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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Tchaikovsky is waiting...

Harmonic analysis for measures 79-90:

Key of E minor:

mea. 79 – iv vii/iv

mea.80 – iv ii6

mea. 81 – V64-53

mea. 82 – i6 ii6

mea. 83 – V64-53

Key of C Major:

mea. 84 – I ii65

mea. 85 – V64-53

mea. 86 (1st ending) – I

mea. 87 – I V42/V

Key of F Major:

mea. 86 (2nd ending) – V I6 IV

mea. 87 – V64-53

mea. 88 – vi IV

mea. 89 – vi V7

Key of D minor:

mea 90 – i6

This excerpt from Beethoven’s famous Piano Sonata in C Major, Op. 53 Waldstein, mm. 79-90 happens at the end of the exposition, transitioning from E minor to D minor. I say “E minor” rather than “E Major” (as the book states) because of the repeated E minor chords throughout mm. 79-83. Even so, transitioning from one sharp key to one flat key is a simple process for Beethoven as he simply does what any sane composer would and should do: cycle through the circle of fifths. Beginning in E minor, Beethoven shifts in measure 83 to the key of C Major, a surprising but effective modulation. Using the majorness of C to his advantage, the modulation to the key of F is accomplished through another sequence happening between measures 83-86 (second ending). As quickly as Beethoven shifts into the F Major he shifts back into D minor, again surprising but foreshadowed. In measure 97 Beethoven repeats (for the 4th time in a row) a cadential 6/4 in the respective key, after which he typically modulates o the appropriate key. In measure 88, however, Beethoven does not modulate but introduces a deceptive cadence in the key of F, a D minor chord (vi). Two bars later when the listener again hears the major V7 the audience is expecting the following chord to either 1) go back and reaffirm tonic or 2) hear another deceptive cadence. Well, Beethoven, being the crafty person he is, does both. His cadence, although seemingly a deceptive cadence (V going to vi) is actually the preparation for his new key, the key of D minor. But by the time the listener realizes this the point has come and gone, leaving the audience in awe of Beethoven’s glory.

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