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Beethoven (Sonata Pathetique) Elements of Music Level 3
Terms in this set (19)
The 2nd subject begins in the unexpected key of Eb minor. The theme features a distinctive acciaccatura ornament and hand crossing technique, where the right hand moves down over the left hand to play 4 staccato notes, before returning.
Melody / Tonality
1) The second theme starts in Eb minor instead of the expected Eb major. (It moves to Eb major at bar 89).
Melody / Tonality
2) The development begins with 4 bars from the introduction—this is very unusual! When the development returns to the allegro tempo it is in the
unrelated key of E minor.
Structure / Tonality
3) In the recapitulation the second theme starts in the key of F minor instead of the expected C minor. It then moves to C minor.
Structure / Tonailty
4) The coda starts with 4 bars of the introduction again.
Dynamic markings in the piece are used expressively, showing Beethoven anticipating romantic era music.
Romantic music is all about expressing emotions. It does this through more dramatic use of dynamics, use of the sustain pedal on the piano, more complex, chromatic harmony, and more complex, altered structures (like how Beethoven alters sonata form in this piece).
Sonata Pathetique uses standard chords of the time (mainly chords I, IV and V, with occasional use of II and VI).
In Sonata Pathetique there are mainly root position and first inversion chords.
There are dominant 7th chords at cadences.
There are occasional suspensions (including 9-8 suspensions).
There is a circle of fifths progression in bars 244-249.
Another chromatic chord used is the augmented sixth chord, used in bar 30.
This piece was written for the fortepiano, which came before the more modern pianoforte. It had a smaller range and was not capable of as much dynamic contrast as a modern piano.
Sonority / Instruments
F minor is the subdominant of C minor. Perfect cadences confirm changes of key throughout.
There are some very rapid notes (short note values), including septuplets and 1/128th notes in bar 10.
Rhythm Tempo and Metre
The intro is homophonic with all the notes playing together in chords. This is known as a homophonic chordal texture.
There is a two part texture with melody and broken chords in the second (Eb major) idea of the second subject (bar 93).
The 2nd subject theme features a distinctive acciaccatura ornament and hand crossing technique, where the right hand moves down over the left hand to play 4 staccato notes, before returning.
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