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And, in accordance with performance practice, we hear the minuet, then the trio, followed by a return to the minuet (without the repeat), creating an overall form that we refer to as a composite ternary form, A B A.We’ll examine the Minuet and Trio with the scores in Discussion Board #4. For now, let’s listen again to Professor Steven Smith’s performance. In the Minuet, see if you can hear the rounding of the
binary form. In the Trio, see if you can hear that the binary form is not rounded.Third Movement, ExpositionThe final movement of the “Moonlight” Sonata is dazzling. The tempo (“Presto agitato”) is so unrelentingly fast that it contributes a quality of lightness to what might otherwise sound like a day of reckoning. True, this is a storm, but it’s thrilling. For all its intense emotion, Beethoven manages to shape the movement as a fairly straightforward sonata-allegro form. And beneath its freneticenergy, the underlying tonal structures are quite normal.Take, for example, the beginning of the Exposition. The theme of the Principal Tonal Area (mm. 1-14) consists of rapid sixteenth-note arpeggios punctuated by eighth-note pairs of thunderous sforzando chords. Amidst the seeming chaos, a bass line decent, from tonic to dominant (C#, B#, B, A, G#), leads us to the dominant (V) on the downbeat of m. 9. Then the next six measures simply elaborate dominant harmony, concluding with a strong Half Cadence in m. 14. Let’s look and listen to a harmonic reduction of mm. 1-9.1Now let’s listen to Professor Steven Smith’s performance of the first 14 bars, as we follow the score.Third Movement, Exposition, Cont.Following the Principal Tonal Area, the Transition—in the brief span of just six bars—effects a modulation to the key of the minor dominant, G-sharp minor. While a modulation to the relative major is more customary, a modulation to the key of the minor dominant is not
uncommon. And the remainder of the Exposition plays out in the key of G-sharp minor.In the Secondary Tonal Area, we hear two distinct themes that are much more melodic than the theme in the Principal Tonal Area. And there is even a Closingtheme that concludes the Exposition.Rather than trying to follow the score, let’s see if we can identify the subsections of the Exposition as we listen and follow the time counter. We have two opportunities, since the Exposition is repeated.