Beethoven Piano Sonata

Beethoven Piano Sonata - Music 2116 "Piano Sonata No. 11 in...

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Music 2116 “Piano Sonata No. 11 in A Major” End-of-Term Project I unilaterally declare Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Piano Sonata in A Major” to be the Music 102 class theme song because of its inextricable association with pianist Mary Jo Pagano performing the sonata every Friday in a new Exploring the World of Music chapter video. As my end-of-term project, I think it appropriate to describe and analyze a piece that has developed such a strong tie in my auditory-visual association with Music 102: Fundamentals of Music. The first movement of the “Piano Sonata in A Major”, Andante Grazioso, comprises a theme followed by six variations on that theme 1 . The initial theme introduces the ternary melodic form subsequently followed through the remainder of the first movement: AABA. The time signature or meter of the first movement is 6/8; the pace begins andante in the theme and first five variations, slows down to adagio in the fifth variation, and then speeds up to allegro in the final sixth variation. In the recording, I describe and analyze, Peter Schmalfuss performs on a chordophone, the piano. The movement could be described as monophonic because it is an unaccompanied piano solo, but it could also be considered homophonic because there is a dominant line (treble clef) and a supporting line (base clef). The first movement opens with an original theme, now indelibly etched in my head from the chapter videos, introducing the AABA melodic form that defines the first movement. The text elegantly explains the opening motif: “a step up, a step back down, and an upward leap of a third.” 2 More specifically, this motif in the treble clef begins on 1 “Piano Sonata No. 11 (Mozart)”. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_Sonata_No._11_(Mozart)>. 2 December 2006. 2 James R. Cowdery. Dorothea E. Hast. Stan Scott. Exploring the World of Music . Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company. Iowa, 1999. Pg. 122.
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C#, which is a scale degree III in the A major scale, moves up to D, back down to C#, and then up a third to E, which is a scale degree V. The diagram represents the piece beginning on scale degree I because the first note on the base line is an A in the “Piano Sonata in A Major.” The V, in the melodic line, is unresolved and the original motif repeats itself one half step lower. Again, ending on scale degree V (in the base line), the listener is left waiting for a resolution, “indicat[ing] that the story will continue.” 3 These two motives comprise the first section (a1) of part A in the melodic form. The story does
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This note was uploaded on 03/18/2008 for the course MUS 875 taught by Professor G.sly during the Fall '07 term at Michigan State University.

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Beethoven Piano Sonata - Music 2116 "Piano Sonata No. 11 in...

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