Septet in Eb, Op. 20: movement I - Beethoven

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Harmony

-          German augmented 6th on Cb - bar 7

-          Functional harmony with perfect/imperfect cadences

-          Imperfect cadence – bar 7-8

-         Perfect cadence bar 28-29

-         Introduction ends with a dominant 7th chord, leading into the Exposition with a tonic chord.           Same in bar 80

-          Mainly diatonic with root/1st inversion chords, some 2nd inversion

-          Chromatic passing note – bar 16

-          Harmonic rhythm increases on approach to perfect cadences

-          Adds tension with pedal notes – bar 17 Bb peal, tonic pedal – bar 19, bar 140 dom pedal              in viola

-          Classical feature of  Ic – V – I bar 38 and 97 

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Instrumental Writing

-          3 wind, 4 strings including double bass

-          Violin and viola use double stopping – bar 29 (violin) and bar 96 (violia)

-          Clarinet was hardly used before the Classical era

-          Viola is generally used for accompaniment bar 19 and 61 broken chord, alberti bass-like

-          Violin and clarinet carry main melodic interest

-          Violin writing is not high in tessiture, apart from bars 217-218

-          There is no pizzicato writing but much staccato to keep it light

-          Much dynamic contrast fp (bar 12) and sf (bar 18) 

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Melody

-          Mainly diatonic

-          Chromatic scale bars 25-26 in the first subject

-          In bar 68 chromaticism is used to form a melody

-          Motif 1 is introduced at bar 8 in the introduction and it’s used throughout the piece with a lower auxillery note, e.g. it is used for a 3 note anacrusis opening of the Exposition

-          This is motif is also inverted in bar 29

-          The 2nd subject theme at bar 53 is made up of intervals of a 4th before moving conjunct

-          It continues at bar 61 as a descending passage of quavers, slurred in pairs

-          The final motif in the second subject, bar 86, is a descending sequence, of staccato notes making it march-like

-          All motifs played in violin

-          There is a wide variety of ornamentation used, bar 28 – turn (violin), bar 85 – trill (clarinet)

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Rhythm and Metre

-          Slow Adagio introduction in 34

-          Main section is lively, in common time, simple duple

-          Introduction is rhythmically more difficult: demisemiquavers, sextuplets and double dotted rhythms

-          1st subject theme: 3 quavers leading to a longer minim tied to a quaver

-          Most themes begin with an anacrusis: bar 19, bar 102, bar 130

-          Continuous triplet rhythms, bar 76-79, 211-214

-          Syncopation at bars 45-46

-          Periodic phrasing 

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Structure

-          Sonata form with a slow introduction

-          The extract is taken from a six movement piece in the style of a Serenade

-          Long coda, usual for Beethoven

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Texture

-          The slow introduction begins with tutti homophonic chords, e.g. bar 1.

-          There is monophony in bar 2 (solo violin)

-          Mainly melody dominated homophony

-          Antiphonal exchanges between clarinet/bassoon and the violin, bars 47–50

-          Exposition is predominantly accompanied by broken chords (bar 19 viola)

-          Octave writing between the clarinet and bassoon (bar 128), or 6ths (bar 140). Octaves between five instruments at the start of the Development, bar 113.

-          Homophonic/homorhythmic writing at bars 50-53 and 86-97

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Tonality

-          Functional, modulates to related keys

-          Generally Eb major throughout with a brief visit to the tonic minor bar 10

-          Traditional sonata form: 1st subject in tonic, 2nd sub in dominant – bar 53 and recap in tonic – bar 188

-          Development: C minor (bar 120), Ab major (bar 122), F minor (bar 132)

-          Dominant pedal from 140 until recapitulation

-          2nd subject in recap is in the tonic  

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