[Smt-talk] Beethoven's Sonatas

Salley, Keith ksalley at su.edu
Wed Feb 22 08:19:47 PST 2012

You know, part of what really makes that modulation in op. 8 no. 2 work is
a somewhat hidden quotation of the movement's melodic opening (C-Bb-Eb).
What I mean is this. From measure 41 to 42, Ab resolves to F#, followed by
an upward leap to B on the next strong beat of that measure. So, in both
places an upward leap of a 4th follows a descending major 2nd.

I actually hadn't noticed the resemblance until I had done a voice-leading
reduction of the passage 4 or 5 years ago. Now, I can't *not* hear it, if
you know what I mean. When I share this with my students in Form and
Analysis, they always get a kick out of it. (Then they, too, find the
resemblance too 'cool' to ignore.)

I know this isn't really what you asked about in your post, Joshua, but
your message made me remember why I love that passage so much. I honestly
don't know how it hits me emotionally, but I do think that the somewhat
hidden motive helps that smooth over the seams and make that modulation

On Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 10:52 AM, Joshua Albrecht <
albrecht.89 at buckeyemail.osu.edu> wrote:

>  Dear collective wisdom,
>  I'm interested in some of the most expressive moments in Beethoven's
> piano sonatas.  What are some of your favorite excerpts that you feel
> express the most powerful emotions? Any emotion is fine (joy, sorrow,
> agitation, passion, jealousy, etc.), but ideally it would be an exemplar of
> that emotion.  If you would like to share your favorite moments, please
> pass on the Sonata number (or Op. number), which movement it is, in what
> measures it happens, and what emotions you feel that it represents.
>  For example, I find the opening of the sonata No. 26 (Op. 81a, "Les
> adieux") to be very moving.  The C minor triad seems to exude a mournful,
> resigned spirit after the Eb-G of the first sonority and the Bb-F open
> fifth almost establish Eb major.  Or, I've always found the "E" major
> modulation in ms. 42-44 in the second movement of the Pathétique to exhibit
> an almost paradoxical joyful, resolved feeling that is yet colored by the
> agitation and unease expressed by the dense, insistent triplet chordal
> figures underneath the melody.
>  Thanks for your thoughts!
>  Joshua Albrecht, ABD
> School of Music
> Ohio State University
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Keith Salley
Coordinator of Music Theory
the Shenandoah Conservatory
Shenandoah University
Winchester, VA
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