In Chopin's C sharp minor Nocturne (no. 20, op. posth.) measure 15 the forth and last notes of the left hand appear to be B in every music sheet that I can find online:

enter image description here

However, it seems that all the professional piano videos (for example this one at 1:03) of this piece play C sharp instead.

What is going on here?


2 Answers 2


It's possible these pianists are using out-of-date scores that include a mistake, or that some sloppy preparation has assumed a C♯ since so many other measures use it.

The official Chopin Institute uses a B in its publications. And here is Chopin's manuscript:

enter image description here

Oddly, the first apperance of this (second line, m. 4) is unclear whether this is a C♯ or a B; perhaps this is what has led to the confusion?

But when this figure returns (fifth line, m. 5), it's very clearly a B. For this reason, and because it's the version officially approved by the Chopin Institute, I would assume the use of B in both instances.

  • Thanks, how did you find that Chopin institute approved the B version? Can you provide a link?
    – ziv
    Jan 26 at 15:09
  • 2
    @ziv I looked at a score in my institution's library, but if you're outside the US you can find it on IMSLP; it's the second score from the top, it looks like.
    – Richard
    Jan 26 at 15:26

The Henle Urtext edition of the Nocturnes contains two versions of the C# minor, both based on autograph manuscripts, and both of which have B.

The Rousseau recording is incorrect, but here are some more established artists who do play B.

Source material for the Nocturne can be found at Online Chopin Variorum Edition. Note that the piece is not listed with the Nocturnes. Filter by "Works" and look for "Lento con gran espressione".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.