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Monday, March 14, 2005

Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin No. 5 Menuet

This piece is a composite ternary piece, with each section feeling like a smaller binary piece. Our A section starts with a repeated phrase group, the first cadence being an Authentic Cadence in our original key then modulating to a what feels like a Half Cadence in our relative minor. We then have a contrasting section that elaborates on the minor half cadence moving to second phrase group of our A section. This phrase group acts as transitional, since it takes our key and some melodic material and runs with it. Eventually we reach up to our Dominant key of B major and then develop the key further for 8 measures. We then compliment this by a return of our G major and finally end on a PAC in our original key. I would classify the A section as a simple binary form, that is continuous, but overall it's closed as we finish in the original key. The B section begins as we return to the relative minor and repeat the end of the A section. We quickly move into new material, trying to cadence in our original key, but it gets extended out further and we introduce strange harmonies and add further and further dissonance, as we add more layers, changing density as more voices are added. We also grow in dissonance as our harmoinc progression ascends and tension keeps building and building. We return to earlier material at the end of this section, but it seems just an echo of itself since it only half completes before we move into a transition back to A. The B section was much longer than the a section, but didn't have as definate a feel as the A. Now our transition section is very interesting...we seem to have a straight return of A, but that's not the case. Yes the left hand seems familiar, and it is, but not from the A section, it is part of the B section. This is my favorite part of the piece as it feels like there is so much duetic tension that plays back and forth, building everything back to the A section. The return of the A is a bit different, as the harmony doesn't match the original exactly and we start in the second part. We build up to a final tremolo that descends through to the end through the final 8 measures and end on a PAC. I love the final 2 minutes of this piece because it just takes everythingg that has built up in the first part of the piece and melds it together wonderfully.

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