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Old 03-19-2012, 09:10 PM   #1
SculptorOfFlesh
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Sonata form

I'm not a musician so I thought some of you guys would be kind enough to clarify. I have to write a 500-750 word Audio Recording Critique for one piece of western art music in my Gen-Ed Music Appreciation Class. It is more of a history class than a music theory class but in any event I chose "Moonlight Sonata" (Piano Sonata no 14 by Beethoven).

From what I understand Symphonies consist of 4 movements each with a different form with one of those being "Sonata" form. Now that I'm looking at youtube it seems that moonlight sonata itself is broken into 3 movements. I didn't know you could have movements of movements. Can someone clarify this? Is it just a sonata by itself?

Does moonlight sonata follow this general pattern of exposition, development, and recapitulation? That is
Exposition - 2 main themes laid out connected by a bridge
Development - Themes are broken up, transposed, just generally screwed with and "developed". Kind of like the middle of a movie where the turmoil occurs.
Recapitulation - All themes showed once more, conclusion/closure, supposed to be very similar to the exposition

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tr0otuiQuU

1st movement 0 - 6 minutes
2nd movement 6 - 8:03
3rd movement 8:03 - end

Does this have a cadenza at the end of the 3rd movement ? To me (the untrained ear) the 3rd movement doesn't even sound remotely like the first. But the second movement does give me the idea of "turmoil". In fact I can't even make out a theme in the 3rd movement.

I'm trying to get a general break down of this.

Last edited by SculptorOfFlesh; 03-19-2012 at 09:13 PM..
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:35 AM   #2
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Didn't read, prolly trying to cheat his way through college.
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:06 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SculptorOfFlesh View Post
I'm not a musician so I thought some of you guys would be kind enough to clarify. I have to write a 500-750 word Audio Recording Critique for one piece of western art music in my Gen-Ed Music Appreciation Class. It is more of a history class than a music theory class but in any event I chose "Moonlight Sonata" (Piano Sonata no 14 by Beethoven).

From what I understand Symphonies consist of 4 movements each with a different form with one of those being "Sonata" form. Now that I'm looking at youtube it seems that moonlight sonata itself is broken into 3 movements. I didn't know you could have movements of movements. Can someone clarify this? Is it just a sonata by itself?

Does moonlight sonata follow this general pattern of exposition, development, and recapitulation? That is
Exposition - 2 main themes laid out connected by a bridge
Development - Themes are broken up, transposed, just generally screwed with and "developed". Kind of like the middle of a movie where the turmoil occurs.
Recapitulation - All themes showed once more, conclusion/closure, supposed to be very similar to the exposition

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tr0otuiQuU

1st movement 0 - 6 minutes
2nd movement 6 - 8:03
3rd movement 8:03 - end

Does this have a cadenza at the end of the 3rd movement ? To me (the untrained ear) the 3rd movement doesn't even sound remotely like the first. But the second movement does give me the idea of "turmoil". In fact I can't even make out a theme in the 3rd movement.

I'm trying to get a general break down of this.
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:44 AM   #4
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lol, lrn2homework
https://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF...onata+analysis
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:51 AM   #5
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I've got nothing useful to say.

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Old 03-20-2012, 03:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by De Profoundis View Post

Didn't read, prolly trying to cheat his way through college.
I take offense to that remark. Don't presume I'm cheating if you haven't taken the time to read the original post.

I'm merely trying to get some perspective so I can put together a satisfactory paper. I asked for clarification because everything I had learned up until that point seemed to be at odds with what I was reading on the internet. Our teacher requires a mere 500-750 word paper that is half biography and half musical/historical analysis with a bit of tie-in and perspective. He even said "You can interpret it however you want, it just has to make sense". I'm guessing that means "since you don't have the prerequisite knowledge to write a valid audio recording critique, you just have to make sure it is coherent". I don't want to put together a bullshit paper that just regurgitates a bunch of banal shit.

We had just wrapped up the baroque era last week and today we started the classical era. I found the answer to my question, but like I said I would still appreciate the input of others. A wall of text is soon to come outlining what I've learned and trying to put it in perspective.
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Old 03-20-2012, 04:02 PM   #7
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Is Beethoven a prototpyical classical composer or is he more of a baroque virtuoso?

There was a film about him called "Beethoven: The Rebel".

We cleared it up in class today. Traditionally various forms such as Sonata, Rondo, Minuet and Trio, and theme & variation were used exclusively in the movements that comprised a symphony, that is until Beethoven came along and incorporated these various forms into short piano pieces. The piano sonata is a piece all by itself and it has three movements. Each with a different form and theme but still resembling a Sonata overall in a symmetrical sense.
1 - sonata
2 - minuet and trio I'm guessing
3 - sonata form again but a bit different than the first

Even though it consists of more forms than just sonata, in the bigger picture it does have that sort of sonata characteristic to it. The beginning calm exposition, the turmoil more fast paced development in minuet and trio, and then a sonata again. The thing that stands out about this piece is that the 3rd movement isn’t merely a copy of the 1st movement, but a lot faster even than the minuet and trio. Instead of being a movement itself in a larger symphony, "Moonlight sonata" stood alone as a comprehensive musical composition in and of itself.

This sounds pretty complex at least from the layman's perspective. I thought music of the enlightenment was supposed to be less fancy to represent the idea of basic human rights instead of divine right of kings (which characterized the baroque era)?. Accordingly, baroque era music would incorporate lots of ornamentation (such as the word painting in "Every Valley shall be Exalted by George Frederic Handel"), and classical era Beethoven would not have these frills. Is this interpretation right? Or according to you guys does moonlight sonata have lots of "frills" If Baroque were a movie it would be a Michael Bay movie whereas if Classical were a movie it would be the Godfather? Is that somewhat of an apt metaphor. If it does have frills, I can merely draw a contrast between Beethoven and his contemporaries and reverse the Michael Bay Analogy


Although I should probably chose another example besides "Every Valley Shall be exalted" to show a dichotomy between baroque and classical music, since "moonlight sonata" consists of only one instrument and doesn't have singing. If his music is heavily ornamented than I can liken him to a baroque predecessor.

Input? Opinions?
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Old 03-20-2012, 04:43 PM   #8
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It seems you're applying the three basic stages of sonata form to a whole three-movement sonata? If so, that's a mistake; what one calls "sonata form" applies only to the first movement. (In that sense the term is rather imprecise; the less common "sonata allegro form" is more helpful, as it indicates that it's just for the first movement, which is usually an Allegro, or the German "Sonatenhauptsatz-Form", which indicates the same.) Oh, I see you revised that somewhat in your last post, but you're still overestimating the necessary connection between the movements.

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This sounds pretty complex at least from the layman's perspective. I thought music of the enlightenment was supposed to be less fancy to represent the idea of basic human rights instead of divine right of kings (which characterized the baroque era)?
Not really. The expressive immediacy Beethoven strove for in pieces like the Eroica Symphony was certainly connected to humanist and revolutionary ideas, and the use of choir in the last movement of the 9th evokes all people joining in song as brothers. But regarding the surface ornaments that characterise (particularly late) Baroque music, especially harpsichord music, those were things added to harmonically simpler musical texts; with the transition to Classicism, harmony became more complex and surface ornaments were reduced. Also, another factor is that notes on the harpsichord decay very quickly, so ornaments are also a way of drawing out the note, something that's less necessary on a piano.

Quote:
Accordingly, baroque era music would incorporate lots of ornamentation (such as the word painting in "Every Valley shall be Exalted by George Frederic Handel")
Word painting isn't necessarily ornamentation; it's just an illustration/imitation of the text, for example descending notes when the text talks about going down.

Anyway, there were a lot of factors in the changes that art music underwent between 1700 and 1800. Another thing is that notational practice was becoming increasingly fixed; in Baroque orchestral music, the basso continuo just followed the bass line and figures, with the right hand details in the harpsichord or organ being at the discretion of the player. Then in solo harpsichord music, especially the French tradition (e.g. Rameau), the written score of a piece was pretty stripped down, because the frills came about through the ornaments, which pretty much followed an oral tradition that players would instinctively be familiar with - a bit like a band improvising traditionally on a jazz standard, where the melody and chord progression are fixed, and the musicians improvise around them within certain stylistic boundaries. But as time went on, and ideas about both harmony and instrumentation became more involved, people wanted to fix things more on paper and leave less to freedom and taste. Of course, as with all historical progress in art, breaking new ground also meant no longer being able to rely on old conventions, so composers had to make things clearer in the written music itself.

Hope that helps. If not, internet.
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Old 03-20-2012, 04:46 PM   #9
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:17 PM   #10
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Hahaha, O wow. I can't believe you're asking us fuckers to do your homework for you.
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SculptorOfFlesh View Post
Traditionally various forms such as Sonata, Rondo, Minuet and Trio, and theme & variation were used exclusively in the movements that comprised a symphony, that is until Beethoven came along and incorporated these various forms into short piano pieces.
That's not true at all. A "Sonata" is essentially just a solistic piece for usually either piano, piano + another instrument, or a Triosonata. It is in no way bound to Symphonies and composers before Beethoven already wrote plenty of Sonatas, and yes, for solo piano too.
Rondo and Minuet are forms of dance which existed long before there even were Symphonies, and are typical for Suites, not Symphonies. Trio is sort of a special thing, but it's not bound to Symphonies either.

As Quartertone already said, you have to distinguish between Sonata-Form and Sonata as a piece.
A Sonata does NOT necessarily have a movement in sonata form, early Sonatas had completely different forms.
Regarding your example of Beethovens Sonata: Only the third movement is actually in Sonata form, the others not.

Quote:
Or according to you guys does moonlight sonata have lots of "frills"
If one doesn't have a sort of minimalist stance, I don't see where one would get that idea
Quote:
If Baroque were a movie it would be a Michael Bay movie whereas if Classical were a movie it would be the Godfather? Is that somewhat of an apt metaphor.
That's the most unfitting metaphor I've heard in a long time.
Actually I think the whole thing with baroque music having so much "frill" is overemphasized, most German baroque composers wrote only few ornamentations and they didn't expect the players to add their own. Many even frowned upon the idea to have their music altered by alien ornamentation.
If you look at Mozarts Piano Sonatas e.g., those have roughly the same amount of ornamentation as the Bach Preludes.

Also, one has to ask oneself the question what a certain ornament does and how it alters the perceived quality of the piece. Often it is the ornamentation which gives simpler pieces a greater quality, and thus isn't superficial at all, but an aspect as important as the rest.
Don't forget that many players, even famous ones (Ton Koopman!), add ridiculous amounts of ornaments, so always rely on original score, not recordings.
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:59 PM   #12
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Thought this was going to be about a band called sonata form.
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:03 PM   #13
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always rely on original score, not recordings.
Yes, though the further back in history you go, the more problematic the whole issue of editions becomes.
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:06 PM   #14
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Sure. Luckily imslp has a lot of original manuscripts, from the more know composers at least.
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:33 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by SculptorOfFlesh View Post
I take offense to that remark. Don't presume I'm cheating if you haven't taken the time to read the original post.

I'm merely trying to get some perspective so I can put together a satisfactory paper. I asked for clarification because everything I had learned up until that point seemed to be at odds with what I was reading on the internet. Our teacher requires a mere 500-750 word paper that is half biography and half musical/historical analysis with a bit of tie-in and perspective. He even said "You can interpret it however you want, it just has to make sense". I'm guessing that means "since you don't have the prerequisite knowledge to write a valid audio recording critique, you just have to make sure it is coherent". I don't want to put together a bullshit paper that just regurgitates a bunch of banal shit.

We had just wrapped up the baroque era last week and today we started the classical era. I found the answer to my question, but like I said I would still appreciate the input of others. A wall of text is soon to come outlining what I've learned and trying to put it in perspective.































































So mad bro.
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:33 AM   #16
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Input? Opinions?
You know what the funny thing is, if you are going to use someone's info from what you asked, you will have to reference that into your work. Then your teacher might probably check out the reference source and will end up looking at all the wonderful threads here, named such as: Tits, Ass, Condoms and also might end up finding those Skeet's famous pics.

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Old 03-21-2012, 09:54 AM   #17
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Will stay for the ass thread.
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:12 AM   #18
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o sweet a thread that will inevitably be full of tldr quartertone and Naitsabey Winkerwinkie or whatever the fuck posts
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:43 AM   #19
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Old 03-23-2012, 04:06 AM   #20
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do my homework, i'm in the same class.
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