Impromptu in G flat Op. 90 No. 3 - Franz Schubert

Franz Schubert's Impromptu in G-flat Major Op.90 No.3 is a beloved and popular piano solo piece composed by the famous Austrian composer. This masterful work showcases Schubert’s signature melodic lyricism and fluid chromaticism in a large A-B-A structure.

History and Release of the Piece

Schubert’s Impromptu in G flat major is the third of his four impromptus, written in Vienna in December 1827 and published in July 1828. An impromptu by definition is a piece of music that is supposed to have a spontaneous and improvised quality to it. Allegedly, Schubert’s Op. 90 impromptus were composed in a single day, although it is unclear what part of the composition process was improvised.

This short composition has remained popular since its release, being beloved by both audiences and performers. This bright and carefree genre of piece makes for a perfect encore in concerts and is often performed today.

Simplified Analysis of the Composition

The composition is structured in a ternary form, with three sections that are repeated. This work follows a pattern of A-B-A structure, with the first and third section being identical. Schubert’s beautiful melody and harmony, is done using a G-flat major tonality and it is held up by the light accompaniment of newly introduced notes, which helps keep the pianist focused. The first section presents takes an odd 4/4 time signature, with a melody that embellishes the tonic G-flat note with the help of chordal harmony. The second part, the B section, features a chromatic decrease in the intensity accompanied by a shift in tonality to C minor, that then resolved twice back to the tonic.

Why Is This Piece So Popular?

Schubert successfully manipulates the tonality which results to a bigger arch of the structure. The constant alternation between tonalities and dynamic intensities keeps the piece interesting throughout its entirety. The fact that it transitions between major and minor chords, continuously changes the listener's perspective and creates a feeling of eternal evolvement. Schubert’s ability to create beautiful aural imagery in such a short period time is one of the main reasons for why this piece is so popular today.

Franz Schubert's Impromptu in G-flat Major Op.90 No.3 has remained a beloved favorite among classical music lovers since its release. Its wistful yet joyous melody and beautiful modulation makes for a compelling and heartwarming listening experience for the audience. This timeless gem of the Viennese repertoire is a must for any piano performance.

Publication date: 19. 02. 2023