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Monday, March 14, 2005

Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin, NO. 5 Menuet

This piece is in composite ternary form, and the first two thirds are fairly straightforward. Towards the end, however, the lack of a clear restatement of either A or B makes the last section difficult to analyze.

In general, the piece I perceive the piece as being broken down thusly:

A1 B Trans A2
a b c d c (B+A) e f
Measures: 1 9 33 49 65 73 81 104

A1 is a simple, closed binary form.
-a is a contrasting progressive period, moving from G to B
-b can be divided further into two sections: the first 16 measures which seem expository
and measures 24 to 32, which are developmental. Both subdivisions are phrase groups.

B is a rounded binary form.
-c is a phrase group because it never really cadences. It has two symetric phrases, each
eight measures in length.
-d develops the material presented in c by introducing strange harmonies. Ravel creates
a feeling of tension and release in this section by using ascending harmonic progressions
which then descend, producing relaxation for the return of c in measure 65.
-c is basically the first half of its former self when it returns.

The transition is very interesting - I labeled it as B+A because material from both sections is basically just played at the same time - the A section is played by the right hand and the B section is played by the left hand. This produces a lovely duet feel.

A2 is A again only in the consideration of the melody because the harmony is siginificantly altered from the original section, and therefore this could be considered developmental. The return of the melody is actually similar to the b section of A1.

f represents a further alteration of the A melody. The left hand texture is changed significantly to an arrpegiation. The piece closes with a terminative section in which Ravel uses a descending pattern as well as tremolo to bring the piece to a nice close in the last 8 measures.

This piece made me feel very relaxed, largely because the dynamic level was so low. It also flowed well because there were few definite cadences. Instead, Ravel seemed to play with the harmony often in a continuous manner that contributed to this flow.

4 comments:

Spoonaloompa said...

Man... I'm sorry the measure numbers didn't work out. I promise that was a fairly well-organized table when I put it in.

John Styx said...

I understood what you were talking about perfectly, but I felt that you separated things too much, this piece didn't feel as compartmentalized as you make it out to be, but maybe that's because I prefer a broader harmonic approach and longer phrases...anyway, this is incredible work!

John Styx said...

I understood what you were talking about perfectly, but I felt that you separated things too much, this piece didn't feel as compartmentalized as you make it out to be, but maybe that's because I prefer a broader harmonic approach and longer phrases...anyway, this is incredible work!

katie said...

Matty-

GOOD JOB! I just wanted to comment on how thorough you were. And I really liked how you made your log a different format. It was a welcome break from trying to decipher paragraph after paragraph of form and analysis... lol