enthusiasts.

The "Moonlight" sonata by Beethoven was never called that by Ludwig, and Mendelssohn's "Fingal's Cave" is another opportunistic title.

Oh, I could go on.....

27705.  Fri Oct 21, 2005 1:32 pm Reply with quote

The whole matter of nicknames compositions is so fraught that a 217-page book (Popular Titles and Subtitles of Musical Compositions) by Freda Pastor Berkowitz attempts to put the whole thing into some kind of order.

I haven't seen the book, but I suspect it doesn't specify who gave the nicknames and whether the stories surrounding them are true.

There are some really misleading ones - for example Haydn's "Miracle" Symphony (no. 96), the title celebrating the fact that no-one was injured when a chandelier fell during a performance. Trouble is, the event occured during Symphony no. 102.

27789.  Sat Oct 22, 2005 5:53 am Reply with quote


As far as I know, Bach avoided enharmonic duplicates and only wrote in 24 keys, a prelude and fugue in each. He didn't write in Db, Gb or Cb major, or A#, D# or Ab minor.

27807.  Sat Oct 22, 2005 7:50 am Reply with quote

You're right, raindancer - though why he chose C# major with its 7 sharps, rather than Db with its 5 flats, is anybody'r guess.

27818.  Sat Oct 22, 2005 8:18 am Reply with quote

C# major is easy - "everything is sharp". Much easier than "some things are sharp, but not others". :-)


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