Art Blogging Contest

Please vote for Musical Perceptions in the Art Blogging Match of Doom

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mozart's Piano Sonata in C Major

Even though the title of the piece says C major, this excerpt is in its relative minor, good ol' A minor. Here's my analysis, if a chord is wrong, my bad.

mm. 41: i64
mm. 42: V
mm. 43: i6
mm. 44: V64; V6
mm. 45: i; iidim; III; V6/iv
mm. 46: iv
mm. 47: N6; V64-53#
mm. 48: i

Okay, so clearly the important part of this excerpt is our friend, the Neapolitan sixth. But I'll get there in a moment. The left and right hands alternate motives in the first 3 measures and then the right hand moves to a stunning run of sixteenth notes for mm. 44-46. It is this run that builds up to the N6 chord. Some quick movements of chromaticism within the run and the bass line switching from bass clef to treble clef really help to bring out the growing tension of the piece. The Neapolitan sixth (F-D-B flat) comes at the end of the run at the beginning of mm. 46 and is the climax of this excerpt, bringing about a startling feel that is unexpected. It caught me off guard when I was listening to it the first time through. And to throw the listener off just a bit more, Mozart does not resolve this N6 chord in the usual way. Ra (B flat) resolves typically down to Ti (G#) via Do, but Fa and Le go their own way a little. Fa (D) in the bass, resolves to Sol (E) and Le resolves to Re (B natural) via Mi (C#). Plus, the left hand switches back to bass clef from treble clef in between the N6 and V64-53 chord. This then resolves immediately (almost just as suddenly as the N6 crept up) to a i chord, ending this little snippit with a nice cadence. But it's the combination of the N6--V64-53 chord along with the switching clefs in the left hand that makes this measure really stand out and add some life to the piece.

No comments: