Sonata Pathétique - Beethoven

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  • Created on: 18-11-17 10:19
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  • Sonata Pathétique - Beethoven
    • Sonata form
      • This set piece is the the 1st movement in 'Sonata Pathétique' so it is in sonata form. There are 3 main sections in sonata form:
        • The 1st section is the exposition.
          • This is where the main themes and subjects are stated.
          • It usually ends in a different key to the one it started in (however it's a related key).
          • The exposition is often repeated so the listener can become familiar with all the subjects before the development occurs.
        • The 2nd section is the development.
          • This where the main themes and subjects from the exposition are developed.
          • It's usually the most interesting part as it has constant changing drama.
          • The variants of the subjects are  in different keys - the development usually modulates to numerous keys (which aren't the tonic or dominant)
        • The 3rd section is the recapitulation.
          • This section pulls it all together and 'recaps' the themes and subjects from the exposition.
          • The subjects are usually changed a bit - some ornaments might be added, they could be shortened or they could be in a different key.
          • The recapitulation normally balances the exposition. Then the whole movement usually ends with a coda.
    • First subject
      • Bars 11-50
      • Is nicknamed the 'rocket theme' as the right hand part regularly ascends in pitch which mimics a rocket ascending in the sky.
      • Is in C minor (the home key).
      • The left hand plays tremolo octaves which forms a tonic pedal on C. It also creates a murky bass - which creates tension and sounds like a dramatic build up to a take off (like a rocket).
      • The articulation is mainly staccato which makes the music sound more jumpy and suspenseful.
      • The dynamics start off piano then they crescendo to forte. Sforzandos are used.
      • The tempo of this subject is allegro so the pace is fast. This adds the the exciting 'rocket' mood.
      • The rhythm is fairly quick tremolos in the left hand and quavers, crotchets and minims in the right hand.
    • Second subject
      • Section A (bars 51-88)
        • In Eb minor which is unusual because when the piece begins with a minor key, it modulates to the relative major.
        • The right and left hands cross each other as a mixture of bass clef and treble clef are used in both hands. This shown by the 'sotto' marking at the beginning of bar 51.
          • The crossed hands creates a  sense of a dialogue and an antiphonal effect.
        • A dominant pedal is created by Bb semibreves which are played in the left hand.
        • There is contrast in the articulation: some parts are legato while others are staccato.
        • Multiple ornaments are used to decorate the melody. Appoporigias  (grace notes) and mordents are used.
      • Section B (bars 89-132)
        • Is now in the expected key of Eb major - the relative major of C minor.
        • The bass part uses Alberti bass. This where broken chords are played in the order: root, fifth, third, fifth.
        • The melody is mainly made up of broken, quaver chords.
        • The left and right hand parts start to move chromatically away from each other (the right hand ascends while the left hand descends in pitch).
          • As the  pitch range widens, the music crescendos from piano to forte - with a climax at bar 98.
        • Bars 89-100 are repeated at bars 101-103 with an altered end from bars 110-113. Then bars 113-121 consist of a 4-bar phrase which is repeated once.
        • At the end, the left hand reverts to the simple bass part in section A. While the right hand plays a descending scalic melody.
      • Overall, the entire 2nd subject is more lyrical than the first. The sharp contrast between the 2 subjects creates excitement and suspense.
    • Classical and Romantic music
    • Development
    • Recapitulation


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