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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Roll over Beethoven!

Beethoven's Pathetique sonata features an augmented sixth chord in measure 46. It is a Fr6, that is preceded by a IV6 and of course followed with the V. All the tendency tones resolve as we are told they should. This progression makes the bass line move down in chromatics, c c flat b flat. Of measures 44 to 47, the only root position chord Beethoven used is the V, which serves to intensify the dominant even more. As a performer, I would choose to add even more emphasis to this cadence, either by slowing down when approaching the V, or by crescendoing to the V. The chord on the second half of measure 49 is not an augmented sixth chord. Instead, it is a V65/IV. The G, or mi, would need to be flattened, me, for it to be able to be considered an augmented sixth. Instead, the g natural acts as the leading tone to the tonicized A flat. This chord serves as something of a fake out to the listener, as it is on the second half of a measure that begins on a one. The listener would hear the tonic, giving them a settled feeling, and then be disrupted by a new chord being (temporarily) tonicized. The passing tone B natural in measure 49 also works to confuse the listener as to what ti-do progression should focus on. Beethoven's a trickster like that. If you can keep your focus while listening, you should give it a try, I mean it's super famous for a reason folks.

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