String Quartet in Eb 'The Joke' - Haydn

String Quartet 'The Joke', movement 4 - Haydn

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  • Created by: Annie
  • Created on: 21-01-11 10:02

String Quartet 'The Joke', movement 4 - Haydn - 1


  • The string quartet was a Classical-era genre 'invented' by Haydn
  • Violin I is allocated most of the melodic interest - with remaining instruments providing support - melody-dominated homophony

Rhythm and Metre

  • The time signature is compound duple (6/8) apart from the slow Adagio section near the end which is simple duple (2/4)
  • Because of the speed of the music, note lengths are no shorter than a quaver except for a few demisemiquavers and semiquavers in the Adagio
  • Rests play an important role, especially in setting up the jokes at the end


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String Quartet 'The Joke', movement 4 - Haydn - 2


  • Phrasing is frequently periodic, in other words balanced two- and four-bar phrases, characteristic of Classical music
  • There is much stepwise (conjunct) movement with the occasional larger interval
  • Chromatic notes are introduced
  • Haydn uses the occasional ornament and appoggiatura


  • Functional, with frequent cadences, often preceded by the supertonic (II) chord, as in bars 7-8
  • Dominant pedals
  • Dissonances
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String Quartet 'The Joke', movement 4 - Haydn - 3

(Harmony continued)

  • Second inversion chords are left unresolved for humorous effect


  • The key is Eb major, defined by cadences and pedals
  • Modulation is limited and involves Ab and F minor in the first episode, with occasionaly brief excursions to Bb


  • Rondo form
  • Opening 8 bars frequently recur
  • At first, it is part of a rounded binary structure: A/BA with repeats


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String Quartet 'The Joke', movement 4 - Haydn - 4

(Structure continued)

  • A/BA
  • C
  • ABA (no repeats)
  • C1 (removal of Db's avoids modulation)
  • A
  • Adagio
  • A with phrases seperated by rests


  • Intruments (strings) used conventionally (bowed throughout)
  • Melody-dominated homophony
  • Variety in texture is managed through alternations between differing numbers of parts, for example four parts at opening, followed by just the three upper parts
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String Quartet 'The Joke', movement 4 - Haydn - 5

(Resources/Texture continued)

  • Haydn also uses:
  • Pedal points of both sustained notes and articulated quavers
  • Upper two parts in 3rds and 6ths
  • Inverted pedals in top part with lower parts exchanging melody lines
  • Double-stopping in the Adagio
  • Dynamics and articulation indications are detailed
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