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Sonata Form and the Problem of Second‐Theme Beginnings

Sonata Form and the Problem of Second‐Theme Beginnings Although the second theme (ST) group is a crucial landmark in Classical sonata form, where it is usually articulated with great clarity, in many instances its beginning cannot be so easily discerned, especially in Beethoven. The problem is that no matter how powerful a single rule may be, none by itself can identify all those locations which may be considered an ST beginning. This article therefore proposes that an ST beginning depends on the presence of several musical signals, each of which contributes to its expression. These include: (1) tonic harmony of the new key, (2) beginning and end functions in the manner of one of Caplin's theme types, (3) preparation by a phrase‐ending chord, (4) the textural gap of Hepokoski and Darcy's medial caesura (MC) and, at the ST beginning itself, (5) a change in texture, (6) a change in dynamic and (7) characteristic melodic material. A sonata deformation in any of the first three signals sets off a teleological ST process, which attempts to compensate for the deficiencies of the signal. By contrast, the deformation of an absent MC gap can produce an integrated ST or, if combined with an absent preparatory chord, a spontaneous ST. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Music Analysis Wiley

Sonata Form and the Problem of Second‐Theme Beginnings

Music Analysis , Volume 32 (1) – Mar 1, 2013

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References (22)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Music Analysis © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
ISSN
0262-5245
eISSN
1468-2249
DOI
10.1111/musa.12011
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Although the second theme (ST) group is a crucial landmark in Classical sonata form, where it is usually articulated with great clarity, in many instances its beginning cannot be so easily discerned, especially in Beethoven. The problem is that no matter how powerful a single rule may be, none by itself can identify all those locations which may be considered an ST beginning. This article therefore proposes that an ST beginning depends on the presence of several musical signals, each of which contributes to its expression. These include: (1) tonic harmony of the new key, (2) beginning and end functions in the manner of one of Caplin's theme types, (3) preparation by a phrase‐ending chord, (4) the textural gap of Hepokoski and Darcy's medial caesura (MC) and, at the ST beginning itself, (5) a change in texture, (6) a change in dynamic and (7) characteristic melodic material. A sonata deformation in any of the first three signals sets off a teleological ST process, which attempts to compensate for the deficiencies of the signal. By contrast, the deformation of an absent MC gap can produce an integrated ST or, if combined with an absent preparatory chord, a spontaneous ST.

Journal

Music AnalysisWiley

Published: Mar 1, 2013

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