I Write The Music

Beethoven – Sonata No.17 in D Minor, “Tempest” – Harmonic Analysis

Posted in Uncategorized by Higher Density Blog on November 22, 2017
00:00 – Theme Group 1, Motif A (Rising Arpeggio)
00:14 – TG1, Motif B (Scalar Passage, with notes in groups of 2)
00:18 – TG1, Motif C (Turn)
00:24 – Counterstatement of TG 1, entering in a surprise E6, the dominant of III
00:37 – Motif B
00:48 – Transition (or an extension of TG 1): Motif A rising in bass, answered by Motif C in RH. Surprisingly substantial.
01:06 – Theme Group 2, Theme 1 (= Motif B!, with Motif C in the LH.) A minor.
01:18 – TG2, Theme 2 (= Motif C, with lengthened 2nd note)
01:26 – TG2, Theme 2, with Motif C now in the deep bass
01:31 – TG2, Theme 3 (Cadential Theme) DEVELOPMENT
03:51 – Motif A, repeated thrice, arriving in F#
04:37 – Transition Theme (Motif A + C), sequentially deployed, rising constantly
04:58 – 22(!) bars of dominant preparation, totally devoid of any thematic allusion. Short recitative (with a little Neapolitan Eb) leads into RECAPITULATION
05:19 – TG1, with 4 bars of recitative attached to each statement of the largo. This section hangs on a Ab, which is transformed
06:43 – into a G# (in enharmonic implied Gb minor!) in a darkly guttural 4 chords. This ushers in a extraordinary modulating section.
06:55 – TG2, in tonic.
07:59 – Theme 1. (Motif A = rising double-dotted 3-note figure)
09:38 – Transition, with stately rising theme. (Motif B = drumroll in bass) 10:55 – Theme 2. At
11:42 Motif B enters, building into dominant minor 9th chord RECAPITULATION 12:08 – Theme 1, with Motif A immediately used as inner voice.
At 13:00 a demisemiquaver accompaniment drifts down the keyboard 13:42 – Transition
14:54 – Theme 2 CODA
15:42 – Motif B, again building into a dominant minor 9th
16:26 – Motif A, rounded-off, in LH then RH
16:45 – Recalling Theme 1
17:19 – A new, 2-bar long 3rd theme enters and is repeated in the middle voice, before the movement ends. MVT III EXPOSITION
18:06 – Theme Group 1, Theme 1. A single motif (Motif A) repeated 16 times in RH. Note codetta with chromatic descending line
18:29 – Transition. Theme 1 in bass, interspersed with arpeggiated figure
18:38 – Theme Group 2, Theme 1, entering with insistent hemiola and 6 bars of dominant harmony
18:55 – TG2, Theme 2
19:05 – TG2, Theme 3 (Cadential Theme) DEVELOPMENT
20:26 – Motif A in dim7 of iv, modulating into A min 20:37 – The bass uses Motif A to climb up a dim7 in D min, then shifts to D min harmony, then shifts into C min by flattening the A and introducing the inversion of Motif A in the RH. Then movement into the dim7 of Bb min
20:54 – Dramatic entrance of inverted A motif in RH, while LH climbs up bass chromatically.
21:06 – TG1 Theme 1, in Bb min
21:12 – Chromatic rising, landing on a dominant 7, suddenly revealed
21:19 – to be a augmented 6th when it resolves into the dominant of D min 21:23 – Dominant preparation begins, oscillating between G min and D min
21:41 – 16 bars of continuous descent to the home dominant RECAPITULATION
21:53 – TG1, Theme 1. The bII in bar 18 becomes the subdominant of Bb, introduction a surprisingly lyrical passage.
22:14 – Transition. Tonal movement around circle of 5ths. G min harmony becomes augmented 6th chord, leading back into
22:34 – D min, TG2. Note how at
23:00 (Theme 3) Beethoven omits the expected high G, since his piano didn’t have the note, and substitutes a really nice repetition of the high D instead. CODA
23:12 – Mimicking the beginning of the development, without forte outbursts 23:21 – for 16 bars(!) we dwell on the dominant, leading to
23:33 – a violent restatement of TG1 Theme 1, with an A pedal in the highest registers 23:54 – The original codetta from Theme 1 is now presented in full. With another familiar tonic-dominant swing the sonata ends.

Beethoven – Piano Sonata 23, Op.57 “Appassionata” (Color-Coded Analysis V2)

Posted in Uncategorized by Higher Density Blog on June 25, 2017


The Daily Beethoven

(Make sure “Annotations” is ON to see section labels)

Piano Sonata No.23 in Fm, Op.57 (‘Appassionata’)
1.Allegro assai @0:00
2.Andante con moto (attaca) @9:06
3.Allegro ma non troppo @15:33

Piano: Annie Fischer

(Version with Alfred Brendel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89hcfg…)

Note: at this time the annotations will not appear on mobile devices, so if possible please watch from a computer.

For more videos of this type see:
Color-Coded Analysis of Beethoven’s Music (INDEX):

Introduction to Sonata Form:

This analysis was assisted in large part by Donald Tovey’s “Companion to Beethoven’s Pianoforte Sonatas”.

My Analysis Cheat Sheet:
-SONATA FORM: Most common form, almost always in the 1st movement and often last movement of a work. The basic sequence is Intro, Exposition, Development, Recapitulation and Coda.
-EXPOSITION: Main theme(s) are presented, usually in the home key and then a modulated key
-THEME / THEME GROUP: musical “paragraph”. These can be broken down into 1 or more “tunes”. These are grouped according to key and end on cadences. The 1st Theme Group is in the home key. The 2nd Theme Group is in the dominant or other key.
-CLOSING/CADENCE SECTION: a theme group which closes the Expo or Recap (it follows the 2nd theme) and revives Theme 1 to provide closure.
-MODULATING BRIDGE/TRANSITION: material to get from 1 key/theme group to another, often w sequencing.
-DEVELOPMENT: free-form “working out”/”fantasia” section where earlier themes are subjected to variations and atomizations. Possibly a new theme is introduced (“Eroica”).
-RECAPITULATION: Repeat of the Expo, except that this section remains in the same key throughout and there can be theme variations from the initial Expo versions of themes.
-CODA: Follows the Recap, kind of a second development designed to finish off the work.
-SEQUENCING: repeating a phrase on different starting notes (keys)
-TERNARY FORM: 3-part form in A-B-A, usually a Scherzo or Minuet
-SCHERZO/MINUET: 1st pt. of a 3-pt. Scherzo form, usually AA.BA’.BA’ in 3/4 time. Lively.
-TRIO: Middle section of a Scherzo movement, slower, broader than the Scherzo section
-RONDO: Similar to Sonata form except that the Development is replaced by a new section and there is less transition material. A principal theme (A) alternates with contrasting themes (BCD…). (Ex.ABACABA.)
-FUGUE: form in which a subject(s) undergoes canonical permutations
-VARIATION: repeat of a theme with variation
-CADENZA: unaccompanied instrumental solo
-BINARY FORM: Structure in AB. 2-Part Song form.
(Disclaimer: I do not have a music degree, all of the above is purely from memory and observation)


Zimerman Beirnstein Beethoven piano concerto no 3

Posted in Beethoven, Concerto, Music, Orchestra, Piano by Higher Density Blog on November 20, 2013

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