I am wanting to compose a second nocturne. I composed my first one about a year ago and pretty much all the feedback I got was that it should have been written in 3/4 instead of 4/4. I wonder if that is because the bass in my previous nocturne was all triplets until the last few bars. I know one thing that is critical to call a piece a nocturne is that it is evocative of the night. I only know of Chopin's nocturnes. And I know that Chopin uses a simple bass line, quite often uses triplets, and focuses on the melody in most of his works, not just his nocturnes.

So whenever I write a nocturne or think of writing one, Chopin is the composer who comes to mind. I often listen to Chopin's nocturnes before I write one of my own. His nocturnes were my first Chopin pieces to be in my repertoire. But is there anything besides being evocative of the night that I need in order to call my piece a nocturne? I mean, it sounds very freeform, like it could be in any form, even sonata form, and still be considered a nocturne(though a nocturne in sonata form, I think would be very hard to achieve). But is it very freeform like that or are there other things critical besides the feel of the piece for it to be considered a nocturne?

  • A nocturne in sonata form is deceptively easy to achieve. Just take any slow movement that's in sonata form...or take a slow movement that's in sonatina form and stick a small development section in the middle.
    – Dekkadeci
    Commented Feb 14, 2019 at 0:23
  • related - music.stackexchange.com/questions/77388/…
    – Neil Meyer
    Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 10:54

1 Answer 1


Here is a definition from the this link: nocturne. As you can see you have great freedom to compose it your way:

noun Music.

1 a piece appropriate to the night or evening.

2 an instrumental composition of a dreamy or pensive character.

Here follows another definition from the same link:


1 a short, lyrical piece of music, esp one for the piano

2 a painting or tone poem of a night scene

Your Answer

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

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