Trio sonata in D

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Background information

  • Corelli was an Italian composer who composed in the late baroque period
  • He was paid by the church not a patron
  • This piece was played for entertainment/for church services
  • A trio refers to 3 melodic lines, however 4 instruments are required to play this piece because the continuo part includes an organ as well as a violone
  • This piece is part of a sonata and it is the last movement, therefore it is a fast movement. In the baroque period, the term sonata meant sounded and would only be played by a small group of instruments
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  • The violone is similar to a celllo and is played with the organ making up the continuo part which needs 2 people to play
  • Idiomatic writing (where Corelli has written especially for string instruments, making the music look appealing to players) which made Corelli particuarly influential e.g. bar 34-35 where the strings are required to play in 3rd position
  • Use of figured bass which fills in the texture between the much higher violin parts and the lower bass parts. We realise figured bass.
  • The 2 violins use treble clef
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  • Diatonic and functional (where the harmony clearly defines the key)
  • Perfect cadences e.g. bar 11
  • Mainly uses root position and first inversion chords
  • Some dissonances e.g. there is a 4/3 suspension in bar 27
  • Most 7's resolve down to 6's
  • Inverted pedals e.g. 15-18
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  • The 6/8 time signature indicates a dotted crotchet pulse
  • Syncopation e.g. 26-27
  • Hemiolas e.g. bar 27
  • Cross rhythms (where one rhythm is played simultaneously with another rhythm/rhythms) e.g. 26
  • Lots of rhythmic variety in the violins with sustained notes and more lively rhythms
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  • The whole piece is contrapuntal
  • The texture is very wide (sometimes 3 octaves) which creates a polarised texture, a common feature in baroque music e.g. bar 12
  • Stretto
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  • The structure is binary form meaning there are similarities between the 2 sections
  • The binary form is defined with perfect cadences and the repeat marks
  • However, a baroque binary form means there is a constant mood and theme throughout
  • Dance style of a gigue- fast tempo compound time dance
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  • The piece starts in D major but modulates to the dominant of A major in bars 10-11
  • By the start of section B, the key is in A major (V), but modulates to D major in bar 22 (I), B minor in bar 26 (vi), E minor in bar 29 (ii), A major in bar 32 (V), G major in bar 34 (IV) and finally D major in bar 36 (I)
  • This piece is mainly functional because it modulates to closely related keys
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The motif played by violin 1 in bar 1 acts as the fugal subject and the motif played by violin 2 in bar 3 acts as the fugal answer (exactly the same melody as the subject and sounds a 4th below)

In bar 6, the continuo also enters but with a displaced fugal subject

At the start of the B section, the fugal subject is heard in free inversion

Most melodic material is derived from quaver semiquaver motif in bars 1-2, although the imitative entries are shared equally among all 3 parts the bass takes on a more functional role at 23 and 35-38

15- 18 sequences and inversion of motif in 20

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