Summary Of ' Beethoven ' Sonata First Movement '

2297 Words10 Pages
T252 Conditional Pass Analysis Paper
Fall 2014
Beethoven’s “Waldstein” Sonata First Movement
Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Opus 53 is one of the most technically challenging and compositionally ambitious piano sonatas by Beethoven. The name of the sonata, “Waldstein”, is derived from Beethoven’s dedication, Count Ferdinand Ernst Gabriel von Waldstein of Vienna, a long time close friend and patron of the composer. Composed from 1803 to 1804, it is one of the most important pieces of Beethoven’s middle period and surpasses all the earlier sonatas in scope, power, and energy. Like many other major pieces around the time the piece was composed, Beethoven was constantly augmenting the sonata form, giving significantly more
…show more content…
The key characteristic of this five-note cell is that it is entirely composed of step-wise motion. This feature would affect the melodic and harmonic choices of the movement’s composition, as the movement is almost entirely built on step-wise motion. Because of the step-wise quality of the movement, the primary harmonic motion is an oscillation between tonic and dominant chords.
The movement begins quite solidly in C major as the first component of the theme (figure 2), which we will call component A, is a repeating eight note C major chord which hammers the tonic tonality into the listeners’ minds. This component ends with an ascending three-note step-wise motion in the right hand into the dominant of the key, with the second note being a sharpened-F, temporarily tonalicizing the dominant, suggesting the idea to the listeners that the beginning C major chords may instead be serving a subdominant function to G. In measure 3 and 4, the left descends into B, serving as a bridge to the upcoming flat-VII to smooth out the jarring key shift. We will call the right hand motif in measure 3 as component B and the one in measure 4 as component C. All three motifs would come back later as important building blocks of the movement. Beethoven confuses the listeners further as we progress into measure 5. The first four measures are repeated, but the music
Get Access