Although music of Rachmaninoff belongs to the epoch that is quite distant from the classical style, the categories of formal function and deformation seem to work well in some segments of his work. It is especially interesting to apply these major analytical methods to the Etudes-Tableaux op. 39. For many reasons, during the late 1910s the style of Rachmaninoff becomes very complex and analysis of these etudes requires application of a number of approaches. The formal functional design of a theme in op.39 presents a heterogeneous set of ideas, ranging from the techniques of ancient Russian chants to some 20th-century strategies. Yet, classical forms remain the core characteristic of Rachmaninoff’s melodicism. Needless to say, classical paradigms experience serious deformations in these poetic canvases, the precursors of the dramatic events of the 20th-century.