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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Rondo what?

Beethoven decided to get a little crazy in the second movement of his Sonatina in F Major. He called it a Rondo, yet it contains elements of both five-part rondo, seven-part rondo, as well as moments of composite ternary. The form, when seen as a rondo, is A A B A B A C (trans) A (Closing material) but if looked at as a composite ternary form it could also be labeled: A B A* (closing material). What makes this more like a composite ternary rather than a regular old rounded Binary is that each of its sections has its own form. (AB[retrans]A) (ABA*) (A) Each of these section I believe can be closely
A B A*
compared to a rounded binary. The second section, the B, may even be called a Balanced Binary, however some might argue that there is not enough of a change to constitute such a calling

The reason I see both the five part and the seven-part rondo in this movement is because of the C section. When I first listened to it I thought that the C section was actually two separate sections (CDC*). However, seeing as there is no return of the A section between these two sections, and the piece is named a rondo, I had to reconsider my naming. I concluded that the C section (measures 37-66) must be one very large section of its own. This would make it more like a seven-part seeing as it is a very complete sounding section on its own. The thing that made me also think five-part was that it takes place in two separate keys, one of the distinguishing qualities of a five-part rondo.

However you want to label this pieces form, I see it as more of a hybrid of all these forms, there is one that that is undisputable. In each section there is a distinct transition section, measures 27-28 and measures 67-69. Both of these transitions are essential to the progression of the piece because it leads the contrasting sections back to the original tonic of the A section. Without this there would be no return to A and therefore no peace for audiences or theory teachers. Then again, Beethoven would never be so forgetful.

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