Brahms Piano Quintet in F minor

- Harmony

- Melody

- Texture

- Structure

- Tonality

- Rhythm and Metre

- Performing Forces and Handling

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  • Brahms
    • Harmony
      • C major chord at Bar 190 (end of scherzo)- tierce de picardie
      • Functional harmony
      • Chromatic at times- (middle section of trio
      • Final section of trio begins with V7 chord in 3rd inversion
      • Augmented 6th chord and Diminished 7th chord
      • Phrygian cadence at Bars 20-21
    • Melody
      • 3 contrasting themes
      • Theme 1- syncopated, arpeggio
      • Theme 2- staccato, repeated notes
      • Theme 3- mix of steps and thirds
      • Sequences and repetition- ascending sequence (Bar 9) and descending sequence (Bar 213)
      • Chromatic passages are frequent (Bars 166-169)- violin 1 moves up chromatically from E natural to A natural
    • Texture
      • Strings frequently written in octaves
      • Free imitation in Bar 5- polyphonic textures
      • Third theme in homophonic/ homo-rhythmic style
      • Five part texture using stretto
      • Trio generally uses melody-dominated homophony and introduces pedals
    • Structure
      • Scherzo and Trio structure- large scale ternary form
      • Scherzo has 3 main themes with a central Fugato section
      • Trio is in ternary form
    • Tonality
      • Tonic key is C minor
      • Tonic major key is used frequently
      • Related keys- G minor (dominant)
      • Distant keys like E flat minor (fugato)
      • Remote key of B major seen briefly in trio
      • Pedals reinforce key (tonic pedal at beginning of scherzo and end of trio)
      • Long dominant pedal from Bar 225 -233
    • Rhythm and Metre
      • Mainly compound duple but changes to simple duple (Bar 13)
      • Augmentation- semiquavers replaced by dotted crotchets
      • Syncopation used frequently (1st note of violin 1 and viola in Bar 2- enter on weak 6th quaver beat)
      • Distinctive march rhythm- semiquaver rests and staccato markings give dotted rhythm impression
      • Off-beat accents emphasised by sfz (3rd theme, bars 26-28)
    • Performing Forces and Handling
      • All instruments technically demanding/ virtuosic- piano part with densely textured, multi-note chords
      • Wide tessitura in all instruments
      • Pizzicato double stopping in violin 1 (Bars 18-20)


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