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#2146227 - 09/08/13 09:04 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
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Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2458
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: keystring
I'm interested in analysis. By "learning" the piece, is this the definition I'm discovering means "memorizing" music?
It means whatever 'learning' means to you.

I consciously memorise music before I play it. Not everyone does but practise does constitute automatic or involuntary memorisation (otherwise it's rather pointless outside of improving our sight reading).

Originally Posted By: keystring
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.
If someone can't make the stretch of a ninth in M16 I think it's worth addressing the issue here. If we're talking about the climatic phrasing in M24-28 I think it's reasonable to ascertain that the C# at the start of M25 is louder than the B# but should the crescendo make the following C# louder than the B# or just a shade quieter because of its position in the bar.

Also if someone raises an issue that's causing them difficulty playing it I'd be happy to field questions about it.

Originally Posted By: keystring
I've highlighted "colour" - what does that mean?

Colour=chromatics=non-diatonic notes=accidentals.

I was careful to note that this is what I do but let me put it another way.

The first thing I do is listen to the music if it's there for me to hear and look at the score if it isn't, for example, a piece of music that I'm about to sight read.

Many people are advised to look at the key sig, time sig, tempo indications at the start of the piece. For analysis I would suggest composer, title and approximate date would also be very valuable information (they mean something to me, they might not to everybody). What I would look for in the score are landmarks that I (personally) can identify and register. Some of those following may not notice, for example, that the E in M27 is the highest note in the melody and falls between a crescendo and decrescendo. That is significant for me and suggests it's probably the climax of the piece. For someone who doesn't sing that may be less significant. They may not even be looking for a climax.

Whether we hear what we're reading or whether we can't know from the score where we are in the music should not rule out participants still able to follow the music by sound and at least find the bar numbers associated with what they're hearing.

There's no point looking for things that don't mean anything. The greater our knowledge and experience, the more we can pick up from a perusal of the score. Your own checklist will grow over time.

Originally Posted By: dire tonic
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?
If we know that a baby has big eyes to make it appealing we can make cartoon characters with bigger eyes to make them more appealing. One of the things I want from analysis is to understand WHY I like the piece. What exactly is making the piece appealing. Will knowing that help me write better music that appeals more to me? I hope so.

Understanding the mechanics of what the music is doing helps me appreciate the effects better.

I can't hear the component notes of a chord very well. I know that you can home in on them with laser like precision. Seeing that there's a dissonance or chromaticism on paper helps me listen more carefully and pick it up eventually. It increases my aural skills.

Incidentally, have you always heard with such precision or has it improved from practise and/or training?

Originally Posted By: Valencia
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.
The last time we did this we flew through at an alarming rate. I would like to go slower on this iteration and use more of time for other things!

I'd love for you to keep stopping us, Valencia, and allow you to catch up or explain better what's going on and some among us enjoy the explanations. It helps cement things for ourselves, too. If you love this piece I think it'd be good for us to hear your comments on it.

Originally Posted By: Valencia
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.
The Guicciardi family believe it to be Beethoven's own requiem music after learning of his deafness and the morbidity of his thoughts at the time. He wrote his Heiligenstadt Testament around the time of this sonata in which he contemplated his own suicide. Countess Julia Guicciardi is the dedicatee.
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#2146241 - 09/08/13 09:38 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Offline
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deleted
Summary - could we stay with analysis and leave personal differences between people aside.


Edited by keystring (09/08/13 10:51 AM)

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#2146243 - 09/08/13 09:45 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
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Registered: 06/16/11
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Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: dire tonic
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?

If someone does not yet have this aural ability, is there anything you suggest they do to develop this ability?

The two parts of your statement/question seem unrelated to me. I agree with you that someone doesn't need to understand music intellectually to be swept away by it. But what does that have to do with a separate desire to do to a score-directed harmonic analysis, even if one can't consciously hear or aurally identify the parts of the analysis?

I used to be very score-oriented. I've consciously moved to listening to the piece first, and seeing how much I can say about my response to it and any elements I detect in the music. Then I move to the score. Harmonically, I don't consciously hear nor am I able to aurally name most of what I can visually identify from the score. But that's, in a way, part of the point. I learn things from studying the score that suggest things to listen for in the music. My hope is that my hearing will improve by this kind of guidance. (Honesty compels me to admit that it hasn't happened yet, but hope springs eternal.). But even if I can't hear what I analyse, it gives me pleasure to know about it. For example, I like seeing the regularity with which Clementi uses a certain kind of cadence pattern (to choose an example from my last extended harmonic analysis). I like knowing where the dissonant bits are in Bach's Prelude in C, and using them to shape my dynamics (you may laugh at my inability to hear those bits unaided, and/or at the use of dynamics in Bach, but such is the state of my musicality, or lack of it if you prefer). I like having the harmonic analysis that suggests where a composer is doing something fairly standard or where they are breaking new ground, or where they are being restrained or where they are being wild, and seeing if the score analysis matches up to what I can hear, or if I can develop my hearing to match my sight.

I don't know if you can imagine what it's like to really have such very minimal aural comprehension of basic music theory ideas as I have. For example, I don't consciously hear tonic to dominant movement. Heck, I can't even identify tonic. I can often identify major vs. minor key aurally, but I have no idea how I do it, and I can't do it reliably. I can't identify types of chords aurally, much less the root of an inverted chord. If I didn't examine the score, I would have no idea these things were even there to try to listen for. Perhaps I should be spending more time in listening Purgatory fruitlessly trying to develop my ability to hear these things (but how would I know they were there to be heard if I didn't examine the score?). But I do score analysis because I like knowing that these things are there, even if I can't consciously distinguish them aurally.
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#2146313 - 09/08/13 12:29 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
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I mentioned "listening Purgatory" and want to clarify. I like listening to music. I like thinking about how to put into words what I do hear. But if I try to listen for the standard kinds of things that other people seem to be able to hear, like "did the key change" or "have we returned to the original key" or "what kind of chord progression is being used (or even, did the chord change)", I can't tell if any of those things are happening (except for certain kinds of wrenching modulations, like a sudden move up a step... unlikely in most of the music I listen too). So that just feels exhausting and leaves me feeling stupid and frustrated and takes away from my pleasure in listening to music.
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#2146323 - 09/08/13 12:48 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: PianoStudent88]
dire tonic Offline
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Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Incidentally, have you always heard with such precision or has it improved from practise and/or training?

If I started out with any advantage it was a determination to mimic the music I loved at a time when information/scores/transcripts were rare. I toiled for hours on early efforts that would now take me minutes.
Practise and training are everything. And in terms of speed/accuracy there's probably no limit to how skilled one can become. I doubt if I'm realising more than 10% of my potential.

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Originally Posted By: dire tonic
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?

If someone does not yet have this aural ability, is there anything you suggest they do to develop this ability?


Nothing springs to mind. I'll have a think...

Quote:

The two parts of your statement/question seem unrelated to me. I agree with you that someone doesn't need to understand music intellectually to be swept away by it. But what does that have to do with a separate desire to do to a score-directed harmonic analysis, even if one can't consciously hear or aurally identify the parts of the analysis?


I was thinking there’s a blurring between various kinds of appreciation and that to some extent the intellectual feeds the emotional – there’s nothing new in that, it’s what drives us to understand although there are often times when I would rather just listen and remain intrigued by what I find to be beautiful than to try and deconstruct it.

Of course, I realise for some time you’ve been trying to intuit harmony, I don’t mean to make light of your determination or efforts. In fact, you’ve answered my question; you’re hoping for the penny to drop sooner or later and that’s why you continue with the harmonic analysis. That seems as good a reason as any. I don't know if it will work, or if a more efficient approach exists.

Quote:

I can often identify major vs. minor key aurally, but I have no idea how I do it, and I can't do it reliably.


If you can do it at all, that has to be a good start. I don't know how I do it either.

Quote:
I can't identify types of chords aurally, much less the root of an inverted chord.


I don't think there's anything unusual in that although it depends on how common the chord is. Roots can be difficult too.

Quote:

If I didn't examine the score, I would have no idea these things were even there to try to listen for.


Surely hearing a piece of music presents you with things to listen for whether you have the score or not?

Quote:

Perhaps I should be spending more time in listening Purgatory fruitlessly trying to develop my ability to hear these things (but how would I know they were there to be heard if I didn't examine the score?). But I do score analysis because I like knowing that these things are there, even if I can't consciously distinguish them aurally.


How about starting a thread inviting ideas to improve these aural skills? I suspect most PW members are in much the same boat, up or down-stream.

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#2146333 - 09/08/13 01:08 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
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Registered: 06/16/11
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Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: dire tonic
Surely hearing a piece of music presents you with things to listen for whether you have the score or not?

Yes, but not very many analytical things. On first several listens, I'm just listening. Eventually, I might start recognizing themes, for example after several listens I noticed that the slow part in the first movement of the Pathetique returns part way through. Now I wonder if that's the linchpin of the start of the recapitulation in a sonata-allegro form movement, so the next time I listen I might see if I can hear those parts: Exposition with first theme, second theme, repeat. Development, identifiable as the part that follows the part that repeated. Recapitulation, identifiable as the part that sounds like the beginning again. Key or modulation won't be any kind of aural guide for me in this most likely, except that I might be able to hear a slight dislocation at the start of the development, depending on how it changes key. But I won't be able to tell you what key it changed to. That's about all I can notice aurally.

[ETA: I know we're doing Moonlight, not Pathetique. Pathetique is just an example that I've listened to several times recently.]


Edited by PianoStudent88 (09/08/13 01:42 PM)
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#2146342 - 09/08/13 01:19 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
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Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3197
Loc: Maine
Another reason I like harmonic analysis from the score is that it shows me the notes aren't just random. Also it explains a lot of the accidentals in the score. Also, there's just an intellectual pleasure in knowing the structure of a piece even if I can't hear it.

I'm thinking about the suggestion to start an aural skills thread. In some ways this ties into a discussion I'm having elsewhere about harmony textbooks and their usefulness or uselessness -- or at least, their severe limitations. I fear the answer for aural skills might just be what you have said you did: a long apprenticeship of working things out aurally at the piano (at least, that's how I understood what you to be saying). And I'm really slow and incompetent at that and don't enjoy doing it. Which won't change the laws of the universe if that's the only way to improve, alas.
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#2146369 - 09/08/13 01:56 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
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Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3197
Loc: Maine
Developing aural skills thread started.
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#2146439 - 09/08/13 03:18 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
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Moonlight Sonata - A Starter
(Opus 27, No. 2 - 1st movement

This is for those who are relatively new to this - which was indicated a while back - for orientation. (Hoping this will work).

I looked back at the original thread on the sonata. I think it was done before we ever looked at musical form, sonata form - I see it starts off with chords right away. We've talked about starting fresh, and that seems like a good idea.

As per its name, this is a sonata, consisting of several movements (as sonatas do), and the first movement is in sonata form. Knowing this will help us orient in the piece, so here is a refresher on:

sonata form.
This is the form of the movement. It has three main parts:
a) Exposition - where two or more themes are set up
b) Development - where the composer gets creative with some of the material
c) Recapitulation - where we go back to the original themes. In the simplest earlier sonatas theme 1 is in the main key, theme 2 is in the dominant (V) key or relative major/minor on the exposition, and then in the Recap. both themes stay in the main key. In earlier simpler works, the Recap. is basically identical to the Exp. except for this difference in keys. Later on, the composer plays with the material in the Recap.


I'd go for finding the three sections first, and especially finding the Recap. The piece is in C# minor which you can get by the opening chords where we have C#m chords together with G#7 chords. The telltale accidentals of B# give a visual clue that we are probably in a minor key, gotten at a glance. Of course pieces modulate, and this one does.

You'll find the first theme coming in at the end of m. 5, in the melody, with the very familiar "dummmm da/daaaaaaa" (dotted 1/8, 16th, dotted half). The whole is introduced with broken chords setting the mood.

Scoot over to measure 42. We get some chords, and there is our "dummmm da/daaaaaaa". M. 42 & 43 have the same notes and rhythms as m. 5 & 6. Going through it a bit more you'll conclude that the Recap starts at m. 42, which also marks the end of the Development.

So that can get you started at least for a framework:
Exposition: at the beginning, of course.
Recapitulation: from m. 42 and on
I have the Development marked at m. 28. For those who know the piece, is there agreement?

Does this help for starters?


Edited by keystring (09/08/13 03:21 PM)

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#2146469 - 09/08/13 04:32 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: keystring]
Valencia Offline
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Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 256
Thanks keystring this is helpful.

So the dominant (V) of C sharp minor is....G#....major or minor?

If the first theme is in C sharp minor, then at the end of bar 5 here the first theme starts, I can see this is C# minor .But then what happens in bar 6 where the triplet changes to G#, D# and F#? (and then beneath it where there is the chord with the B#s in there.)

The theme will be repeated again in the exposition but in the key of the dominant (V) so that will be G# (major or minor)? But instead in Bar 10 I see the theme repeated with a G natural, B, and E. hmmm. what is happening here?

Then it repeats again at bar 24 only this time on a C# instead of a G# and the triplet is C#, A, F#.

I have to figure out what all these chords and keys are because I don't know off the top of my head.

Your guess that the development starts at bar 28 sounds good to me, since the musical form seems to change up there.

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#2146516 - 09/08/13 05:26 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Offline
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The dominant chord in a minor key is usually major, by raising the third of the chord by a half step. That is why you have the B# (G# B D# F# from the signature becomes G# B# D# F#) with that accidental. When you see a persistent accidental of the same note in a piece of music, it is often a clue that you might have a minor key and that you are looking at the dominant. Thus if a piece is in C minor, you'll see lots of B[nat] (natural sign) for G7, etc.

Quote:
But then what happens in bar 6 where the triplet changes to G#, D# and F#? (and then beneath it where there is the chord with the B#s in there.)

That is your G#7 which is the Dominant or V7 of C# minor (and of C# major).

Quote:
But instead in Bar 10 I see the theme repeated with a G natural, B, and E. hmmm. what is happening here?

He is starting to shift around in keys. He starts in Em, goes to a G7 resolving to C in m. 12, does various harmony things that you can work out by working out the chords, and then in m. 16 (starts at the pickup end of m. 15) we have theme 2. I have a note written there that it is in E minor and "C and A# in soprano are circling the B).

Quote:
I have to figure out what all these chords and keys are because I don't know off the top of my head.

I have them written in. In fact, one thing that I would do is precisely that - write in the chords. The way I learned to work on sonatas is to first find the main things if I can (as I outlined), and then to go through the chords. They will give you clues about keys and such.

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#2146617 - 09/08/13 08:50 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: PianoStudent88]
Greener Offline

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Registered: 05/29/12
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Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Another reason I like harmonic analysis from the score is that it shows me the notes aren't just random.


Yes, I like this aspect as well. How fun we are look at the Moonlight Sonata again. An appropriate time for me to start looking at the 2nd movement I think.

Please count me in. I'll interact as I'm able.
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#2146788 - 09/09/13 07:33 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
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The first movement is not actually in sonata form, that is, it doesn't have the repeat bars at the end of the exposition, there isn't a strong contrast between the first subject in tonic and the second in, er, usually the tonic major in a minor key piece, and where the development section should be exploring keys we have the first phrase now in the subdominant and then moving into the dominant preparation passage, M28-41.

There are certainly elements of sonata form in the movement but it has not fully employed the sonata principle.

This is the first sonata where Beethoven has not used sonata form for the first movement but has used it (the first movement) more as an introduction to the last movement, which is very clearly in sonata form. One of the important achievements of his compositional life was to turn the focus from the first movement, as Haydn and Mozart had done, to the finale. His Ninth Symphony is the culmination of this idea. The Moonlight is the first example (that I know of).

The Adagio is slow for cut time but it doesn't drag.

The four bar introduction is marked sempre pianissimo. Note the slurs in M3-4 showing how to articulate the close into tonic as we move through the flatted supertonic in M3, stepping down through the dominant in M4 to the end of the introduction in M5 and the establishment of the tonic key.

The entry of the first theme is marked PP. This is a whisper. All the dynamic markings in the movement are P, PP or crescendo and decrescendo either in words or via hairpins.
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#2146876 - 09/09/13 11:17 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Offline
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Richard - in my mind, the reason for looking at form is practical. It allows us to orient ourselves in the music. Otherwise it is an intellectual exercise which might be good for musicologists, but not practising musicians, which many of us are trying to become.

I see three sections. In the first some themes are introduced. In the second, there is a creative development. In the third, the original theme is repeated - there is creativity, but a repeat (with the creativity) of the first is definitely there.

If you don't accept the framework that I proposed, what would you suggest instead. Being able to orient in a piece is crucial, imho.

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#2146883 - 09/09/13 11:28 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Offline
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Originally Posted By: zrtf90

This is the first sonata where Beethoven has not used sonata form for the first movement but has used it (the first movement) more as an introduction to the last movement, which is very clearly in sonata form. One of the important achievements of his compositional life was to turn the focus from the first movement, as Haydn and Mozart had done, to the finale. His Ninth Symphony is the culmination of this idea. The Moonlight is the first example (that I know of).

I found this part interesting, for tracing the development of sonata form, and of music in general, over history.

I would think that the first movement still has the overall framework of sonata form in a general way, and that this helps us orient in the piece - but he is being more free with it. If we try to look for the very strict form, we won't find it, and that would be confusing. But I do think that seeing that form there in a general way is helpful for orienting.

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#2146944 - 09/09/13 12:56 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
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I'm not dissenting from your proposal but making people aware, if they're going to be learning what sonata form is, that this isn't it.

It's very close and has many of the elements but it isn't what's normally called sonata form. The form is quite unique and doesn't have a name that I'm aware of. You can give it one, if you'd like, or you can continue to call it sonata form if that's how you see it; I don't mind.

But in my analysis it doesn't follow the sonata principle and certainly isn't binary form, out of which sonata form grew.

I haven't returned yet to our earlier examination of this movement but I'm sure we pointed out there that this isn't sonata form.

I prepared this before your last post then had to rush off before posting it but yes, use whatever helps you orient yourself in the music.
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#2147001 - 09/09/13 02:34 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Offline
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1. We know that the form of music grew out of sonata form
2. We have the general idea of something that gets introduced - a creative thingy in the middle - back to the first thing that gets introduced
3. The interest is in the PRACTICAL application. How can we use this to help us understand music?

Quote:
but yes, use whatever helps you orient yourself in the music.

I am using whatever helps me explain the general shape of the music.

Could you give an alternate explanation for the general shape of the first movement? This is neither rhetorical, nor argumentative. We need a general shape. If it doesn't have these three sections as I pointed out, what do you see? If it has to have a name, what name would you give it? Does it need a name?

What I see is that at one point there was a framework of sonata form which was rather rigid, and that composers moved on from there. Knowing of this general framework is very helpful for orienting in music.

In fact, in my studies of music history, I am finding every framework that ever gets constructed is always being changed continually.

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#2147025 - 09/09/13 03:25 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: keystring]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
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Posts: 3197
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Originally Posted By: keystring
1. We know that the form of music grew out of sonata form

Wait, what? All music? I don't agree. I would say that a multi-movement structure called sonata emerged, and eventually the first movement of that structure came to have a form which we call "sonata-allegro form", and that this form (sonata-allegro form) was used in more than just sonatas -- e.g. in string quartets, in symphonies, etc. And as time wore on, just as the sonata-allegro form had evolved from previous antecedents, so it itself evolved, so we start to find pieces that stretch and explore the limits of sonata-allegro form, and we find some pieces whose first movement is not in sonata-allegro form. This is not new with Beethoven; Mozart's Sonata K. 545 also does not have a first movement in sonata-allegro form. It may be new with Beethoven, or with his contemporaries, that composers started to frequently push the form's boundaries in the first movement, or create first movements in other forms. But I wouldn't say that just on the basis of this one Moonlight movement in one sonata.

Just as a note of clarification, because the name can be misleading: a movement in sonata-allegro form need not be part of a sonata, and need not be at an allegro tempo. I'm using the full name "sonata-allegro form" as a way of distancing from the term somewhat, to avoid any equation that "sonata" = "sonata form".

I may be misunderstanding you. An alternative that occurs to me is that perhaps you meant the form of this first movement of the Moonlight Sonata grew out of sonata-allegro form. I'm not entirely sure of that. If this is what you meant (and I'm not sure it is), but if it is, why do you say this?

Anyway, have I hit on your meaning at all above? Or can you clarify?

Quote:
2. We have the general idea of something that gets introduced - a creative thingy in the middle - back to the first thing that gets introduced
3. The interest is in the PRACTICAL application. How can we use this to help us understand music?

What you describe in #2 is also related to ternary form (ABA, or in this case ABA'). The move to the dominant and then back to the tonic relates all the way back to binary form (AABB).

When we get to the third movement, which I understand (by report, not by examination) is in sonata-allegro form more strictly understood, it will be interesting to compare the use of themes and keys in that movement back to this first movement.

I find your outline of the structure to be helpful.

I also find it useful to look at places where the structure of this movement is different from what I understand to be more typical sonata-allegro form.

Typical sonata-allegro form:
Exposition:
Theme 1 introduced in the tonic.
Theme 2 introduced; contrasts with theme 1 and by the end of theme 2, is in the dominant.

Development:
Themes 1 and 2 appear in transformed ways, in a variety of keys,
working their way back to the dominant, which announces the:

Recapitulation:
Theme 1 in the tonic.
Theme 2 in the tonic.

The Exposition is (always? typically?) repeated. In earlier works, the Development and Recapitulation were also repeated (as a unit: Dev Recap Dev Recap). As the Development and Recapitulation grew in length they ceased to be repeated. The repeats are all there (or not there) in order to achieve balance in the piece.

Whether or not we call the first movement a type of, or outgrowth of, sonata-allegro form, it contrasts with the central definition in at least the following ways:
  • Theme 2 does not strongly contrast with Theme 1.
  • Theme 1 returns after Theme 2 to end the first part.
  • The first part is not repeated.
  • The first part wanders through more keys than just tonic and dominant.
  • The middle part seems to be entirely new, rather than variations and transformations of Theme 1 or Theme 2. (There may be a subtle connection that I haven't seen -- but if so it's a much more subtle connection than I'm used to seeing in Development sections.)

I'm not terribly fussed about what form to call this movement; if sonata-allegro form isn't liked I'd call it a type of ternary form with coda.

I'd need to see many more movements and look at the ways the basic structure of the sonata-allegro form structure is pushed and pulled and transformed to come to conclusions about what merits the term "sonata-allegro form." I would argue for a flexible use of the term because after all the term is meant to codify a common pattern that composers both used and (pardon the term) developed, and I doubt that only things that fit the exact pattern are of interest. For example I'd like to be able to call something a sonata-allegro form movement even if it has three themes, or if for balance for some reason it does without the repeat of the Exposition, or if the Recapitulation returns in the subdominant for Theme 1 before modulating to the dominant for Theme 2 (thus allowing the Recapitulation to be an exact repeat of the Development, except for pitch), and other such variations.
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#2147027 - 09/09/13 03:27 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
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Richard, could you state your definition of sonata-allegro form? Where do you see this first movement not fitting that definition? Do you agree with the parts and themes that keystring has outlined, even if you wouldn't label them Exposition/Development/Recapitulation? If not, what parts and themes would you identify instead?
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Ebaug(maj7)

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#2147038 - 09/09/13 03:39 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
Polyphonist Online   content
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I would not say that the first movement of 27/2 is in sonata form. However, an overall ternary form shape is implied. As long as one realizes what the themes are and how they are developed, it's not really necessary to attempt to break the movement down into sections. This is the Moonlight Sonata. The moonlight doesn't stop and start; it is continuous, shining down onto the ripples of water slowly moving across the otherwise still lake.
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Polyphonist

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#2147044 - 09/09/13 03:52 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
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Noticing sets of measures that are different from other sets of measures in various ways, does not imply that one will make a break between the sets, or treat them in other than a unififed way.

Even moonlit ripples on a lake usually experience variations in the ripples at different places in the lake, even while maintaining an overall rippled effect.
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#2147052 - 09/09/13 04:06 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Offline
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The main point about the first movement is:
- We have two themes in a first section
- We have stuff happening in a middle
- The first theme comes back totally as it was in the first, in a final section

Whatever we call it, this is helpful in orienting in the piece. Other things that help is recognizing themes, watching those themes reappear, often with variations and in other keys. These broad outlines help in understanding and remember the piece, and gives an idea of what to do with it. I was trying to get at the broadest of outlines, especially for anyone who may not have done much in the area of outline. This is what I understand "form" to be, whether or not that form is given a name.

By the way, it was named "moonlight" later, but Beethoven didn't call it that.

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#2147076 - 09/09/13 04:45 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: PianoStudent88]
keystring Offline
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Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Originally Posted By: keystring
1. We know that the form of music grew out of sonata form

Wait, what? All music? I don't agree. I would say that a multi-movement structure called sonata emerged, and eventually the first movement of that structure came to have a form which we call "sonata-allegro form", and that this form (sonata-allegro form) was used in more than just sonatas -- e.g. in string quartets, in symphonies, etc.

I was probably being too general, and I have not studied every form or period at this stage. I was going by what I read - I think it was in the RCM book - that states that this general outline ended up coming into other types of music. I found the general idea that you have themes, they get developed, you go off on a tangent, you go back to those themes in some way - this helped me orient in music and get a kind of "broad picture".

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#2147143 - 09/09/13 07:03 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
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Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Richard, could you state your definition of sonata-allegro form?
Sonata Form, Sonata-Allegro-Form. It's not a fixed form, like binary or ternary form. It's structure is defined by it's tonality.

At the time of the Moonlight sonata and the classical period as a whole:
A sonata may or may not begin with an introduction.
It may have one subject in the tonic or a group of subjects.
It may or may not have a bridge passage to the second subject.
It may have one subject in the dominant in a major key sonata or in the tonic major (usually) in a minor key sonata or there may be a group of subjects contrasting with the first.
It may or may not have a codetta.
It will have a development section where something (usually from the exposition) will be developed through a variety of keys, expanded, contracted, modified, etc.
It may or may not have a passage of dominant preparation or other codetta.
It will recapitulate the first subject or group of subjects in the tonic key and they may or may not have changed after the development.
If there is a bridge passage it will have changed from the first half as it no longer has to change to the dominant. Schubert cannily began the recapitulation in the subdominant so that he could leave the bridge passage unchanged and still end up in the tonic!
It will recapitulate the second subject or group of subjects first heard in the dominant.
It may or may not have a coda.

It grew out of binary form, which is defined as two halves (not mathematical), each repeated.

In Bach's day it began in tonic and moved to the dominant where it closed the first half. The second half typically explored more keys usually leading to the subdominant and then the material first heard at the end of the first half (in the dominant) would be repeated (rhymed) in the tonic. This satisfies the listener.

As the composer got more adventurous in the development more and more of the material in the first half needed to be rhymed in order to for the listener to realise this is the end and the story has concluded satisfactorily, so to speak.

By the time of Haydn and Mozart the whole of the first half, now called the exposition, had to be repeated and this we now call the recapitulation.

It is the contrast in keys (and the material therein) in the expositon and their reconciliation in the tonic that form the essence of the sonata principle.

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
I would not say that the first movement of 27/2 is in sonata form. However, an overall ternary form shape is implied. As long as one realizes what the themes are and how they are developed, it's not really necessary to attempt to break the movement down into sections. This is the Moonlight Sonata.
This is good. It is a unique movement that doesn't need a name.

For the purpose of guiding newcomers through a complex piece like this it may be helpful to give it a broader structure and a loose ternary form seems to me to fit the bill.

Without trying to pre-empt the analysis by establishing the form before we've looked to see what form it has we can return to the orignal analysis (I've just worked through this again, it may differ a little, but I've not had time to go back to the first thread yet):

M1-4 Introduction
M5-8 first theme in tonic
M9-14 same theme going through E minor and C major (wow!) and closing into
M15-18 B minor then B major with a new theme
M19-25 answer/close of the second theme closing into the subdominant, F#.
M23-28 first theme in subdom. and climax at M27
M28-42 Dominant preparation passage
M42-45 recap of M5-8
M46-51 recap of M9-14 this time in tonic
M51-55 recap of M15-18 in tonic
M55-59 descent to coda
M60-69 coda.

Were this in sonata form we might expect the second theme in the tonic major, C# Major, or perhaps the relative major, E Major, but definitely not E minor or the rather remote C major.

Here the second theme is in B major after the first theme has already been developed.

None of these keys are predictable (based on the prevailing key schemes) and the long dominant preparation (not unusual for Beethoven) is required to settle the listener and prepare for the return to tonic. From the recap. in M42 it is more predictable in nature.

I'm gathering material for the Grieg Recital and coaching newbies through the tech. side. I'm tired from a long day and haven't proof read thoroughly. I've not even sat at the piano today. frown

I'm happy to field questions on this but may not answer until tomorrow!
_________________________
Richard

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#2147147 - 09/09/13 07:10 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
Greener Offline

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Registered: 05/29/12
Posts: 1267
Loc: Toronto
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 ... if we are going ahead with it I think a fresh start would be in order


Will anyone be needing the score? I know I will. Here is:

Moonlight Sonata - 1st Movement Download

Time to finally secure this 1st movement and hopefully begin looking at the second. This is where it all started for me over just one year ago. Funny, it seems like it should have been much longer. Incredible to think how much has been discussed in that time.

I would enjoy looking at the harmony further. Short of labeling all the chords again. Of course we covered this in the original thread. I'm certain I could use some brushing up though, and always enjoy looking at chords.

I believe there is more to discuss though (harmony) then just the chord names. Like, how the harmony develops the drama of the movement etc.
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#2147210 - 09/09/13 09:12 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
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Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2458
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: keystring
I had tried to give a very general sketch...Maybe it doesn't sound sophisticated and maybe even babyish, but that was deliberate to make it accessible
...The purpose of mine was to give a first point of orientation.

Yes, it did that and it seems to have helped Valencia as well. There was nothing wrong with that.

In my post I pointed out that it had elements of sonata form but didn't fit exactly. This wasn't intended as a correction or even as a qualification. In fact, I wasn't really responding to your discussion with Valencia, but simply starting off my own approach, yours having been gotten out of the way as it were.

I've read and re-read the posts and I still don't see an area of disagreement.

One of the points I wanted to draw out was the significance of this not being in sonata form. It was the first time he'd started a sonata in this way and I think this was really very important. He did this after realising his ensuing deafness, was contemplating suicide, was turning more to composer than performer and beginning to realise the elemental nature of his character and his worth in the world as a great artist. He took the whole sonata 'thing' as he inherited it from Haydn and Mozart and over the course of the next twenty five years stood it on its head. This sonata was the start of that.

Until this time the sonata began with a fast movement in sonata form, so common did it start fast that it is often still called sonata-allegro form. The second movement was usually a slow Adagio and/or a minuet (as a hang-on from the suite) and an intellectually light Rondo or fast finish. This one not only didn't start with sonata form, it didn't even start with a fast movement. It started with an Adagio. It was written more in the style of a prelude or introduction than as a sonata movement. But the last movement is in full blown sonata form with a very rare (for Beethoven) Presto indication and one powerful, intellectually involving, and tragically emotional outburst. The sonata has been stood on its head here and that is very significant. He even gave this and its sibling work the title quasi una fantasia, like a fantasy.

For the true import of this it was important for me to point out that this is not actually in sonata form, however many of the elements were present. I didn't intend to negate anything you'd said and, I repeat, I still don't see that I did.
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Richard

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#2147238 - 09/09/13 09:40 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
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Registered: 06/16/11
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Originally Posted By: zrtf90
yours having been gotten out of the way as it were.

I don't understand this. I don't see that anyone's post has been gotten out of the way. I prefer to learn from and build on all the posts.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#2147246 - 09/09/13 09:58 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Offline
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PS88, I got out of the way. I am behind in everything, and it was getting too confusing. My own posts were not coming out so I decided to wait for if and when I can regroup.

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#2147251 - 09/09/13 10:03 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
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Registered: 06/16/11
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Loc: Maine
keystring, I found what you posted about the structure to be very helpful in getting my thinking started on this movement.
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Ebaug(maj7)

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#2147257 - 09/09/13 10:15 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
Polyphonist Online   content
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By the way, speaking of harmony - about the chord in the second half of bar 3, which was discussed briefly earlier in the thread: it is neither D major or an f#aug5, but simply a Neapolitan 6, very common in Beethoven. The chord is quite daring harmonically, for the time in which this was written, and therefore it is a way of quickly building tension, which is gradually released in the following bar.
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Polyphonist

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