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Thursday, April 03, 2008

i have a really bad headache

The phrasing and motivic structure of the rondo theme in Beethoven's Piano Sonata in C minor Opus 13 (Pathétique) is not quite typical of a rondo theme. First of all, the theme does not really follow the antecedent-consequent form. There is a very distinct theme at the beginning of the theme that is not expanded upon further within the rest of the rondo theme (within measures 1-17). It is also not a typical rondo theme in the fact that there is not a regular four-bar hypermeasure structure. Though the first 8 bars separate nicely into two four-bar hypermeasures, measures 7-17 provide an expansion of this idea with repeated note values and therefore an increase in tension. The key motives in the rondo theme are as follows (and encompasses the chart on the following page in the workbook:

measures 1-4: a
measures 5-8: b
measures 9-11: b prime
measures 12-17: suffix

This rondo is a typical 7-part rondo. The first A section (the rondo theme) is in c minor. The following section, a transition (B section) is in the key of V--a typical key for the B section. The A2 section is once again in c minor and displays a return to the A theme. The C Section is in the key of IV. This section presents lots of rhythmically contrapuntal sections. The A3 section (the start of the recap) returns to c minor, and the piece stays in c minor through a D section, an A4 section, and then the suffix (coda).

In the coda, a transposed version of the theme from all of the A sections (measures 1-3.1, etc.) can be found in measures 202.4-204.1 and measures 204.4-206.1. Overall, this piece is a great example of a 7-part rondo as well as an interesting study for the opening rondo theme.

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