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#2145322 - 09/06/13 02:46 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: keystring]
Polyphonist Offline
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Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7647
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist

Yes; if anyone has any side questions or doesn't understand something we're discussing, please feel free to send a PM to keystring, PS88, or myself, or to all three of us. grin Questions are welcome. Just please don't ask them in this thread. Let's try to keep this thread as organized and on track as possible. PMs (or other threads) for other things, by all means.

Not a good idea, imho - depending (see below).

This is the adult beginner thread, and of its nature that means that basic knowledge underlying things will be missing. One of the purposes of these thread is to get at these core concepts and frameworks.

I know that your experience is in working with students who already have the necessary background, and you can teach them directly about music using that knowledge. For that kind of discussion, you would be better off in the Pianist forum, where such background is assumed. By its nature, a discussion here will have to go on to these "side issues" which are actually part of the learning process on the subject.

I suggest that anyone presenting a piece, who has knowledge of music, should consider ahead of time what new knowledge will be needed, and then gear his presentation accordingly. That takes some planning. I am writing here as a trained teacher, though I'm not the only one.

We should also pool our skills and experience. I'm used to working with core or foundational things, getting at the root of a thing, while others have advanced knowledge to give.

Information in PMs benefits only that person - though this is a judgment call. If something separate needs to be learned that is very separate, in that case there should be separate threads.

This is how the sonata analysis thread originated, in fact. We began by analyzing pieces, and discovered that people didn't have the background. So we started to introduce that background, and build things.

What would have been nice but it's been rejected, is if a new section were created that was only about theory and analysis. A section like the ABF is a section. Then we could have had "reference threads" that are stickied on things like theory rudiments, and various areas of theory.

You bring up some good points. I was just trying to ensure that the thread didn't get cluttered like last time it was active, but it's your call.

Now for the last time, let's choose a piece. How about Chopin's Sonata in B minor? (It's one of my personal favorite pieces. smile ) If not that, how about a Beethoven Sonata, maybe Opus 78?
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Polyphonist

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#2145325 - 09/06/13 02:48 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: keystring]
Polyphonist Offline
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Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7647
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
And now, I repeat, let's try and decide on a sonata to look at. smile

Chopin, Beethoven, Schubert, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, all are fine for me.

Is there an order in which they get more complicated, or grow from one to the other, or something that would suggest some to be worked on earlier than others?

Well, I'd think that Schubert and Beethoven would be the least complex, and Chopin, Liszt, and Rachmaninoff would be higher up the ladder, pulling farther away from convention.
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#2145332 - 09/06/13 03:02 PM 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: Polyfunnist
Questions are welcome. Just please don't ask them in this thread.
This is wrong. It's not in the spirit of the thread.

Originally Posted By: Polly funniest
Well, I don't know if the Liszt would be a great choice, because it isn't in classical sonata form. Let's go for one of the Beethovens, for right now.
...
And now, I repeat, let's try and decide on a sonata to look at. smile

Chopin, Beethoven, Schubert, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, all are fine for me.
Sometimes your humour completely escapes me!

Originally Posted By: Phoney policed
Now for the last time, let's choose a piece.
And sometimes I escape it deliberately. frown
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#2145348 - 09/06/13 03:35 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Polyphonist, my first reaction to your post was "Is this a joke?"

Then I concluded that, very sadly, it was not a joke.

What you call "clutter" we call "teaching." If you'd like a different style of thread, feel free to start it. I think you will find Pianist Corner a suitable board for brutally pared and focused analysis that takes no cognizance of teaching or trying to make a thread welcoming for people with a variety of experience.

If you don't like the way this thread has proceeded to date, you won't like the way it proceeds in the future.

I mentioned PMs to Valencia in case she felt too hesitant to post a question on the thread. I would encourage everyone with questions to feel comfortable posting them here. If something seems like it would really benefit from another thread, we'll start another thread. I don't trust Polyphonist's judgement for deciding or suggesting when that point is reached.
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#2145361 - 09/06/13 03:54 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Now for the last time, let's choose a piece.

We're not ready to choose a piece (otherwise, we would have done it already). We're ruminating, cogitating, sharing ideas, considering what might be of interest to others, balancing different interests of those who have posted here with an interest. We're not all on at the same time, or as frequently as some of us, so it takes a while. When as a group we're ready, a piece will be chosen.
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#2145367 - 09/06/13 04:12 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: PianoStudent88]
Polyphonist Offline
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Posts: 7647
Loc: New York City
Seems to me like the inefficiency is continuing. wink You guys have it your own way. And to say that I'm not interested in teaching is stupid, because I explicitly stated earlier in the thread that I welcomed PMs from less experienced members.
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Polyphonist

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#2145374 - 09/06/13 04:19 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
Polyphonist Offline
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Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7647
Loc: New York City
In light of recent posts, I make a new suggestion: Create two threads: one for basic theory questions and long-winded explanations, and another for just the pure analysis. The threads will be related, and it's fine to quote posts in one thread into the other; it's just that they have slightly different purposes. That way the newcomers can hang out more in one thread, and myself and others will feed information into it by way of the other. smile
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Polyphonist

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#2145385 - 09/06/13 04:49 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Polyphonist, please feel free to create whatever thread you feel is appropriate for what you want to talk about.
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#2145388 - 09/06/13 04:53 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: PianoStudent88]
Polyphonist Offline
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Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7647
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Polyphonist, please feel free to create whatever thread you feel is appropriate for what you want to talk about.

I think I'm finished here for the moment. I will return when the thread gets moving and there's something to talk about besides futile arguments.
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Polyphonist

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#2145398 - 09/06/13 05:22 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: Valencia]
keystring Offline
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Originally Posted By: Valencia
Thanks for this Pianostudent88! I'll likely fall far behind on any analysis thread, so don't worry about keeping pace for me.

Feel free to ask questions as we go along. smile

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#2145401 - 09/06/13 05:30 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: Polyphonist]
keystring Offline
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Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Seems to me like the inefficiency is continuing.

Pp, we've established that we are in different areas of teaching, with you teaching people who already have the background. Here is where I'm coming from, and my take on efficiency:

I have done a fair bit of work in remediation. A student in grade 7, 8, 9 has a problem in a certain subject. Almost always, he is missing things from the very beginning, usually in the area of concepts. There is "never time" for it. When we work on these basic concepts everything else falls into place. Thus going at basic things wherever there is a hole is efficient.

As an adult music student I also advanced fast, and I was missing things everywhere. I found that by getting at basic things, and truly understanding the basics, I was able to soar. Again these "side tracks" ended up being the path to growth.

We are not students who have gone along the beaten path and who have the prerequisites. We are all over the place as a group, and that has to be kept in mind. A discussion that goes straight into a piece and only does that would work better in the Pianist forum. Make sense?

Did somebody say Beethoven?

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#2145414 - 09/06/13 06:13 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
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Registered: 02/29/12
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Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: Greener
What about going back and taking another look at the Moonlight Sonata? The 2nd. movement or continuing with the first.

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
We still never got back to the Moonlight and understood or discussed WHY it is so damn popular. All we did is find out that it's loosely based on sonata form and that it moves from this key to that - just like any other sonata type piece. How does it appeal to our emotions so universally? What makes it work? This is where I really wanted to go.

Originally Posted By: Valencia
l would be interested in a discussion about the moonlight sonata. Don't know that I will be able to follow everything but I will try. I'll first go back and find the discussions about this sonata in this thread.

Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
This particular thread also has a continuing idea. I'd like to see it through with a Beethoven sonata, one of Schubert's, maybe, or a brief discussion of his Wanderer Fantasy, which leads on to what, for me, is the pinnacle of sonata writing, Liszt's B minor masterpiece.

That seems be going in the direction that I had in mind.

Originally Posted By: keystring
Did somebody say Beethoven?


I've no idea what to do next! smile

I suppose we could look at the Moonlight.

Everyone knows and loves the first movement. It would be interesting to look at it again and see where we've come in a year. The Allegretto, described by Liszt as the flower between two chasms, is beautiful and the final movement is in full sonata form.

Might we have consensus to go there?

Can I insist on questions in the thread and futile arguments as sidebars? smile
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#2145417 - 09/06/13 06:28 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Registered: 06/16/11
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Loc: Maine
Sounds good. Movements 1, 2, and 3 of Moonlight, in order.
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#2145422 - 09/06/13 06:46 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
Polyphonist Offline
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Loc: New York City
All right - first let me answer the question some of you were asking earlier on about this piece: Why is the first movement so popular?

Well, it's quite simple. The movement is slow, and therefore supposed by many to be very technically accessible, although it isn't. Part of its appeal also stems from the large variety of chords used, and the relative rhythmic and melodic simplicity. Furthermore, I believe that a lot of its popularity is purely based on the title given to it by Ludwig Rellstab back in the nineteenth century - the name "Moonlight" is appealing because it conveys a lot of the emotion and meaning of the piece to those who cannot grasp it from the music alone.

Beethoven, personally, was annoyed about the large popularity of the Pathetique and Moonlight Sonatas, and the consequent neglect of his other, better, works.
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Polyphonist

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#2145438 - 09/06/13 07:23 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: Polyphonist]
zrtf90 Offline
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Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2409
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: Funny parrot
...let me answer the question some of you were asking earlier on about this piece: Why is the first movement so popular?

Well, it's quite simple. The movement is slow...
Well, thank you and good night! Are we moving on to the Schubert now?

Because it's slow? Do you realise how trite this sounds? Lots of chords with relative rhythmic and melodic simplicity? We may be adult beginners but I don't think there's any need to insult our intelligence.

Beethoven was annoyed at a lot of things. He had an irascible temperament. I would not be at all surprised to learn that he was acquainted with your ancestors!

It's not at all simple or we'd all be writing this stuff!

John Lennon wrote Help! with a similarly simple melody, a simple rhythm and a relatively high number of chords (more than three). D'you think he was cut of the same cloth and The Beatles just played it too fast? Or do you think he just gave it the wrong name?

Wow, they must be lining up to get lessons from you!
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#2145439 - 09/06/13 07:35 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
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Originally Posted By: zrtf90
[quote=Funny parrotPolyphonist]...let me answer the question some of you were asking earlier on about this piece: Why is the first movement so popular?

Well, it's quite simple. The movement is slow...
Quote:
Well, thank you and good night! Are we moving on to the Schubert now?

Because it's slow? Do you realise how trite this sounds? Lots of chords with relative rhythmic and melodic simplicity? ...

It might be trite if that was all that the post said. There was more than that.
This is the entire post.
Quote:
Well, it's quite simple. The movement is slow, and therefore supposed by many to be very technically accessible, although it isn't. Part of its appeal also stems from the large variety of chords used, and the relative rhythmic and melodic simplicity. Furthermore, I believe that a lot of its popularity is purely based on the title given to it by Ludwig Rellstab back in the nineteenth century - the name "Moonlight" is appealing because it conveys a lot of the emotion and meaning of the piece to those who cannot grasp it from the music alone.

Beethoven, personally, was annoyed about the large popularity of the Pathetique and Moonlight Sonatas, and the consequent neglect of his other, better, works.

I'd like to look more into these things. I struggling with a deadline and just popping in, so... later.


Edited by keystring (09/06/13 07:38 PM)

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#2145489 - 09/06/13 10:10 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Continuing what I was starting to do earlier in this thread, which is prioritize aural experience, I will be listening to the Sonata #14 in C# minor, Op. 27 No. 2, several times over the next few days.
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#2145648 - 09/07/13 08:40 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
It might be trite if that was all that the post said. There was more than that.
OK. Let's look more at it then.

"Well, it's quite simple. The movement is slow, and therefore supposed by many to be very technically accessible, although it isn't."

Slow and seeming technical accessibility doesn't cut it for me. The popularity of the piece extends beyond pianists. It's a big seller in the market place because people want to hear it. I don't think other popular pieces are popular because of their apparent technical accessibility.

"Part of its appeal also stems from the large variety of chords used, and the relative rhythmic and melodic simplicity." Do other pieces not use large varieties of chords and have relative simplicity in other respects, like rhythm and melody? Should we not have counted the chords first? This is an analysis thread not a bathroom conversation between courses in a restaurant. How many chords compared to other similar pieces that didn't cut it in the popularity stakes? What chords were they and what were their relationships? How many chords is normal compared to other pieces with simple melody and rhythm.

Handel was doing one thing complicated and keeping everything else simple long before Beethoven. Why did no-one cotton on to this until Beethoven? What constitutes rhythmic or melodic simplicity?

"Furthermore, I believe that a lot of its popularity is purely based on the title given to it by Ludwig Rellstab back in the nineteenth century - the name "Moonlight" is appealing because it conveys a lot of the emotion and meaning of the piece to those who cannot grasp it from the music alone." Oh, really? The title increases its popularity because the music's too difficult for us to understand without it? Beethoven was five years dead before the piece had that title. And why did Bach's Prelude in C make it with such a simple monicker? Would it have taken the world by storm better if it were called Rainbow?

"Beethoven, personally, was annoyed about the large popularity of the Pathétique and Moonlight Sonatas, and the consequent neglect of his other, better, works." The large popularity of his works? I believe the Op. 101 is the only sonata that was performed publically in Beethoven's lifetime.

The concert-goer wasn't much into solo piano music at the time. They wanted concerted music. So what was the large popularity based on? Sheet music sales? It wasn't airplay!And what change have the "other, better, works" undergone in popularity since? If the other works are better, why are they better, and why are they not more popular? And why have the great concert pianists not brought out the better music in the intervening years? It's not as if the entire 32 hasn't been studied in depth.

The whole post is trite. It replaces the very things we should be looking at in our analysis with unsound conclusions and unjustifiable opinion.

What was it about the sonata as a whole that inspired Chopin to write his Fantasie-Impromptu Op. 66 and what are the parallels in the two pieces?

How is the simple melody and rhythm, from the Marcia Funebre of his just prior Op. 26, transformed by the subtle harmonic shifts into the appealing, emotive whimper? The whole movement lacks a big climax, sudden changes of dynamics or pitch or the melodic appoggiaturas that tug at our emotions. There's no new or unprepared harmony, no acceleration to a cadence. What pulls us in with this piece? Do we really want to settle for a 'large variety of chords used, and the relative rhythmic and melodic simplicity'? This is teaching in the Dickensian "because I say so" mould.

No, I'm not prepared to sit back and take someone's word for it in a thread where the very purpose should be to find these things out.
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#2145679 - 09/07/13 10:20 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Offline
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I finally have time to consider the points that Pp made yesterday.
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
The movement is slow, and therefore supposed by many to be very technically accessible, although it isn't. Part of its appeal also stems from the large variety of chords used, and the relative rhythmic and melodic simplicity.

I have my own ideas about that which I will write in a bit, but first, here's what I found through a search using the keywords "Moonlight popularity". I found comments on the net such as:

"Most people are only familiar with the first movement, and, to play it isn't all that difficult. To play it well, is something else. To be able to play the third movement at a proper tempo takes incredible skill, and, to play it well, takes damn near virtuoso talent."

and

"It's serious music that's accessible to students"

Loads of such comments can be found , generally in forums of a serious nature where the writers seem to know something about music.

I do believe this idea has merit. The first movement does have notes that are accessible to people who are not virtuoso pianists, and slow music is easier to play at an elementary level than fast music because if you're closer to starting out, you can't go fast. I remember reading the site of one teacher who taught adult students and the Moonlight was the first thing his students every played. He used it to teach basic chords, hand positions, whatever, because of that simplicity and accessibility. (If someone read this - it was on PW or PS - might they remember the name?).

Back to the one writer I quoted: "Most people are only familiar with the first movement, and, to play it isn't all that difficult. To play it well, is something else." The problem with "easy, slow" music is that the musician must put subtlety into it, and that requires a mastery that a beginner doesn't have. But on a rudimentary level it still sounds rather good, and it doesn't sound like the "Tweety Bird Goes Up and Down" that the teacher I had for 6 months as a teen gave me. grin

Next idea brought up by Pp
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Furthermore, I believe that a lot of its popularity is purely based on the title given to it by Ludwig Rellstab back in the nineteenth century - the name "Moonlight" is appealing because it conveys a lot of the emotion and meaning of the piece to those who cannot grasp it from the music alone.
On the Net I found comments such as this:

"Part of it could be that it has a nickname--
just like Schubert's Unfinished Symphony, Haydn's Surprise Symphony, and Chopin's Raindrop Prelude.
"

I think that we can consider seriously whether "Beethoven’s opus 27 no. 2 C# minor" would attract the average person as much as the name "Moonlight Sonata". Names and imagery do have an effect on people, and if you consider a piece's popularity among people who are not advanced musicians, the imagery might hold even more sway. I'm not ashamed to admit that names like "Raindrop", "Moonlight", and "Surprise" do light my imagination - which is not to say I would try to play something based on an image. It does help me remember a piece's name. Marketing has long based itself on imagery, and a poorly named product may sell badly regardless of its quality otherwise.

Pronounced, "Moonlight Sonata" also has a rhythm and softness due to the M, L, N, the gentle oo and o, which as "poetry" match the feel of the first movement. Human psyche does go into such things.

There was also a time when I didn't know that these pieces had other names, and thought that Moonlight was its real name. Telling us that it was renamed, and when and by whom, is neither trite nor trivial.

The last point in that post:
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Beethoven, personally, was annoyed about the large popularity of the Pathetique and Moonlight Sonatas, and the consequent neglect of his other, better, works.

The first hit I got was
"The first movement of Beethoven’s opus 27 no. 2 C# minor sonata was very popular in Beethoven’s day, to the point of exasperating the composer himself, who remarked to Czerny, ‘They are always talking about the C# minor sonata surely I’ve written better things.’ Nearly two hundred years later, it still remains the most popular and downloaded piece of ‘classical’ music."

in this link
http://theuniversallanguageofmusicic.wor...onlight-sonata/

Elsewhere I found this:

"The first movement of Beethoven’s opus 27 no. 2 C# minor sonata was very popular in Beethoven’s day, to the point of exasperating the composer himself, who remarked to Czerny, ‘They are always talking about the C# minor sonata surely I’ve written better things.' "


There is an actual quote of Beethoven to support the notion.


Edited by keystring (09/07/13 11:10 AM)
Edit Reason: formatting - last line

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#2145706 - 09/07/13 11:37 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Offline
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This is still on the subject so I hope it's not seen as too much of a digression. I've been studying music history, having gotten up to the Renaissance, and one underlying theme is relationship of musicians to those who support and use the music they create, and the choices that musicians have made because of this. For example, churches have always needed church music so that's a no brainer. At a certain point, you have highly trained musicians who want to show off, and a society where the upper class are expected to be well rounded in the arts and who are also sponsoring these musicians. Written music has been invented, and there is a demand for compositions that are clever, often with musical riddles that the elite can solve. This music becomes popular on those circles, and musicians who create and perform such music are also sponsored in their training and their activity. This is absolutely a factor in what gets known and what never sees the light of day.

Later this changes. You have a growing well-educated bourgeoisie with money to spend, the printing press has been invented, being able to read and sing or play is expected, and there is a demand for music. These are not highly trained musicians, and they are not aristocrats who have also have relatively high training. The music has to be at their skill level, and that is the music that gets sold and thus produced. Will music that doesn't get printed and used survive? Before the Internet and Youtube, how much visibility will a musician get, regardless of how talented, if he can't find a patron or sponsorship of some kind.

These ARE factors. The fact that the Moonlight Sonata's first movement has the attributes that it does, so that it is both beautiful, and its notes are easy to play, will have to be factored in and not dismissed, when asking why this or that piece is popular.

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#2145728 - 09/07/13 12:14 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Offline
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Richard, what bothered me yesterday is that a member was quoted but called "parrot". I have mixed feelings about a judgment on opinions being passed, whether "trite", "erudite", "clever", or "stupid". It's a gray area because if it's ok to call something clever, then if someone sees an opinion as trite - maybe that is actually ok.

I've put in my comments before looking at yours, in regards to the same quote. I will use italics to make the two voices more clear.
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Well, it's quite simple. The movement is slow, and therefore supposed by many to be very technically accessible, although it isn't."

Slow and seeming technical accessibility doesn't cut it for me. The popularity of the piece extends beyond pianists. It's a big seller in the market place because people want to hear it. I don't think other popular pieces are popular because of their apparent technical accessibility.

I believe that "slow and accessible" is a factor and it may be a big factor. "People want to hear it." - now this doesn't cut it for me. Also consider that what gets sold on the marketplace is what the music industry (producers of CDs, records in the old days) deem will sell. I am grateful for the Internet, so that we can finally be exposed to music that has not been deemed "popular" (will sell) and we can finally discover gems we never get to hear.

It's also chicken and egg. If it gets put on the radio, into commercials, and so forth, then it gets to be known, and then it becomes popular because it is known, etc.

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
"Part of its appeal also stems from the large variety of chords used, and the relative rhythmic and melodic simplicity."
Do other pieces not use large varieties of chords and have relative simplicity in other respects, like rhythm and melody? Should we not have counted the chords first? This is an analysis thread not a bathroom conversation between courses in a restaurant. How many chords compared to other similar pieces that didn't cut it in the popularity stakes?

As soon as you asked the question, "Why is this piece popular?" we have moved beyond the realms of analysis. Something that might be asked, however, is whether other popular pieces, especially popular among amateur musicians and those who are not deeply into classical music - do they also have these attributes? How about the Pachelbel Canon? Why is the first part of Fuer Elise so popular?

Quote:
"Beethoven, personally, was annoyed about the large popularity of the Pathétique and Moonlight Sonatas, and the consequent neglect of his other, better, works."
The large popularity of his works? I believe the Op. 101 is the only sonata that was performed publically in Beethoven's lifetime.

I found several references in my research which stated just that, and which quoted Beethoven. I only did a 5 minute search so this was not even exhaustive.
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
The concert-goer wasn't much into solo piano music at the time. They wanted concerted music. So what was the large popularity based on? Sheet music sales? It wasn't airplay.

The concert-goer wasn't, but the families who had pianos in the home were into it. And sheet music sales might well have been it. Beethoven died in 1827. My grandparents were born in the late 1800's. The music I got as a teen came from one grandmother, who was forced to pursue the "gentle arts" such as embroidery, art, and music. All of the music passed on through her was "beautiful" music in easy to play keys, with a relative predictability which made it accessible to the "well brought up young lady".

Quote:
If the other works are better, why are they better, and why are they not more popular? And why have the great concert pianists not brought out the better music in the intervening years? It's not as if the entire 32 hasn't been studied in depth.

A pianist cannot just rent a concert hall one day and get an audience. Before the Internet he could not just have his music recorded and sold in the millions in stores all over the country and maybe the world. Somebody has to invest in this pianist, and these decisions are financial marketing decisions. What will sell? "Popularity" is tied to the market, and what gets out there. Or at least it was, before the Net and Youtube.

Originally Posted By: zrtf
The whole post is trite. It replaces the very things we should be looking at in our analysis with unsound conclusions and unjustifiable opinion.

You asked what makes it popular, and that was answered. I am wondering if you actually intended to ask "What can we find, by analyzing the piece, that may make it appealing?" which is a different kind of question, where perhaps you were trying to lead to particular things.

I do not find the post trite. It led me to do research, and each point led to something which was not uninteresting.

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
How is the simple melody and rhythm, from the Marcia Funebre of his just prior Op. 26, transformed by the subtle harmonic shifts into the appealing, emotive whimper? The whole movement lacks a big climax, sudden changes of dynamics or pitch or the melodic appoggiaturas that tug at our emotions.


I would like to suggest that as we are all different, we will be interested in different things. If you didn't like the types of answers that Pp gave, then it is ok for you to feel that way. But that's individual. Personally my eyes glaze when I read things like "emotive whimper" and "tug at the emotions". But just because I don't think that way about music doesn't mean that I'm not open to it and ready to consider that way of looking things. So shouldn't other angles that don't resonate with us personally still be allowed in?

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#2145737 - 09/07/13 12:19 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11721
Loc: Canada
Am I right that we decided on the Moonlight Sonata? Shall we get started on it if that is the case? Was part of it discussed previously, and if so, should we start afresh anyway, or link/quote or how shall this be done?

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#2145924 - 09/07/13 06:00 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2409
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: keystring
You asked what makes it popular...

No, I didn't! What I said was...
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
We still never got back to the Moonlight and understood or discussed WHY it is so damn popular. All we did is find out that it's loosely based on sonata form and that it moves from this key to that - just like any other sonata type piece. How does it appeal to our emotions so universally? What makes it work? This is where I really wanted to go.
This is a call to look more closely at the music and then beyond it. The questions are rhetorical...

Originally Posted By: keystring
and that was answered.
No, it wasn't! Nowhere did the answer explain what the music itself was doing to merit such popularity!

Telling me it's got a high ratio of chords to melodic or rhythmic complexity gives me absolutely zero information about the musical content and 100% opinion! It was proffered in a way that that should be a conclusion drawn from analysis not as a replacement for it.

What we've been doing here is getting people to extract the data and letting them draw their own conclusions from it not spoon-feeding them answers. We've been teaching analysis as a skill not using it to foist conclusions on those that can't analyse themselves.

Maybe we don't need to look at the music. Perhaps we should be learning marketing so that we can sell melodically simple tunes with dozens of chords and appealing names!

Originally Posted By: keystring
Am I right that we decided on the Moonlight Sonata? Shall we get started on it if that is the case? Was part of it discussed previously, and if so, should we start afresh anyway, or link/quote or how shall this be done?

Although there have been no dissenting voices and no-one has thus far suggested alternatives after it's being put forward, I'd wait a while for more affirmation (did Jeff not say he'd be quiet until Sunday?) but if we are going ahead with it I think a fresh start would be in order. I for one have moved on from what I did in August of last year. I've probably learnt as much about theory and analysis as anyone else involved and what I've learned most of is how little I know and how much more there is!

I'd like to know who's following along and whether they're able (or if they want) to do a harmonic analysis. Some may only be interested in a practical discourse for learning the piece.

The first thing I would do is go through the old checklist of composer, title, date (and all that those things imply), key signature, metre, tempo indications (and, again, their implications).

Before looking specifically at the harmony I would look briefly at the scale, dynamics, colour, rhythmic diversity, major landmarks, thematic changes and see if there are any devices, figures or motifs that are discernable to the eye without necessarily understanding or 'hearing' what I'm seeing. In essence, what can I get out of the score from just a brief perusal?

It might be worthwhile listening to the music a few times while following along with the score. Is everyone able to do this?

Would I be right in thinking that most, if not all, of us will be referring to the score rather than just listening to the music?
_________________________
Richard

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#2145938 - 09/07/13 06:33 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Harmonic analysis, hooray!

I'm up for all of what you describe, with the exception that I am not one whit interested in analysis for the sake of how to learn the piece. Don't let that stop you from doing it, though.

I'll start out listening without the score, but eventually move to the score.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#2145961 - 09/07/13 07:10 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11721
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: zrtf90

No, I didn't! What I said was...
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
We still never got back to the Moonlight and understood or discussed WHY it is so damn popular. All we did is find out that it's loosely based on sonata form and that it moves from this key to that - just like any other sonata type piece. How does it appeal to our emotions so universally? What makes it work? This is where I really wanted to go.
This is a call to look more closely at the music and then beyond it. The questions are rhetorical...


I had not seen the actual question. I only knew the question had been asked, and therefore answered. But this rhetorical question also makes an assumption that we should assume that the structure of the music is what makes it popular. A rhetorical question can be taken literally, and you shouldn't get upset if it is considered seriously and explored in full, which it was.

I also do not want to accept an assumption as being fact - I would leave the idea of the piece's popularity aside altogether, because I do believe that the reasons mentioned for its popularity have credence. And when we want to understand music, its history etc., these things that were mentioned are important. There was nothing trivial or trite about the answer - it just didn't meet the purpose you had in mind. I'm glad that answer was given.

Quote:
Telling me it's got a high ratio of chords to melodic or rhythmic complexity gives me absolutely zero information about the musical content and 100% opinion! It was proffered in a way that that should be a conclusion drawn from analysis not as a replacement for it.

It gives an answer to the question of its popularity, if your question was taken seriously rather than rhetorical - which it was. That 100% opinion is shared by many people, according to the research I did.

Anyhow, this confusion having been cleared up, let's get to the music.


Edited by keystring (09/07/13 07:12 PM)

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#2145968 - 09/07/13 07:18 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7647
Loc: New York City
Oh, gosh, I had no idea my post would be so controversial. crazy
I've decided I'm not going to weigh in further on this particular issue, because I'm not too crazy about talking with someone who has to resort to silly personal insults as a substitute for a coherent argument. Sorry, Richard. Think whatever makes you happy.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2145971 - 09/07/13 07:24 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11721
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: zrtf90

Although there have been no dissenting voices and no-one has thus far suggested alternatives after it's being put forward, I'd wait a while for more affirmation (did Jeff not say he'd be quiet until Sunday?) but if we are going ahead with it I think a fresh start would be in order. I for one have moved on from what I did in August of last year. I've probably learnt as much about theory and analysis as anyone else involved and what I've learned most of is how little I know and how much more there is!

Whatever then consensus, I'm in for the Moonlight sonat, if everyone is interested. I absolutely agree with the fresh start.

Quote:

I'd like to know who's following along and whether they're able (or if they want) to do a harmonic analysis. Some may only be interested in a practical discourse for learning the piece.

I'm interested in analysis. By "learning" the piece, is this the definition I'm discovering means "memorizing" music? Or perhaps how to go about practising it until it is mastered? If so, I think here we would venture into a whole other topic which goes into "how to practice a piece of music." That would be too broad, imho, if that's what is meant.

Quote:

The first thing I would do is go through the old checklist of composer, title, date (and all that those things imply), key signature, metre, tempo indications (and, again, their implications).

In other words - the general framework that we see immediately upon meeting the piece?

Quote:

Before looking specifically at the harmony I would look briefly at the scale, dynamics, colour, rhythmic diversity, major landmarks, thematic changes and see if there are any devices, figures or motifs that are discernable to the eye without necessarily understanding or 'hearing' what I'm seeing. In essence, what can I get out of the score from just a brief perusal?

Again an overview. However, I cannot completely divorce what is seen from what is heard. And I'm also not sure that I can divorce these completely from at least some chords, such as cadences for example.

I've highlighted "colour" - what does that mean?

Quote:

It might be worthwhile listening to the music a few times while following along with the score. Is everyone able to do this?

Would I be right in thinking that most, if not all, of us will be referring to the score rather than just listening to the music?

I'm thinking that with a diverse group, different combinations are good for different people depending both on where their strengths are, and what kinds of things they are trying to learn and strengthen. I think that how each person chooses to work will be up to them, but that all of us will be considering both how it sounds and how it is written in one manner or another.


Edited by keystring (09/07/13 09:53 PM)

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#2146042 - 09/07/13 10:08 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: PianoStudent88]
Valencia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 250
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Perhaps we could start a side thread, once we know what topics you are learning about. Perhaps something like Shey's Totally Stuck [though stuck no more] thread, where we proceed through music theory topics at a slow pace, where the idea is to give time to absorb and experiment with everything before moving on.

If you do feel comfortable asking questions (or even just shoot me a PM saying "topic X is completely unknown to me!" or whatever) here then we will know what to think about finding a way to explain, either here and now, or later, or on another thread.

What do you know about music theory already?

I'm just passionate about music theory and analysis and want to share it with and encourage as many people as possible.

If everything we're talking about is beyond most people on ABF, then I'd rather that we slowed down and filled in the gaps, even if it takes a while. But we only know what the gaps are if people ask questions or point them out to us.


Hi PianoStudent88, basically I only know what we went through in the beginning analysis thread, and really I'd have to go back and review all that before I can say I know it. I checked out the previous Moonlight Sonata analysis thread you posted the link to...just tried to read the first few posts. Hahaha...:P I've only looked at the first few bars and already there is some confusion. I did follow some of what people were saying, but i got confused when things like 'augmented fifths' came up. And then there was discussion about the second half of the third bar. I thought that chord was D major. But then some people thought it was f# minor with an augmented fifth. I have no idea how to understand it that way or what that even means.

Anyway my analyzing is very slow. And to do bar 4, I had to sit at the piano and figure it out that way. I haven't tried bar 5 yet.

I see in that other thread that you've already gone through the whole first movement and named the chords through the piece. So maybe I'll try to go through the piece this way slowly and I can check against that other thread to see how I do in that regard.

As a side note, the Schiff lecture on this Sonata said the first movement was written with the death scene from Mozart's Don Giovanni in mind. huh.

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#2146152 - 09/08/13 03:07 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: Valencia]
dire tonic Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1357
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: Valencia
...I thought that chord was D major. But then some people thought it was f# minor with an augmented fifth. I have no idea how to understand it that way or what that even means.


You’re quite right to wonder why one would argue between D/F# and F#m aug5 - it’s a contentious, probably pointless, distinction to try and draw in the context. Certainly D/F# would be fine by me. Perhaps this is a matter of listener perception rather than composer intention? And why would the latter ever hold sway over the former in a discussion about ‘appreciation’? More to the point; does the chord name make a whit of difference to the way the music is perceived?

I should say, while being forever wrapped up in fascination with chordal harmony, I have no interest at all in this broader kind of analysis although I know it’s often cited as useful for those engaged in it.

Incidentally, I’ve never believed that one needs to understand music on any kind of intellectual level to be completely swept away by it, so could anyone explain to me what purpose is served by a visual (score only) analysis of chord structure for those who are not able to hear or recognise or name the chords, or even the chords’ component notes, aurally?


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#2146225 - 09/08/13 08:54 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2409
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: polyphonist
Oh, gosh, I had no idea...
I don't believe that!

You've blundered on these forums with all your erudition and used it with all the diplomacy of a cricket bat on the side of the head. You're a Latinist; you're well capable of understanding and constructing multi-faceted and multi-threaded constructions in English. I cannot excuse your ejaculations as those of an incompetent fool - you're clearly not one.

With 2250+ posts in six months I could even excuse you not taking the time to think before making them and put it down to genuine ignorance. But I don't. I'm not the only one who's noticed so I don't ascribe it to paranoia.

My personal insults are retaliation. I'm just less discrete than you've been.

I'm also a Latinist and well capable of coherent argument. Where I fail, it's because I am an incompetent fool!

You're still welcome on the thread. Don't withhold valuable information from the others because you don't want to deal with me. This is not my thread - it's public domain.

It almost pains me to say it but you do have much to offer in these discussions. Just try not to direct your attacks at me and I'll make no more of it.
_________________________
Richard

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