Dark and somber, this prelude is labeled as a chaconne. This was a popular form of composition from the Baroque era. A typical chaconne is built on a harmonic progression and often has a bass line that is used throughout the piece. Vandall closely follows these guidelines in this prelude. The left hand has a pattern of descending fifths in the opening measures, and a clear harmonic progression is immediately established. Throughout the prelude, either these chords, this bass line, or both are used. The ending measures are an exact restatement of the opening material, concluding the prelude with familiar sounds. The opening is reminiscent of the Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven, and broken chords in groups of threes play a large role in this piece. Students should try to maintain a long line all the way through each segment, which are determined by the harmonies. In the middle section, the melody should be brought out so that the cantabile marking can be fully executed.
Caroline Krause, Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates Fellow