In Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 2 (1st movement) Tempo I - Bar 86 -

Red box shows a D.

Green box shows a D.

Blue box shows a D flat.

My question is that what is the logic / why the Green box is not a D flat?

especially that the notes in Green box and Blue box would resonate in the last quarter note beat?

why D not D flat? enter image description here enter image description here

1 Answer 1


The second half of the bar is a half-step-lower transposition of the first half. Note each voice:

Soprano: C - D  , Cb - Db
Alto:    G - F# , Gb - F
Tenor:   Eb     , D
Bass:    Bb-A-Eb, A-Ab-(Cb)

The Green Box — Blue Box resonance (an enharmonic major seventh) is parallel to the Eb – Red Box resonance (a major seventh).

The horizontal correspondence can also be represented vertically.

    1  / 3   |  &  / &   |  2  / 4   |  &    / &
             |           |           |
S:  C  / Cb  |           |  D  / Db  |
A:  G  / Gb  |  F# / F   |           |
T:  Eb / D   |           |           |
B:  Bb / A   |  A  / Ab  |           |  (Eb) / (Cb)

The underlying chord progression is open to interpretation, but it can be convincingly heard as

Ao7 Abo7 Eb/G

  • many thanks for the quick answer! +1. So the answer is based on the melody (horizontal note progress). Can we also see from the chord (vertical notes)?
    – wonderich
    Apr 25, 2023 at 3:26
  • @wonderich I've added a vertical representation. Please let me know whether or not that's what you're looking for.
    – Aaron
    Apr 25, 2023 at 4:46
  • "a half-step-lower transposition of the first half: with some freedom with respect to enharmonic spelling. Strictly, a half-step-lower transposition of D against E flat should be C sharp against D or D flat against E double-flat. I'm sure Rachmaninoff had a good reason for doing this instead; without engaging in any serious analysis I would guess that he avoided the C sharp spelling because it's confusing to have lots of sharps for half a bar in a flat-side key, and he avoided the double flat because, well, double flats are also confusing. The interesting result is that the left hand...
    – phoog
    Apr 25, 2023 at 10:01
  • ...repeats the half measure a minor second lower while the right hand repeats it an augmented unison lower.
    – phoog
    Apr 25, 2023 at 10:03

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