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Monday, February 28, 2005

Sonata in E Major - Op. 14 No.1 - Beethoven

This is a difficult piece to analyze because the sections are rarely divided clearly. Instead, Beethoven uses the end of one phrase to begin another - in a word, ellision. Rather than finishing cadences, the expected resolution of one cadence is the first chord of the next phrase.

In broad terms, this segment is closed, rounded binary form.

The A section begins with an expository double parallel period that lasts for the first 23 measures. The two phrases of each half are asymetric. The first phrase is four measures long and ends with a perfect authentic cadence, and the second phrase, after being extended, is eight measures long and ends with a half cadence.

The first phrase of the second half begins with the first four notes of the main theme, then modulates to F# major. The second phrase finishes six bars later with a perfect authentic cadence in F# major. Because it modulates to F# major, it's closed rather than open (in my opinion).

Then comes the B section, which is comprised of three short expository sections. At first listen, they sound as though they function as transitions or developmental sections, but the material first presented in this section is used again throughout the movement. Also, they lead nowhere and hardly develop the main theme.

The first section lasts from measure 23 to measure 38 and is a double parallel period. The next section lasts until measure 46 and is a period in B major. Then comes the third section which lasts until measure 57 and, through an ellision, is linked to the return of the A section, which is the last four measures of this segment - the rounding begins in measure 57.

Structural phenomena and cadences are far too numerous to explain in any detail.

3 comments:

katie said...

I agree that this piece was hard to analyze.... I had a hard time deciding where each section began and ended as well. I also agree that the A section is closed. good job matty rosensteele!

Martin Buber said...

I mean, this is open and whatnot, but the way I see it, since it has no repeats, and the binary repeats the A, I see two eight measure ant and cons phrases (HC-PAC) in e minor and then I see the same beginning and a sort of A' (again with two 8-measure phrases) which in the second phrase definitely modulates to G and ends on a HC even there! It's at measure 33 that I think the second part begins. And since it's modulated to the relative major, I'd call this thing open.

MeatPopsicle said...

I have to agree. The final measures of the A section definately modulate to the dominant of the B section. The C major chord is way out of place, but is well inline with the tonal instability of the rest of the piece.