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#2284064 - 06/01/14 08:39 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Offline
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As a group discussion this is not working. When this side topic first happened, Greener offered to give a link to the music, which you said was not necessary - not all of us have the music. I'd have to scroll back umpteen pages to find out which piece "the Beethoven-Liszt" is.

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#2284066 - 06/01/14 08:44 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
Polyphonist Offline
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Actually, not umpteen; just two. It is the 5th Symphony transcription, third movement. Scores can be found online by searching on "Beethoven-Liszt Symphony 5" or the like.
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#2284067 - 06/01/14 08:47 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Offline
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Thank you.

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#2284108 - 06/01/14 11:57 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
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Originally Posted By: keystring
As a group discussion this is not working.
I don't think this one's meant to be a group discussion. It's Poly doing what he complained about our doing earlier in the thread and taking the discussion off on a tangent. smile

If you're not in on the Beethoven 5th I'd just ignore it.

We did have a convention of prefixing posts with the piece under discussion. It might be worth resuming if we're going to have multiple topics concurrently but at the present time there's no other pieces under discussion - unless you're still working on the Moonlight/voices thingy or the Godowsky/Schubert thingy or consider the 'where do we go from here' thingy a topic. smile
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#2284109 - 06/01/14 11:58 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
Polyphonist Offline
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Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Originally Posted By: keystring
As a group discussion this is not working.
I don't think this one's meant to be a group discussion. It's Poly doing what he complained about our doing earlier in the thread and taking the discussion off on a tangent. smile

First of all, you might notice I was not the one who initiated this discussion. Second of all, it's impossible to go off on a tangent if there isn't a main topic to take a tangent from.
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#2284112 - 06/01/14 12:04 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
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Schubert/Godowsky thingy - possibly

So you're not doing the Schubert/Godowsky thingy?

smile

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#2284113 - 06/01/14 12:05 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
Polyphonist Offline
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I was under the impression that that discussion was over, or at least inactive, at this point.
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#2284114 - 06/01/14 12:13 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
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I was under the impression you were still doing the Moonlight thingy and the Schubert/Godowsky thingy. I know from the past you take a long while to respond to posts with too many questions in 'em. wink
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#2284156 - 06/01/14 02:09 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Offline
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Originally Posted By: zrtf90

We did have a convention of prefixing posts with the piece under discussion.

Yes, please, let's everyone do that.

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#2287433 - 06/08/14 05:47 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Polyphonist when you analyze a piece -- for whatever meaning of analyze you choose -- how do you start? What kinds of things do you look at?

First I make sure I'm aware of the structure of the piece, and what all the primary and secondary themes are, and where they (or variations on them) appear in the work, and go through and identify all the chords. That takes a few minutes. Then I will look at voice leading, depending on what type of analysis I'm doing, how deep I'm going, and what the piece is. Usually, after that, if I'm looking at a score I'm going to be learning, I identify what I believe to be the character of each section, without trying too hard (yet) to get to the true essence of it, where the character is changing, and what I want to do with dynamics, articulation, and phrasing to demonstrate that to the listener. And all this is just scratching the surface of true analysis.

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
OK. It will take us more than a few minutes to do just the first part, which is fine, but just to alert you that I doubt we'll just zip through that part.

What other types of things would there be as you get deeper into true analysis? What is true analysis?
This is an interesting and unanswered question I'd like to look at over the summer. We were discussing the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata but I'm happy to investigate other areas with this.

Anyone else interested?
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#2287663 - 06/09/14 10:58 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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I might be interested in playing with the Moonlight Sonata, first movement, again. Or some other music, if people prefer. But Moonlight is a nice idea, because I've made a start on playing it, and on becoming familiar with its sound, from our previous work with it. So each time around with it I hope to find a way to go deeper.

I'm not sure how my new very aural-focused attempts to explore music will interact with what you might be interested in, Richard, but I will try to find a way to make my idiosyncratic interests and methods be something that can contribute constructively to the thread, and also find a way to be willing to learn from others who may take very different approaches.

My most recent idea is to do a lot more focus on sound, and on linearly what's happening, rather than on naming chords. This may not be the be-all and end-all stage of how I will come to understand music, but I think I've hit the limit for now on what knowing chord names can tell me, and I think sound and voice leading are a fruitful place for me to spend time exploring at this time. To say nothing of much more global ideas like larger-scale flows of expression within the music.
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#2287669 - 06/09/14 11:31 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
Greener Offline

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Registered: 05/29/12
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Yes, also interested.

I'm not sure how much I'll be able to contribute, or what to expect exactly, but interested to find out. I'll be following, as always, and contributing as I'm able.

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#2288207 - 06/10/14 05:48 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
First I make sure I'm aware of the structure of the piece, and what all the primary and secondary themes are, and where they (or variations on them) appear in the work, and go through and identify all the chords. That takes a few minutes.


On our first look at this (is it really two years ago?) we broke it down more or less to:

M1-4 Introduction
M5-8 first theme
M9-14 first theme again
M15-22 second theme
M23-28 first theme
M28-42 dominant preparation passage
M42-51 theme 1 recap
M51-55 theme 2 recap
M55-59 descent to coda
M60-69 coda

I'm not going to 'blithely toss in the keys' this time. We established the keys the first time through and we can either do them ourselves again or refer back to the original thread. I figure this'll do for the structure and themes. We've done the chords and keys and Poly listed the cadences, yes?

As this takes him a few minutes I presume he would not at this point be looking at the seeds of the themes that might occur across movements or that might unite thematic material throughout the one movement as, for example, the first eight measures contain all the main themes of Chopin's G minor Ballad. We also covered the idea of unity earlier on in the first Clementi sonatina. An idea that wasn't universally popular, as I recall. However...

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Then I will look at voice leading, depending on what type of analysis I'm doing, how deep I'm going, and what the piece is.
Voice leading isn't something I usually do nor have done much as part of my analyses. Last time here we went into the inner voices of a Chopin Nocturne (also Op. 27/2) and I don't know where that went or what the point of it was. Anyone want to take this further?

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Usually, after that, if I'm looking at a score I'm going to be learning, I identify what I believe to be the character of each section, without trying too hard (yet) to get to the true essence of it, where the character is changing, and what I want to do with dynamics, articulation, and phrasing to demonstrate that to the listener. And all this is just scratching the surface of true analysis.
Now this is where it gets interesting for me.

Interpretation is by definition a personal thing. What we can do here is compare ideas and see what things we might think of that others might not have. Where are the climaxes, of the pieces as well as of each individual phrase. Working on individual phrases is where I'd look for things like inner voices and then proceed to find them elsewhere in the work.

It seems to me that this is where 'true analysis', whatever it is, might begin and things be found that broaden and deepen our understanding of the piece and enhance our performance, even if only potentially.

My own idea is that analysis is the reverse of composition, breaking a piece down into its elements of rhythm, texture, articulation and dynamics, infusing them with some imagination and building them back up in shaping the phrases to bring out what Poly calls the character.

So, we could revisit the chords and keys, look at the voice leading in the introduction or get stuck into the first theme. Any other ideas?
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#2288669 - 06/11/14 08:07 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
Greener Offline

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Registered: 05/29/12
Posts: 1180
Loc: Toronto
Originally Posted By: zrtf90

...
On our first look at this (is it really two years ago?) we broke it down more or less to:

M1-4 Introduction
M5-8 first theme
M9-14 first theme again
M15-22 second theme
M23-28 first theme
M28-42 dominant preparation passage
M42-51 theme 1 recap
M51-55 theme 2 recap
M55-59 descent to coda
M60-69 coda

...


Did we really do all that? I mostly remember it as intense chord study. A crash course in following a standardized approach to naming chords. Yes, I believe it will be 2 years in August we started. It feels like it could have been a few months ago smile.

Originally Posted By: zrtf90

Interpretation is by definition a personal thing. What we can do here is compare ideas.
...
It seems to me that this is where 'true analysis', whatever it is, might begin and things be found that broaden and deepen our understanding of the piece and enhance our performance, even if only potentially.

Originally Posted By: zrtf90

So, we could revisit the chords and keys, look at the voice leading in the introduction ...

We are still speaking of the Moonlight, yes? If so, that would work out fairly great. It would give me reason to restore my interpretation of this work properly, once and for all while being discussed here as well. I mostly remember the chord analysis we did back then, which was very great and a lot of fun. It has been the beginnings of many great threads since.

Change of course has happened from 2 years ago and I have a considerably diminished capacity to contribute often as I did then. My interest however has not diminished. If other works are discussed ... swell as well. Will follow with what ever direction is preferred.



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#2288854 - 06/12/14 10:35 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3171
Loc: Maine
Moonlight Sonata, first movement

I'm returning to our convention of labelling each post with the piece under discussion.

I am not sure this represents a plan, but I'm here to report on what I've done so far. Maybe it will give other people ideas of ways to explore a piece.

Preliminaries

I couldn't find the score I was using before, which is set to make the Moonlight Sonata first movement 5 pages. So I'm using a different book, which sets the first movement as 3 pages. Seeing it more compactly actually lets me understand its structure better.

I spent last night playing through it in various ways, slowly. If I were coming to it as a brand-new piece I wouldn't have been able to do that; I would have been playing even more slowly hands separate and working out fingerings. I still need to make myself stop and work on it section by section; I can more or less get through it slowly, but to achieve fluency and something more like the tempo I'd like to hear it at (not fast, but flowing), I need to do serious practice of breaking it into small parts etc.

Incidentally, because I normally don't memorize and do read music reasonably well, I'm playing it from the score; the fact that I don't have it memorized doesn't stop me from playing it through in various ways.

Listening

So what I actually did in my play-throughs was a variety of things (approximately in this order):

* just play through as is

* play just the melody, plus the bass part

* play just the bass part

* play the bass part and triplets, but as blocked chords

* explore some of the triplets, discovering in some places that in a harmonic analysis what's going on is a suspension or anticipation, rather than some random chord stuck in (later I'll point some of these out with measure numbers)

I keep meaning to play just small sections and investigate them, but the sound of the piece is so hypnotic that I find it hard to stop.

Some things I heard:

Very clear cadences in certain places. Repeated motifs in the melody. Some places where the melody exactly repeats (perhaps at a different pitch), other places where the melody is evocative of a previous appearance but not exactly the same.

I started thinking about ideas for how to voice this. In the beginning, before the melody starts, I've always thought of bringing the RH triplets out. But this time it occurred to me to subdue the triplets, and bring out the LH bass part. Then when the melody starts, I think the balance is probably more or less melody, bass part, triplets (from loudest to softest), but that still leaves room for various ideas of how much to bring out or to subdue the bass part.

In the middle section, I started to have glimmerings of ideas of how to shape the phrases, but nothing is firm right now. The important part is to start to hear possibilities. One thing I notice with really good pianists is that their dynamics are in constant subtle variation. The main theme I haven't yet started to hear dynamic ideas for, but I might practice it just experimenting with emphasising different shapes (a trick I learned from my voice lessons), and that will start to give me ideas.

I didn't try to name the chords specifically, but at key points I did look to name them, looking at just the bass and triplets, ignoring the melody. At the strongly sounding cadence points, I was tickled to frequently find a i64 V7 i cadence.

Some things to do next

I want to write out the melody, one phrase per line of music paper, so that I can visually look at and compare the motifs and how they are reused and how they are varied. Then I can see which phrases to compare in their sound, and compare the sounds by playing them in succession, back and forth from one to the other. I want to see if then I can start to hear if there's a similar harmony for a similar appearance of a melody fragment (transposed, but same functional chord progression) vs. when surprising things happen in the harmony.

I want to go through the piece with blocked chords, listening carefully to the progressions and identifying what sounds 'just normal', what sounds 'ending a phrase', and what sounds 'surprising'.

For the 'ending a phrase' ones, I'll look at the chords and expect to see a standard cadential pattern (such as i64 V7 i).

For the 'surprising' ones, I want to look at the notes linearly, the voice leading, and the accidentals, and see if that suggests why it sounds surprising. Eventually I'll name the chords and examine whether by music theory terms these are things one expects to sound 'surprising' or not, but I want to experiment with what I hear rather than deducing effects based on the names of chords.

Eventually also I'll identify all the chords (again, I know we/I've done this before), and see if music theory suggests other places which might sound surprising, and compare that to my own hearing of the piece to see if I agree with music theory or not. (No value judgement here either way, just observing what my ear knowledge has to say in conversation with my head knowledge.) But this is the least of my concerns, because of wanting to focus more on hearing than paper.

As part of starting to practice the piece carefully in sections, I will name the chords as an early step in the middle section, where the RH climbs in broken arpeggio triplets, because that will help me to learn what the notes are that my fingers have to find, and it will also help me to understand the transformations that are happening measure to measure.

Actually, come to think of it, first I'll just block those RH chords in the middle section (for their constituent pitch classes; obviously I can't block the whole measure) and look at and listen to each blocked measure in succession. Again, bringing in as many senses as possible before just clobbering the measure with a music theory chord letter name. There are several diminished chords through that section, IIRC, and one thing I want to see is if all three of the fundamentally distinct dim7 chords are represented, or if one is left out, and also which order they come in, and if there's any meaning to the order the blocked chords appear (thinking vertically) or the order in which the notes are changed from measure to measure (thinking horizontally).
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#2288856 - 06/12/14 10:43 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: PianoStudent88]
Polyphonist Offline
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Here's the problem I see with all this. Music theory is being seen as distinct from "music," and you're looking to see if the theory "agrees" with what you hear.

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
clobbering the measure with a music theory chord letter name.

The chord letter name is not distinct from the music. It's a way of classifying what's going on in the music. If you have a B#dim7 chord, it will sound the same every time, and the same label can be applied to it. Why would you try to AVOID understanding the music in this way?
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#2288872 - 06/12/14 11:06 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Polyphonist, you have your way of hearing and understanding music, and I have mine.

You have what you already know how to do, hear, and understand. I am working on developing my relationship with music, in a way that works for me.

Regarding labels: I can label, for example, a B#dim7 chord easily, and see that it goes to a C#m chord, and murmur all the appropriate things about typical chord progressions. But if I can't *hear* something in the progression, then the letter names are useless to me, because they give me head knowledge in that case, but no musical knowledge. And if I start with the letter names, they will distract me from focusing on what I need to focus on, which is listening. That may not be how it works for you, but it's how it works for me.
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#2288873 - 06/12/14 11:15 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
I want to experiment with what I hear rather than deducing effects based on the names of chords.

Perhaps that sentence summarizes best what I'm doing. Perhaps for you a chord name evokes a sound. For me, it does not. And I'm not interested in working on reductive tasks of trying to associate a sound with a chord name before I start to listen to music. That may not be the order you would do things in, but it's what I have found as something to try, because I've spent a lot of time failing at the reductive tasks, and I think there are other ways to listen to and understand music, and that's what I'm exploring.
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#2288884 - 06/12/14 11:46 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
Polyphonist Offline
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I don't get it. At all.
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#2288886 - 06/12/14 11:48 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3171
Loc: Maine
I know you don't. That's OK.
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Ebaug(maj7)

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#2289154 - 06/13/14 12:42 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: Polyphonist]
hreichgott Online   content
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Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 969
Loc: western MA, USA
Moonlight Sonata, study methods, and odd individual ways of understanding music
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
clobbering the measure with a music theory chord letter name.

The chord letter name is not distinct from the music. It's a way of classifying what's going on in the music.

I take exception to the word 'clobber' but otherwise I think you guys are both right. Maybe two analogies will help. One is to chocolate and the other is to my own odd ways of hearing harmony.

Chocolate is a brown substance that tastes delicious. It has a name, 'chocolate.' Experiencing the taste is not the same thing as knowing and saying the name. It sure helps to know the name especially if preceded by such useful words as "Pardon me, have you got any". Those of us who deal with chocolate frequently probably can't see the word without thinking of the taste and vice versa. But they are different things and I don't see the harm in wanting to experience one primarily, rather than the other, especially if one is challenging oneself toward new experiences. And at the end of the day, the word 'chocolate' just isn't delicious.

My experience of music has always been full of physical associations. Regarding harmony, major chords are flat surfaces, minor chords are soft and rounded, diminished chords are jagged, I64 is a downward bounce like on a diving board or trampoline, V7 is tense like a rubber band about to break, a sharped note hops and a flatted note limps, modulation to the Neapolitan is something like a sudden breeze or bursting out of water into air, and modulation to the Neapolitan of the dominant is being somewhere cold and full of stars. I do not know exactly how I collected these associations but it was certainly long before I knew the word Neapolitan. But they are much more immediate and visceral to me than the proper names when I hear and make music. Only recently my teacher was telling me how often Chopin modulates to the Neapolitan of the dominant, and I went home humming various Chopin pieces to myself and then said, oh right, she's talking about all the cold stars moments.

I find theory names very useful because they enable me to talk to people about music without having them inside my wacky individual pre-verbal aural/physical imagination. No one would have a clue what I was talking about if I said "the place in measure 35 where your stomach goes down and to the right" so I'm happy to have a normal way to refer to these things. Among other things the names help me to mentally hear if I'm looking at a score for something I haven't heard and don't have a piano at hand. But I totally get that there are ways of experiencing music in a specific and observant manner without the names.
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Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Sounding the depths of small pieces: Beethoven Op. 33
Daily attempts at 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 4, Pischna
Totally loving Fauré/Barcarolles and Ravel/Tombeau de Couperin
I love Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

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#2289354 - 06/13/14 02:10 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: PianoStudent88]
hreichgott Online   content
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Moonlight Sonata mvt. 1 - response to PianoStudent88
To get back to PS88's comments: to me this sounds like a great way to work through studying the movement. You are paying attention to phrasing, structure, form and harmony. And you do have a place for correlating chord names and other information with what you're hearing, you're just choosing not to do that right away.

I agree with you about voicing melody first, then bass line, then triplets softest of all. I think the only variable you haven't considered there is tempo. If played at the super-slow tempo that was the fashion for a long time, you do have to do something melodically with the triplets because nothing much else is going on for long stretches. If you use a more contemporary (which is to say, also more historically informed) tempo and take Beethoven seriously about playing it in cut time, then the bass line is more interesting, the melody notes are easier to connect into phrases because they don't decay as fast, and the triplets can just be a little rippling emphasis.


Edited by hreichgott (06/13/14 02:11 PM)
_________________________
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Sounding the depths of small pieces: Beethoven Op. 33
Daily attempts at 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 4, Pischna
Totally loving Fauré/Barcarolles and Ravel/Tombeau de Couperin
I love Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

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#2289405 - 06/13/14 05:26 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3171
Loc: Maine
Moonlight Sonata, movement 1

Heather, thanks for the ideas about the tempo and the different interpretations because of different decay.

I had always, lazily, thought of this as being in 4/4, and just yesterday when I was copying out the melody phrases I realized that it's in 2/2 (because I looked closely at the time signature as part of my copying), so now I'm trying to think the melody in 2. One aspect of this (though not the only one) is that the dotted-eighth/sixteenth pattern is just a morsel of a beat, instead of a whole beat, which leads me to think about it differently.

I only mention the melody in 2 so far, because I've just been focusing on the melody for the past day. It will be interesting when I get to the triplets because they'll become 6's per beat rather than 3's per beat (if you see what I mean).
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#2289416 - 06/13/14 06:27 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
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Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Moonlight Sonata, first movement
I believe we covered the tempo last time out and the cut time so it goes to show how endemic the slowness has been in our recent history. Of course, the triplets will slow it down while it's being learned and read but once the melody is brought out on it's own and hummed at much the same tempo as the melody in the Funeral March of the previous opus things begin to change. It's the melody that's adagio, not the triplets.

If we're still talking about the movement in general terms, as opposed to looking in detail at any of its passages, it's interesting to note that this is the first of Beethoven's sonatas that doesn't use sonata form in the first movement. I'm not sure we touched on this in the more recent discussion (and I'm not going back to check). It's also the only one before Op. 90 where the last movement is significantly larger than the first, a feature Beethoven was to make much of in the last handful - and his ninth Symphony, of course.
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Richard

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#2289456 - 06/13/14 09:11 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
hreichgott Online   content
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Registered: 04/11/13
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Loc: western MA, USA
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
this is the first of Beethoven's sonatas that doesn't use sonata form in the first movement.

Well, not quite, Op. 26 has a theme and variations for the first movement. But yes it is significant when classical composers depart from sonata form in sonatas.
_________________________
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Sounding the depths of small pieces: Beethoven Op. 33
Daily attempts at 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 4, Pischna
Totally loving Fauré/Barcarolles and Ravel/Tombeau de Couperin
I love Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

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#2289544 - 06/14/14 06:34 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
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Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2339
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Moonlight Sonata, first movement
A good spot, Heather, that shows up the inadequacy of my post. smile

The theme and variation start was not a precedent. The point is not that it doesn't start with Sonata form but that the sonata form movement is at the end. Beethoven transformed the sonata/symphony by putting the importance on the end rather than the beginning. This is the first example of that.
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Richard

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#2289579 - 06/14/14 10:20 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3171
Loc: Maine
That point, that Beethoven shifted the weight of a piece to the end, was also made in the Coursera online course on Beethoven Sonatas.
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Ebaug(maj7)

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