Variations on the name "Abegg"

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Opening measures

The Variations on the name "Abegg" in F major is a piece (theme with variations) for piano by Robert Schumann, composed between 1829 and 1830 and published as his Opus 1. The name is believed to refer to Schumann's fictitious friend, Meta Abegg, whose surname Schumann used through a musical cryptogram as the motivic basis for the piece. The name Meta is considered to be an anagram of the word "tema" (Latin). Another suggestion is Pauline von Abegg. Apparently, when he was twenty years old, Schumann met her and dedicated this work to her, as witnessed in Clara Schumann's edition of her husband's piano works.

The first five notes of the theme are A-B-E-G-G (the B in German usage, corresponding to the English B-flat). This use of pitch names as letters was also used by Schumann in other compositions, such as his Carnaval.

It is composed of:

Thema (Animato)
3 Variations
Cantabile
Finale alla Fantasia (Vivace)

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