Chopin: Scherzo No.3 in C# Minor Op.39 Analysis




Form: Scherzo. C# Minor. 

Chopin Scherzo No.3 in C# Minor Op.39 Analysis

EXPOSITION (Bars 1-242):

Bars 1-24: Introduction, C sharp minor. An agitated theme in chromatically descending sequence.

Bars 25-154: First subject, C sharp minor, modulating to E major (Bars 51-56), F sharp minor (Bars 75-82), B major (Bars 131-143), and A flat major (Bars 144-154).

Bars 155-242: Second subject, D flat major (enharmonic equivalent of C sharp). Slower, like a chorale. Modulates to G flat major (subdominant of D flat) in Bars 173-179. Bars 200-242 are a repeat of Bars 155-159, with the melody in a higher octave.

DEVELOPMENT (Bars 243-366):

Bars 243-286: Free fantasia, with dominant seventh arpeggios in A flat major/minor, then G flat major, returning to D flat major around Bar 276.

Bars 187-319: Second subject theme returns in D flat major, similar to before at first, but extended, modulating to B flat minor in Bar 314.

Bars 320-366: Second subject theme used sequentially, gradually returning to C sharp minor over a dominant pedal in Bars 327-348.

RECAPITULATION (Bars 367-649):

Bars 367-447: First subject, C sharp minor, as before until Bar 433, which moves via sequence to E major/minor.

Bars 448-493: Second Subject, now in E major (modulating to the subdominant in the third phrase as before).

Bars 494-566: Further use of the second subject theme, beginning in E minor, modulating to F sharp minor from Bar 510. An extended form of the theme is heard in C sharp major from Bar 542, with a dominant pedal in the bass.

Bars 567-572: Double octaves, reminiscent of the first subject, C sharp minor.

Bars 572-649: Coda, C sharp minor, with a perfect cadence in Bars 636-637. The final stretto in double octaves is again reminiscent of the first subject. Ends with a tierce de Picardie.