Chinese pianist Lang Lang plays Frédéric Chopin’s Prelude Op. 28, No. 15, known as the “Raindrop” prelude, one of the 24 Chopin preludes, and it stands out as one of his most renowned works.

Lang Lang plays Frédéric Chopin’s Prelude Op. 28, No. 15, known as the “Raindrop” prelude, one of the 24 Chopin preludes.

Frédéric Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude

Frédéric Chopin’s “Raindrop Prelude,” officially known as Prelude Op. 28, No. 15, is one of the most famous pieces from his set of 24 preludes, one for each major and minor key. This piece, composed around 1838-1839, stands out for its repeating A♭ note, which pervades the entire composition and mimics the sound of raindrops, hence its nickname.

Chopin took inspiration for the piece following a waking dream at the keyboard at a monastery in Majorca. According to the French novelist, memoirist, and journalist George Sand (1804-1876), who interrupted the composer’s reverie when she returned to the monastery during a rainstorm, the composer saw himself drowned in a lake, while heavy drops of water fell in a regular rhythm on his chest.

The piece contrasts two main themes: the first is a serene and lyrical melody in D♭ major, characterized by the “raindrop” note, creating a gentle, flowing rhythm that evokes a sense of calmness, like a steady rainfall. This tranquility is interrupted by a stormy and dramatic middle section in C♯ minor, where the music becomes turbulent and agitated, reflecting a more intense, perhaps even foreboding, downpour.

Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude is often interpreted as an expression of his deep emotions and possibly his preoccupation with death – a theme recurrent in his works due to his fragile health. Some speculate that this piece was inspired by the weather at a monastery in Mallorca, where Chopin spent a winter with George Sand, although this connection remains more anecdotal than factual.

The composition’s structure and harmonic complexity are noteworthy. Chopin uses the repeating A♭ (which becomes G♯ in the middle section) as a pedal point, a sustained note under changing harmonies, which creates a mesmerizing effect. This technique, along with the shifts between major and minor modes, demonstrates Chopin’s innovative approach to harmony and his ability to convey profound emotional narratives through music.

Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude is celebrated for its emotional depth, innovative use of musical motifs (like the “raindrop” note), and its juxtaposition of tranquility and turmoil, making it a quintessential example of Romantic piano music.


  • Prelude, Op. 28, No. 15 “Raindrop” (Chopin) on Wikipedia
M. Özgür Nevres

Published by M. Özgür Nevres

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