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#2052343 - 03/22/13 08:49 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
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Originally Posted By: keystring
I think this thread started with the idea of sonata form, which gets more complicated over time (?) and expands in its form (?). So Humoresque and Clair de lune - do they fit into that? Or what are we doing?
Jeff and I addressed this on March 6 but we had visitors wiping their feet here since so let me go over it again.

When we started this thing back in August we were unable to make much headway on our prime purpose, ostensibly understanding major works with a view to composition, because of a lack of theory. The theory has taken time to sink in - it's a big subject in its own right and we've covered in around seven months what might normally fill a year in college or university and we're still not done.

This latest thread was created with a view to looking at sonata form as the most complex of all the forms in that it is defined not by the usual visual landmarks but its tonality, which requires harmonic analysis. But it was never my intention to stick only to what the Americans call sonata-allegro form. Sonatas use a variety of forms and a variety of forms is what we're studying here, still trying to fill our musical understanding and complete a basic knowledge of harmony.

When we finished Clementi's sonatinas we arrived, by consensus, at a softer approach of including with each major sonata an easier piece, playable by most of us, and a more adventurous piece that might offer greater musical or technical challenges or rewards. Shortly after this time the thread was reduced to mostly Jeff and myself, and our jumping around suited our purposes.

We are still intending to follow sonata form through to Liszt's B minor sonata. I neither have the ability nor inclination to investigate the works of Berg, Schoenberg or Webern - I'm overstretched as it is, however it might look to outsiders and am trying to learn this stuff myself as I go along - this is not the sort of analysis I normally do. On the way I have to put up with pot shots being taken at me by those who know more or better, some of whom offer extra edification and some of whom just leave a lingering smell of cordite.

Having dispensed with Haydn our next tranche of pieces is Mozart's K.331 (of which none of it's movements are in sonata form), Chopin's Nocturne in Eb, which I presume after silence from any other analysts is now done, again, and an easy piece, nominally Dvorak's Humoresque. No-one seems interested in the Humoreske so I'm quite happy to whistle past it and, with a lack of other voices or suggestions, dispense with an easy piece.

In light of what it has become the thread may have been mis-labelled (Charles Cooke's classic little work, Playing the Piano for Pleasure, includes a chapter called 'A Discussion of Certain Fine Compositions' and that might suit the thread better) but there was no intent to deceive and I can't rename it now. There are people out there who are able to analyse music more academically than I can and we might have hoped for more input from them but that's not where we are. We are restricted largely to being led down paths I'm familiar with. I bypass areas beyond my knowledge, some because they are too daunting and others because I don't know they exist. I'm a happy amateur, blissful in my ignorance.

Again, this thread is not a course. It is covering ground slowly and surely towards being able to analyse music from simple fare to more daunting compositions in sonata form (the most challenging of all the forms). I've no objection to including symphonies either but concertos are simpler fare being largely ritornello form and the analysis is better suited to those more likely to play them. If you want to join in, join in. If you're not interested in the fare there's no knowledge being missed. You don't have to catch up at any time. We have never objected to simple questions that have been covered before. Nobody is expected to read the previous pages any more here than in the Alfred's Book 1 thread. Just join in and ask what you'd like to know, relevant or otherwise.

Next up then is Mozart's A major sonata. You can enter with a full harmonic analysis, a treatise on its history or popularity (and it isn't short in that area) or just an overview of what you like about it or how you'd go about learning it. It is intended to fill a hole in our skill set, namely that of identifying or recognising themes from mere snippets of them.

It would not be pointless, on a public forum, to restrict our discussion to this piece or to one aspect of it or to those that actively participate. Anyone can join in with whatever they want and we'll continue to accommodate them as best we can while still progressing on our regular path. I'm happy to repeat anything that's been missed or not fully understood. If you spend a few weeks away and want to know where we are, stop us and ask - it's no hassle. Worthwhile analysis isn't done overnight and there is still much before us so digressions offer pleasant interruptions like getting out and stretching one's legs at an interesting piece of scenery on a long coach trip.

Is that OK with everyone (and do we know who everyone is here or might we know who's following)?
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#2052385 - 03/22/13 10:29 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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For strictly sonatas, I would like to look at some of the easier Beethoven Sonatas sometime. Op. 42, I think. There are two in that Opus to choose from.

I'm open to other things; I don't mind that the thread title says "Sonata" but that we're doing lots of other things.

[ETA: crossposted. I'm very happy to look at the Mozart sonata. Off to look it up. I suspect it will make me very happy doing harmonic analysis (or is it tonal analysis? Harmonic analysis is a field in mathematics, and I always get it mixed up with whether it's the proper name for the field in music as well.)]


Edited by PianoStudent88 (03/22/13 11:26 AM)
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#2052413 - 03/22/13 11:41 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
Greener Offline

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#2052431 - 03/22/13 12:14 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
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In England, harmonic analysis is what we call it when looking at the keys and chords in music.

Waveforms of mathematical functions do not constitute our quotidian vocabulary.
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#2052439 - 03/22/13 12:32 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
Greener Offline

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Mozart - A Major Sonata

OK. I am totally confused already. The performance posted takes us as far as the end of Var VI. Then this next one is the Menuetto and Trio. But, then he goes somewhere else and I have no idea where.

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#2052450 - 03/22/13 12:47 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
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Try this, Jeff.

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#2052454 - 03/22/13 12:58 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Online   content
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Mozart - Sonata 11 - K331 in A major
Are we looking at all thre movements - variations, menuetto, and the alla turco (rondo form?).?

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#2052456 - 03/22/13 01:01 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
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They're all up for inspection but no-one need participate in areas beyond their interest.
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#2052464 - 03/22/13 01:10 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: PianoStudent88]
zrtf90 Offline
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Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
For strictly sonatas...

[ETA: crossposted. I'm very happy to look at the Mozart sonata. Off to look it up. I suspect it will make me very happy doing harmonic analysis (or is it tonal analysis? Harmonic analysis is a field in mathematics, and I always get it mixed up with whether it's the proper name for the field in music as well.)]


The embolding is my emphasis.

ETA: Ooh... where'd the other one go? I responded to a missing post!



Edited by zrtf90 (03/22/13 01:11 PM)
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#2052467 - 03/22/13 01:14 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
Greener Offline

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Mozart - Sonata 11 - K331 in A major

Yes, I believe all sorted out now and I see where I was going wrong with following just the Menuetto (i was missing the da capo again). I believe in the score I posted for download there is an extra page at the end that does not belong. I'm not sure where it came from, but is not part of the Coda. Or maybe I have just mixed up my printed pages somehow. At any rate it will be at least a couple of days before we need to worry about it smile
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#2052472 - 03/22/13 01:21 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: Greener]
zrtf90 Offline
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Mozart - Sonata in A major, K331

Originally Posted By: Greener
At any rate it will be at least a couple of days before we need to worry about it smile
I've made a note to start worrying less needlessly on Monday. smile
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#2052473 - 03/22/13 01:22 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: Greener]
keystring Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Greener
Mozart - A Major Sonata

OK. I am totally confused already. The performance posted takes us as far as the end of Var VI. Then this next one is the Menuetto and Trio. But, then he goes somewhere else and I have no idea where.

At the end of Trio you have two endings which I'll call m. 52a and 52b. The first time (52a) you go back to the start of the repeat at m. 17. The second time (52b) it ends, but then in my version it says "Menuetto D.C.". D.C. means "da capo" = back to the beginning. So altogether it means "go back to the beginning of the Menuetto. So you're back at m. 1 and this time it ends where the Menuetto ends before the Trio.

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#2052474 - 03/22/13 01:23 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Online   content
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Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
For strictly sonatas...

[ETA: crossposted. I'm very happy to look at the Mozart sonata. Off to look it up. I suspect it will make me very happy doing harmonic analysis (or is it tonal analysis? Harmonic analysis is a field in mathematics, and I always get it mixed up with whether it's the proper name for the field in music as well.)]


The embolding is my emphasis.

ETA: Ooh... where'd the other one go? I responded to a missing post!


Sorry, I saw where I messed up and thought I could delete in time. I found it right after. I was looking for "wave form" specifically but it's exactly where you quoted (implied) so I got it.

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#2052481 - 03/22/13 01:32 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: keystring]
Greener Offline

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Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: Greener
Mozart - A Major Sonata

OK. I am totally confused already. The performance posted takes us as far as the end of Var VI. Then this next one is the Menuetto and Trio. But, then he goes somewhere else and I have no idea where.

At the end of Trio you have two endings which I'll call m. 52a and 52b. The first time (52a) you go back to the start of the repeat at m. 17. The second time (52b) it ends, but then in my version it says "Menuetto D.C.". D.C. means "da capo" = back to the beginning. So altogether it means "go back to the beginning of the Menuetto. So you're back at m. 1 and this time it ends where the Menuetto ends before the Trio.


When I came across the same problem with the 2nd video posted with the Menuetto, I realized it must be me. Got it ... and starting to get the hang of da capos now. thanks.
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#2052485 - 03/22/13 01:44 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Online   content
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Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Try this, Jeff.




I love the way this contains all the movements, and they are also clearly marked.

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#2052493 - 03/22/13 01:57 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Mozart - Sonata 11 - K331 in A major

Being a methodical sort of person, I would like to start with the first movement and after we're done with that proceed through the second and then the third movment in order.
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#2052577 - 03/22/13 04:04 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: PianoStudent88]
Greener Offline

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Mozart - Sonata 11 - K331 in A major

Andante grazioso

Theme/phrase is identified M1-M4 and repeated but with different ending M5-M8.

A more melodic version of the same idea in M9-M12 and then back to original phrase exactly (from M5-M8) in M13-M16 and then two bar tag is added.

Is this like an introduction to the movement?

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#2052588 - 03/22/13 04:21 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
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Mozart - Sonata in A major, K331

No, it's a short theme, could be a nursery rhyme, theme from an opera, folk song, etc. or just a catchy jingle made up on the spot. In this case it's a simple AB form. Each part is repeated to make sure you're familiar with it in light of what follows. The simpler and more memorable is the theme the greater and more inventive the composer can be in the variations without you losing sight of the fundamental tune.

The movement is a theme and variations. Each variation is a play on the the theme.

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#2052589 - 03/22/13 04:26 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Greener
Mozart - Sonata 11 - K331 in A major

Andante grazioso

Theme/phrase is identified M1-M4 and repeated but with different ending M5-M8.

A more melodic version of the same idea in M9-M12 and then back to original phrase exactly (from M5-M8) in M13-M16 and then two bar tag is added.

Is this like an introduction to the movement?

Consider measures 1 - 18 as one unit or mini-movement. The form is:
A A // BA' // BA'
which is rounded binary form.

The theme in A, comes back after the new theme of B with only slight changes at the end - i.e. that's your BA'.

After that you have variations. They are essentially the same piece of music over and over again, but new things have been done to them. You should be able to go through them measure by measure, picking out the notes of the original in the melody and maybe hearing that melody still being there. The chords and chord progressions should still be the same.

Variation III is still the same, except for a mode change (major and minor being modes).

What I found fascinating is how many ways you can state the same musical idea.

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#2052653 - 03/22/13 06:12 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: keystring]
Polyphonist Online   content
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Originally Posted By: zrtf90
...sonata form (the most challenging of all the forms).


This is wrong...Fugal form, just to name one, is more complex and challenging.

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
..I would like to look at some of the easier Beethoven Sonatas sometime. Op. 42, I think. There are two in that Opus to choose from.


Do you mean Op. 49? wink

Originally Posted By: keystring


What I found fascinating is how many ways you can state the same musical idea.


You should look at Rachmaninov's three variation sets on themes from Chopin, Corelli, and Paganini (this last being for piano and orchestra) and also Beethoven's multiple brilliant sets such as the 32 C minor Variations and the Diabellis. And the variation movement from Schubert's Trout Quintet. And the first movement of Beethoven's Sonata Op 26. And Brahms's Paganinis, and Chopin's sets such as Op 2 and Op 12, and...I could list these forever. They are all amazing. smile
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#2052666 - 03/22/13 06:36 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
Greener Offline

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Mozart - Sonata in A major, K331

Originally Posted By: zrtf90

The movement is a theme and variations. Each variation is a play on the the theme.


A new sonata format thus? This is not the typical exposition, development and recapitulation of 1st movements we have looked at so far.

As we know now (now know?) that the variations are plays of the same theme, what should we now be looking for or reporting on for the VI variations? As KS has pointed out, Var III is in A minor vs A major of the rest. All are otherwise similar format as the original theme accept for VI which is a little different. I will need to compare this one more to say how it is different aside from being twice the length of the others.

CORRECTION: Not twice the length as no repeat in the second half this time.



Edited by Greener (03/22/13 06:45 PM)
Edit Reason: Correction noted
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#2052686 - 03/22/13 07:18 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: Polyphonist]
zrtf90 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
...sonata form (the most challenging of all the forms).


This is wrong...Fugal form, just to name one, is more complex and challenging.
Fugue, yes. I should check all my posts with our legal department first.

Name another. wink wink wink


Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
You should look at Rachmaninov's three variation sets on themes from Chopin, Corelli, and Paganini (this last being for piano and orchestra) and also Beethoven's multiple brilliant sets such as the 32 C minor Variations and the Diabellis. And the variation movement from Schubert's Trout Quintet. And the first movement of Beethoven's Sonata Op 26. And Brahms's Paganinis, and Chopin's sets such as Op 2 and Op 12, and...
Yes, perhaps we should do these before we get ono the minuet. wink wink wink

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
I could list these forever.
Perhaps you could do that on another thread and let us know when you've finished. wink wink wink
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#2052687 - 03/22/13 07:26 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: Greener]
keystring Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Greener
Mozart - Sonata in A major, K331

Originally Posted By: zrtf90

The movement is a theme and variations. Each variation is a play on the the theme.


A new sonata format thus? This is not the typical exposition, development and recapitulation of 1st movements we have looked at so far.


I think I see the source of confusion. We have "sonatas", and then we have "sonata form" (I know it as 'sonata allegro form').

So a sonata is a collection of movements that all belong together. There are three, but there can be more than three depending on the composer or period.

Each movement is in a form. In this piece, the first movement is a set of variations, the second is a minuet & trio form, and the third is in rondo form. Here is where we find the forms, within the sonata. Sonata itself is not a form. The movements have a form.

The first movement is a set of variations - like a bunch of pieces. The first original is in rounded binary form. I have a feeling that the other variations are also in that form.

There is no movement in this sonata which is in "sonata form". Don't look for sonata form, because you won't find it.

(Isn't this fun? smile )

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#2052688 - 03/22/13 07:27 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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[Cross-posted]

Polyphonist, yes I did mean Beethoven op. 49. The weird thing is, I've made that mistake before on this opus number. It just never seems to stick.

Greener, sonata-allegro form is the form with exposition, development, recapitulation. It's what I usually expect the first movement of a sonata to be. I also expect the first movement of a symphony, and of a concerto, to be in this form.

Theme and Variations is a different form entirely, and I would normally expect it to appear (if at all) as a later movement in a sonata, symphony, or concerto. This sonata is unusual in that its first movement is a Theme and Variations.

Some things to look for in this movement: check key and time signature in each variation. Verify the harmonies: are they the same or have they been altered from the first statement of the theme? Explain how the theme has been dressed up in each variation. Is the theme hard or easy to find in each variation?


Edited by PianoStudent88 (03/22/13 07:29 PM)
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#2052697 - 03/22/13 07:56 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
Greener Offline

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Originally Posted By: Keystring

...a sonata is a collection of movements that all belong together
...
Each movement is in a form. In this piece, the first movement is a set of variations, the second is a minuet & trio form, and the third is in rondo form. Here is where we find the forms, within the sonata. Sonata itself is not a form. The movements have a form

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88

...sonata-allegro form is the form with exposition, development, recapitulation. It's what I usually expect the first movement of a sonata to be. I also expect the first movement of a symphony, and of a concerto, to be in this form.

this makes sense and clears up a lot for me ... thanks
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#2052848 - 03/23/13 08:45 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
Greener Offline

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Mozart - Sonata in A major, K331

"Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born to Leopold and Anna Maria Mozart in 1756 in Salzburg, Austria (then the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation). Mozart showed promise in music from an early age, prompting his father to assume the role as his instructor. His father described his son as a gift from God, and Leopold nurtured Wolfgang’s talents as such. Mozart would eventually travel throughout Europe with his musical family; however, it was in Salzburg that he would compose three piano sonatas in 1783."

Sonata in A major, K. 331 is the second of the three. Moving along ...

As we've already discussed, the form of this movement is Theme and Variations. This form is characteristic of many solo sonatas. But is atypical for the first movement of a classical sonata.

The theme is made up of 4 bar phrases, the first of which ends with a half cadence and the next a perfect cadence. After returning to the original melody in the second half for the final occurrence of the phrase, this time it ends with imperfect cadence and a 2 bar extension is added to complete the cadence.

Var I
Still in 6/8 time and A major. It starts off with what I will describe as double time in RH and staggered half time in LH for 1st occurrence of the phrase. The 2nd occurrence of the phrase I found to be more readily distinguishable to the original melody, but made up now of 3rds, triads and one bar of single note melody in RH and back to original timing (can you follow what I mean ?). Meanwhile the LH has doubled up the timing in this 2nd phrase. The 2nd half (beyond the first repeat) follows the same structure as the first. This time the double time (or what I am calling double time) in the LH only comes in for the final 2 bar extension and cadence.

grin
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#2052924 - 03/23/13 12:01 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
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Mozart - Sonata in A major, K331

Originally Posted By: keystring
So a sonata is a collection of movements that all belong together. There are three, but there can be more than three depending on the composer or period.
Liszt's B Minor sonata has one movement. Many of Beethoven's sonatas have two movements, Opp. 54, 78 and 111 as well as the two sonatinas, Op. 49. Mozart's have three but most of Beethoven's have four. Brahms' 3rd sonata has five. I would not be surprised to learn of one with six or more movements.

Originally Posted By: keystring
Each movement is in a form. In this piece, the first movement is a set of variations, the second is a minuet & trio form, and the third is in rondo form. Here is where we find the forms, within the sonata. Sonata itself is not a form. The movements have a form.
All music has a form. Some forms are common and have names, others are rare and don't. What is regularly called sonata form is not a form but a principle. The form the music takes is individual, though not necessarily unique, to that sonata.

Theme and Variations may be atypical of a sonata but is not unusual. It was also a very common thing around Beethoven's time to improvise at the piano on the latest hit of the day and an expected skill. It's a shame that such practice has diminished in modern teaching of classical piano.
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By comparing the theme with Var. 1 directly I see the essential notes of the theme as being mostly the second beat of each measure followed by the first. The third note of each beat has lesser importance in some measures than in others. The ends of phrases 2, 3 and 4 seem more important than the end of phrase 1 and the penultimate B being more important than the preceeding C#. In other words, more weight is given to their place in the sequence than their actual timing.

The idea of the first variation that I see is taking the essential notes of the theme and leaning on them with appoggiaturas thereby pushing them off the beat.

The harmony is basically unchanged, the texture is thinner but the frequency has changed from quavers to semiq's. The left hand plays a supportive role in the theme but a more accompanying role in the variation. The dynamics are sudden rather than progressive and the sforzatos followed by pianos show how much store Mozart sets in the contrast. There is a forte in M23 to mark the distinction between the two treatments.

I'm not sure how mathematically precise one needs to be with dotted quaver/semiquaver pairs. I pick up lot of individual distinctions and the quality of the emotive expression changes with differences of weight and timing. The degree given to the semiq's after the dots in this piece must match the indication of grazioso.


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#2053166 - 03/23/13 08:49 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Online   content
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Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Mozart - Sonata in A major, K331

Originally Posted By: keystring
Each movement is in a form. In this piece, the first movement is a set of variations, the second is a minuet & trio form, and the third is in rondo form. Here is where we find the forms, within the sonata. Sonata itself is not a form. The movements have a form.
All music has a form. Some forms are common and have names, others are rare and don't. What is regularly called sonata form is not a form but a principle. The form the music takes is individual, though not necessarily unique, to that sonata.


It sounds as if you are correcting what I wrote. Meanwhile what you wrote leaves people with something vague. No, it is not true that sonata allegro form is just a principle, which suggests it is just anything. I cannot begin to recognize music that is in "sonata form" from the definition "It is a principle". It has specific attributes.

To review:
Sonata allegro form has three sections: Exposition, which introduces a number of subjects, Development which plays around, Recapitulation, which revisits what we had in the Exposition. There are lots of versions and tangents to this, but this is the general shape that makes sonata allegro from what it is.


If you know a movement is in this form, then you will look for those sections, and this will help you understand and work with the piece. In this piece, none of the movements are in sonata allegro form and it is important to know this.

A second confusion can occur because unfortunately we use the word "sonata" to describe the collection of movements - and this has nothing to do with sonata form. Therefore it is important to know that sonata allegro form refers specifically to a form that we can find in a single movement. The word "sonata" (such as this 3-movement sonata) has nothing to do with that form, but simply designates a collection of movements that belong together.

I was addressing the source of confusion, which was either the expectation that the first movement had to be in sonata form -- and looking for that form ---- or involving the name "sonata" for the entire collection.


Edited by keystring (03/23/13 11:24 PM)

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#2053244 - 03/24/13 12:52 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11724
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Mozart - Sonata in A major, K331

Originally Posted By: keystring
So a sonata is a collection of movements that all belong together. There are three, but there can be more than three depending on the composer or period.
Liszt's B Minor sonata has one movement. Many of Beethoven's sonatas have two movements, Opp. 54, 78 and 111 as well as the two sonatinas, Op. 49. Mozart's have three but most of Beethoven's have four. Brahms' 3rd sonata has five. I would not be surprised to learn of one with six or more movements.


The point I was making is that the word "sonata" does not refer to a form, but to a collection of movements (each having its own form) which belong together. I guess that with the Liszt you have a collection of one.

The reason for the point was to dissipate confusion about the word "sonata". We have "sonata form" with its Exposition, Development, Recapitulation, and this is found in a movement. We have "sonata" which does not mean that.

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#2053407 - 03/24/13 11:15 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
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Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2409
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: keystring
The reason for the point was to dissipate confusion about the word "sonata".
Until you made this point I wasn't aware of the confusion.

I have always understood a sonata to be a collection of movements as a development of the suite and associated its name, like 'Bert' as a contraction of Albert. And I have always understood sonata form to be something completely different, like 'Bert' as a contraction of Bertram. I had not seen the cause of confusion.

My post was not meant to be contradictory but elaboration and recollection of our earlier definition. I still see no contradiction.

A sonata doesn't have a fixed number of movements and they vary from one to five, as far as my knowledge goes, but more than that isn't ruled out. It is most commonly three or four but it can be more or less than that.

There was great debate at the time I was studying this stuff about the meaning of sonata form. My tutors were constantly reminding us that it was a principle not a form and there was a push to have it known as Sonata Principle rather than Sonata Form. It hasn't happened universally. While there is wide acceptance of the three part structure of Exposition, Development and Recapitulation, there is wide diversity between sonatas as to the distinct forms within those sections. So much so that it was considered better to classify the structure around the tonality and thematic content combined and it's use of keys, the principle of its construction, rather than its physical form which changes from sonata to sonata.

The principle of the sonata is to introduce drama and contrast, in key and theme, between the two parts of the exposition, expand on the drama in the development using a variety of keys, with or without the introduction of new thematic material, and resolve the conflict at the end by presenting both parts now in harmony (as opposed to conflict) in the same key. The form it takes is individual to that sonata. There isn't one form that's used for all of them but one principle.

That same principle has been used for sonatas, symphonies, overtures and more. It became all-pervasive because of its versatility - and lack of fixed form.
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Richard

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