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#3059606 12/21/20 03:34 PM
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I think chords that are notated to be rolled downward are very rare in classical music although they're extremely common in jazz. Can anyone think of some examples from classical piano?

The only one I could think of although isn't notated that way (they're notated as grace notes so they aren't really downward rolled chords) is the statement of the theme in the Brahms Paganini Variations? But I think there must be other examples.

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When the first part of the Bach Goldberg Aria is repeated, it is customary to change the direction of the roll in bar 11:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taXra5Qrg4E
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_TSmgxlXno


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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
The only one I could think of although isn't notated that way (they're notated as grace notes so they aren't really downward rolled chords) is the statement of the theme in the Brahms Paganini Variations? But I think there must be other examples.

The ending chord of L'isle joyeuse, also notated with grace notes.

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I know I've seen downward-rolled chords at least a few times, but the only one I can think of at the moment is from one of my favorite little Kabalevsky preludes - op. 5 no. 2. Which is a piece that also has the distinction of using the top note of the piano.

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I'm playing the Sarabande of Bach's English Suite No. 2, and on the final a minor chord at the end of the second section (and ornamented repeat), I roll the chord downwards. Not sure if most pianists do this, but it was advised by my teacher in an attempt to contrast from the first a minor chord (rolled upwards) in that bar.

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I never learned the symbol for downward rolled chords. I think an alternative is to write out the notes in 32's or 64's and sustain the last note with a dotted quarter maybe.


Townley: Piano Concerto No 2 in C Minor Op 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK1WR7oPY44
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It was possible in baroque music to roll chords upward and then downward when applied in ceryain pieces with long notes like half notes. For example in certain bars of the chromatic fantasia of Bach.

There is a specific sign for it in certain french baroque composers like Couperin. There are plenty of examples in his keyboard music.

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Agree, it is very common in Baroque music and was notated with a slash from the left going down to the right, placed on the top note of the chord (see d'Anglebert's table of ornaments). Here is an example from Rameau's Suite in A minor, the second Allemande. The suites are full of this sign, as well as downward rolls notated fully.

The modern direction is much more explicit- an arpeggio sign with an arrow pointing downward. Here is an example I recently came across in Britten's "a Song of Enchantment".


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