I am listening to Ballade pour Adeline for piano and specifically to this version on YouTube.

After the quick introductory arpeggio, the main part starts with a dyad of G and E played with the right hand, and the right hand continues to play dyads from there.

I would like to know how to think of those dyads. The Wikipedia article on dyads is very short and did not help much.

Since we are in the key of C Major, I thought that the G E dyad could be the second inversion of the C-major triad (i.e., C/G), with the root (C) omitted. The left hand does play a C initially, before playing other notes as the G E dyad is repeated with the right hand. This interpretation would make sense as the piece also ends with this dyad being played with the right hand, accompanied by a clear C chord with the left hand.

On the other hand, I believe that omitting the root from a triad is not that common, and the dyad sounds much closer to an E to me rather than a C.

So which is it?

PS: I am aware that most other arrangements for piano (e.g., this sheet music on musescore, have the G E dyads starting with solo E notes, but my question still remains.

Also, I found 2 generic questions on how to think about dyads:
How to name two-note chords (dyads)?
How to analyze chords when you only have a dyad?
However, perhaps due to me being somewhat of a beginner at this, I was unable to apply the information to this piece beyond what I wrote above.

  • 2
    When trying to analyze chords on piano, you have to consider both hands.
    – Aaron
    Commented Apr 29 at 20:03
  • @Aaron What if the right hand stays constant while the left hand does arpeggios? The overall chord being played at every point in time changes, right?
    – hb20007
    Commented Apr 29 at 20:07
  • 2
    Not if the arpeggio is that same chord. It would most often be considered according to the lowest or most prominent note within the arpeggio. If the arpeggio outlines some other chord, then, yes, the harmony would change.
    – Aaron
    Commented Apr 29 at 20:10

1 Answer 1


In that piece the dyads in the right hand (such as the sixths in measures 2-10 and the thirds in measures 11) is simply a melodic duet where the lower note is equally important as the upper note. Ballade Pour Adeline will feel very different if the lower notes are dropped, even when the missing notes are supplied in the left hand (so that the chord is complete).

Although sometimes the dyads use notes in the chords, the chord progression (done mostly by the left hand) is quite independent of the dyads. I would analyze them separately. Of course, the composer takes good care of the vertical distribution for a given beat, in that the dyads also contribute to the chord, serving a dual role. Thus, the 1st beat of measure 7, we hear a nice distribution of C in the bass and the other 2 notes high in the register.

When playing the piece, the dyads are the most important notes, so need to be emphasized vertically and horizontally (phrasing).

About the score on MuseScore having only "E" in the beginning of measure 3, I think it's a typo. The version I'm familiar with starts with both E and G, as also heard in this official video played by Richard Clayderman himself! In that arrangement it's even more obvious how separate the chord progression is from the dyads, since it's the backing strings, the acoustic guitar, and the bass guitar that deliver the chords (in addition to the piano) while the dyads are ringing prominently as a melodic phrase.

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