Brahms: Piano Quintet DR SMITH

This is a DR SMITH (Dynamics, Rhythm/meter, Structure, Melody, Instrumentation, Texture, Tonality, Harmony) analysis of the edexcel A2 Music set work (2013) - Piano Quintet in F minor (Brahms).

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  • Created by: alisha97
  • Created on: 12-06-13 19:41
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  • Brahms
    • Dynamics
      • Detailed performance directions - romantic feature.
      • Dramatic dynamic changes e.g. pp - ff in bars 18-23.
    • Rhythm/meter
      • Begins in compound duple (6/8). Sometimes changes to simple duple (2/4) e.g bars 13-22.
      • Dotted rhythmns e.g.  in 2/4 time sections such as bars 13-22.
      • Syncopated pattern in the 6/8 time sections as demonstratedin bars 3-5 violin 1 and viola parts.
      • Threes agains twos in the trio (piano plays in 3s and cello plays in twos).
    • Structure
      • Overall structure is ternary form (ABA) i.e. Scherzo-Trio-Scherzo.
      • The Trio has a ternary structure within itself (bars 194-225 sectoion A, bars 226-241 section B, bars 242-261 sectopn A).
      • Scherzo has 4 themes (A,B,C and Fugato). These themes keep coming back
        • Theme A is bars 1-12.
        • Theme B is bars 13-21.
        • Theme C is bars 22-37.
        • Fugato theme is bars 67-100.
        • Note: In exam give example of where thee themes return.
    • Melody
      • contrasting sections in Scherzo create 4 melodic themes.
        • Theme A  (bars1-12) - rising melody in Cminor. Syncopation. marked pp. Violin and viola play in octives at bar 9 andnd is imitated by piano.
        • Theme B (bars 13-21) - staccato notes separated by tiny rests. Marked pp. In C minor. Revolves around dominant.
        • Theme C (bars 22-37) - Loud (marked ff). march-like. strong second-beat accents (fz at bars 26-28).
        • Fugato Theme (bars 67-100) - fugal subjects, answers and at least 3 counterpoints. Fragmented melodies in bars 88-100.  Bars 88-100 melodies rise in a sequence.
          • Note: in exam identify the subjects, answers and counterpoints.
      • Bars 105-108 in Violin 2 the melody is augmented (the original melody is in bars 18-21).
      • Trio Section Melody
        • Section A (bars 194-225) - 16 bar melody in Cmajor on piano, then repeated by strings.
        • Section B (bars 225(2)-241) - legato melody with staccato bass (at bar 233 it is reversed).
        • Section A (bars 242-261) - low tessitura. First 11 bars of melody from first section returns.
    • Instrumentation
      • This is a Piano Quintet i.e. pianos with a sring quartet (2 violins, viola and cello).
      • Wide range used - particularly evident in bars 146-157.
      • For  professionals - very fast and technically demanding.
      • Strings marked 'pizzicato' at (pluck instead of using bow) e.g. bar 18. Marked 'acro' (return to bow) at bar 22.
      • Piano often plays in octives e.g. bar 63.
    • Texture
      • Mainly homophonic
      • Fugato from bars 67-100 which builds up into a 5 part contrapuntal texture in bar 84.
      • Includes imitation e.g.  violin and viola part at bar 9 imitateda crotchet later by piano.
      • Stretto e.g. bars 93-100 in cello and piano parts.
      • Sometimes monophonic e.g. opening 2 bars.
      • Sometimes play in unison e.g. violin 1 and viola in bars 13-18(1).
    • Tonality
      • Functional tonality i.e. tonality defines the structure.
      • Scherzo is in C minor but modulates to the mediant, Eb minor (bar 100) then Eb major (bar 109), then back to Eb minor at bar 125. This is a tertiary relationship/
      • Trio begins in Cmajor - modulates to B major in last 5 bars of section A.
      • Diatonic.
      • Section B of Scherzo (bars 13-21) is in the tonic major (C major).
    • Harmony
      • Often chromatic e.g. the first phrase (bars 1-5) build up to an augmented 6th chord (Ab-C-Eb-F#).
      • Use of pedal points e.g. tonic pedal in bars 1-12 on cello.
      • Plagal cadence(Iv-I) e.g. bars 253-254.
      • Tierce de Picardie e.g. 187-197 on C major.


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