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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Sonata in C major, Op. 53 “Waldstein”, first movement: Allegro con brio

Roman Numeral Analysis: m. 78-90

m. 78-83: [III] [E major]: I, V7/iv, iv64, V7/iv, iv, ii6 diminished, V864-753, i, i6, iv, V864-753

m. 84-87: [III]: I: I, I6, IV, V864-753, [1st ending: I]: I, [second ending: IV]: I6, IV, V864-753

m. 88-90: [IV]: vi, I6, IV, V864-753, I

The first movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in C major, Op. 53 “Waldstein” exhibits sequencing of melody and harmony in m. 82-90. The harmony follows a falling thirds pattern, going from E minor (m. 82) to C major (m. 84), skipping A minor, then finally arriving at D major (m. 90). The same quarter note-eighth note-eighth note etc. melody with the first run of it starting from the third beat of m. 80 going to m. 83, is used and transposed to fit diatonically within all of the harmonic changes all the way up to m. 90. The melody is played a total of three times.

In context of the piece, the melodic and harmonic sequence functions to seamlessly transition the piece from E major to F major to start the development. In doing so, Beethoven still manages to maintain much melodic and musical interest in this excerpt. The change from C major to F major the second time the section is repeated is unexpected and interesting. Therefore, the performer should make much musically speaking out of the shift from C major to F major (m. 86-90). Beethoven writes in crescendos that go into softer markings piano (m. 86-87) and pianissimo (m. 88-89). These dynamics add to making the moment musically interesting, so they should be observed, almost exaggerated in the crescendo markings to the piano or pianissimo markings.

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