In Chopin's C sharp minor Nocturne (no. 20, op. posth.) measure 15 the fourth 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It's possible these pianists are using out-of-date scores that include a mistake, or that some sloppy preparation has assumed a C♯ since so many other measures use it.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, 2023 at 15:09
  • 3
    @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, 2023 at 15:26
  • When you zoom in on measure 4 of second line, you will see that it is a B with a small mark next to it.
    – Vighnesh
    Jan 28 at 9:17
  • This doesn’t seem like Chopin’s manuscript. It’s more likely a copy made by someone else. His writing is different in comparison to the one in the picture. Here is an original manuscript in the pic;![enter image description here](i.stack.imgur.com/2YgQX.jpg)
    – Anton
    Feb 29 at 16:09
  • The handwriting doesn't look terribly different to me, especially considering that the image here is clearly a working copy while the one in the question appears to be a fair copy.
    – phoog
    Feb 29 at 17:22

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".

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