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Sonata form in Beethoven's piano sonatas - Essay Example

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Initially, music domineered in courts and churches. Public concerts emerged in the music scene for enjoyment and entertainment for the commons. Developments in instrumental music made it equal and even at times superseded vocal music. Franz Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven dominated composition of chorale music in the classical era. Advancement in music during the era was depicted in instrumental forms. The symphony, concerto, sonata and instrumental chamber music like the Beethoven string quartets became common.1 In the beginning of classical era, the harpsichord was replaced by the piano as a common keyboard instrument. Most composers used it to write most works including sonatas. The sonatas written had the same forms like those of symphonies, concertos and chamber works although they had three movements instead of four. Mozart’s piano sonatas were light and tuneful and therefore suited the piano that was available at that time. The piano model changed greatly from Mozart’s period to Beethoven’s time. Metal braces were added to the frame that permitted additional tension to the strings. This allowed the musical instrument to produce loud powerful sounds. Ludwig van Beethoven, a German, lived in the period of 1770 to 1827. He was a composer of instrumental music. Instrumentals he used were symphonies, the piano and string quartets. The music he developed from these instruments brought a transition from classical music to romantic style. His choral music formed part of repertoire with his Mass in D Major and Missa Solemnis taking key roles in traditional western music. Beethoven played an important role in development of sonatas. His main instrument was the piano. His piano sonatas are known by their numbers, key and nicknames. Beethoven wrote thirty-two piano sonatas which were longer and more profound than Mozart’s work. The piano sonatas contain repeated notes, characterized with sudden changes of dynamic level. His opuses are technically demanding, making use of high and low notes on the piano (Dale, 1954).2 Beethoven also composed wonderful overtures, chamber music works, concertos and vocal compositions. Despite being deaf, he wrote many outstanding music that has inspired today’s music. This paper discusses Beethoven’s sonata Op. 53 and Op. 57. 2.0 Musical Form Musical divisions are marked with letters designated from repeated melody, new presentation and contrasting material. Common forms encountered in instrumental music of the classical period include strophic form, through-composed, binary form and ternary form. Strophic form is a design used in vocal music, repeated in several different verses or strophes of words. Through-composed is a form that has no repetition of the large-scale. Binary form contains two parts in which the important sections are repeated while Ternary form has three parts focusing a return of initial music after a contrasting section. In the course of the return, symmetry and balance is achieved. This paper explores classical music through sonata and sonata forms of Beethoven. 2.1 Sonata and Sonata Forms Sonata has a long musical history, with an ever-expanding and ever-changing organism. Through its history, it contains borrowed features of other types of musical form and texture. The design is composed of various series of short movements like those found in one, long unbroken movement that resembles fantasy. The ...Show more
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MASTER’S THESIS: (DEGREE AND DEPARTMENT OF THE UNIVERSITY) SONATA FORM IN BEETHOVEN’S PIANO SONATAS By Chentian Xu A Thesis submitted to the faculty of The University In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts In Music (Department) (University) (Date) 1.0 Introduction The classical period began around 1775 and ended in 1825…
Sonata form in Beethovens piano sonatas
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