Chopin Op. 9 No. 3, measure 27

From Chopin Nocturne Op. 9 No. 3 in B Major.

Is the phrase in red an unmarked 21-tuple? I can’t figure out how it would be correctly read as 32nd notes, so I assume so—just want to make sure.

  • Welcome to Music StackExchange. Please take your time to follow the tour and read How to Ask; also for future reference, try to be more descriptive in the question title by summarizing the problem, not just reporting the piece title/opus. Commented May 26 at 23:35
  • We live in a wonderful moment, in which almost any published music piece is probably easily accessible in many ways. Have you listened to some renditions of that piece by paying special attention to that specific point? If you did, what are your conclusions? If you didn't, then do it! :-) Commented May 26 at 23:39

2 Answers 2


Yes, it's a 21-tuplet, but it need not be played in strict time; it can be treated something like a cadenza, though not quite that freely.

These occur quite frequently in Chopin, and discussion on how to play them can be found in


It's just a 'fit all these in' - plet. Happens a lot in piano music. Don't try to be strictly metronomic, just make sure the underlying 8ths are vaguely the right tempo.

  • I would go as far as saying that Chopin (and others like him) should never be played with a metronome. You have to feel the rhythm and play at the tempo that fits the moment. Save the metronome for the likes of Bach and Mozart. Romantic period pieces require more flexibility if you don't want to sound like a robot playing them. Commented May 27 at 16:30
  • It can be useful to practice Romantic music with the metronome, just to establish a base line for subsequent flexibility. Those L.H notes shouldn't be totally disconnected from the previous pulse of the music.
    – Laurence
    Commented May 27 at 20:10

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