If we consider the Chopin etude opus 25 number 12,

At measures 7 and 8, the accent is on the right hand -- C, then Bb, A, G, G, F, F -- they are not at a multiple of 4 notes because it first appears at the note number 6 (C of right hand).

How to manage the fact that the "accent" is not at the position of the pulse, thus at high speed, there is a tendency to desynchronize with the metronome tempo.

Should we desynchronize, which is "easy", even at high speed, or should we respect exactly the synchronisation (which is almost "impossible" at high speed)?

Chopin Etude Op. 25 No. 2, mm. 7-8

1 Answer 1


The typical way this passage is handled is to keep it rhythmically as written -- that is, the emphasis is not on the beat -- but also to slow down (i.e., add rubato), which allows for a compromise between being strictly metronomic and not. A very slight "breath" before beginning the next phrase allows for a catch-up moment with the metronome.

Grigory Sokolov gives a good demonstration of this.

And the same thing can be heard in recordings by Valentina Lisitsa, Maurizio Pollini, and Vladimir Horowitz.

In each of the recordings, there is a perception that the off-beat accented notes are placed on the beat (become desynchronized), but this is justified as rubato.


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