38

First, a history lesson: Peter Cornelius originally claimed that these "Three Bs" were Bach, Beethoven, and Berlioz. It was Hans von Bülow that then replaced Berlioz with Brahms, and Bülow did it with a little pun: since a flat looks like a "B," he said that "My musical credo is in E♭ major, with three Bs in the key signature: Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms!" ...


28

In short, the German musical tradition (largely based upon Beethoven's towering presence) is one that prioritizes thematic development. Beethoven was known, for instances, for sometimes introducing and developing new themes in his codas! This propensity for thematic development was not necessarily shared by the composers in the Italian and French traditions....


27

I don't think I can improve on this "answer" of Dudley Moore's one bit: Although it is obviously a parody, and a very funny one, if you study carefully all of the devices that Moore uses to tinker with the simple melody, you'll get a lot of ideas about how to write in Beethoven's style. Part of the reason that it's so ...


20

Edit: Please see phoog's answer below, which I find to be a more complete reading of this issue. For questions of this nature, your best bet is to try and find the original manuscript version of the score to see what the composer him/herself wrote. In Beethoven's case, we're fortunate that many of his manuscripts have been digitalized. This manuscript for ...


19

The octave your violinist suggested is fine. Another possibility is the following: Why did Beethoven not write the above chord in his piano sonata? Because that major tenth is rather awkwardly wide for a pianist's hand. The chord he did write spans only an octave and so fits the pianist's hand. People writing for the piano prefer what is easier (and prefer ...


18

As is the case with many classical pieces of absolute music, the subtitle of this piano sonata was not attributed by the composer. (See also the Chopin preludes and etudes -- he saw his music expressly as non-programmatic, but many of these pieces have gained "nicknames" such as "Revolutionary", "Winter Wind" from performers and listeners over the years.) ...


18

It's written without the piano for the final measures: This is very typical of the rondo form that typically ends Classical period concertos--each time the principal theme comes back, the soloist plays it once, then the accompaniment plays it. Earlier in the movement, this repetition serves to give the soloist a brief rest before the episode that follows. ...


17

No, I think the similarity to ragtime is coincidental, and I believe the principal evidence is in the way Beethoven notated this passage. Beethoven has notated this section of the piece in 12/32, which indicates a triple meter - 4 groups of 3 32nd notes. Today, it is common for pieces with a swing feel to be notated with a triplet feel, but this is not the ...


14

Beethoven wrote those low notes even though he knew they were not playable on the instruments available. The subject of Beethoven's disregard for the range of the bass has been much discussed. Stephen Buckley has written a dissertation on the subject: " Beethoven's Double Bass Parts: The Viennese Violone and the Problem of Lower Compass". One of the possible ...


14

The "Moonlight" Sonata is just one of many pieces with the title "Sonata". The title "sonata" is descriptive of how the music is constructed; a basic description can be found in What is “Sonata-Allegro form” and what other similar forms should I be aware of?. The core idea of a sonata is of musical contrast. For example, @...


12

Compositions are commonly referred to by what we call opus numbers. A famous sonata by Beethoven is his Opus 53, and—because "opus" is Latin for "work"—this is an identifier that tells us that it is his 53rd work (more or less). But there are a couple problems with this system: Sometimes, composers don't give a composition an opus number. For this reason, ...


11

I would play it like this (the image came out kind of big...): You can play the lower A# quite short to avoid tension (if it suits your interpretation, of course). For me the most natural fingering is 4-5-4-3-4-5 in the upper voice, although 3-5-3-2-3 works, too, and might be easier if your hand is big and/or 4th finger weak. There's a similar trill a ...


11

Fingering suggestions, including handedness, are always just suggestions. You can play it how you like. That said, there are a few reasons to use both hands in this passage: The octaves are much easier to play smoothly and evenly when you play with both hands. Using both hands, you can play the octaves with finger legato, which is good technique even when ...


11

Don't be so literal minded. This is easy to play, and effective: If the quartet know the original piano version, they can easily simulate the arpeggio simply by violin 2 playing a bit ahead of the beat. Trying to get Violin 1 to play all four notes as written will probably be sound clumsy at this tempo, and it won't be as "ff" as something easier to play ...


10

This chord is known as a German Augmented Sixth Chord. There are a few types of Augmented Sixth Chords. The German Aug6 chord is enharmonically equivalent to a Dominant 7 chord, as Tim mentioned. The core of the Aug6 chord is the augmented sixth interval, Cb to A in the above example, and is built starting on b6. The tonic is the third note that makes up ...


10

Beethoven always started his trills on the upper note (documented here), unlike modern practice. This would come out more fluent coming onto the G#. Although Nonpop's example could work, it's not normal to start and end on the same note. A better interpretation would be B A# B A# G# A#. As far as fingering, without context, it is hard to say what would work ...


10

Of course he didn't, and good on you for spotting such an oversimplification. The simple fact is that it's almost never fully correct to say that one individual ushered in a new historical era. The web of influences is incredibly complex, and anyone saying "this era started here" is likely either simplifying the matter for teaching purposes, or pushing ...


10

You're looking for the Biamonti Catalogue. An online version with MIDI versions of some works is available here.


9

Using the word "key" is too definite. The music progresses through lots of different tonal centers but most of them don't last long enough to be worth calling "keys". Both of you are wrong about the whole passage, but the "expert" is more wrong. The point which you both missed is the sequence in bars 66-70 with a V-I cadences in Bb major, C minor, and D ...


9

Disclaimer: I'm not a violinist. What follows is all head-knowledge, not practical experience. As you know, since a violin bridge is curved, no more than two strings can sound at a time, so any chord will of course need to be arpeggiated. This isn't that big a deal, and is part of the characteristic sound of violin stops. However, you also need to consider ...


9

There are actually four parts to this symphony (called "movements"). The classical symphony has four movements: An opening movement in sonata form, usually somewhat fast ("allegro") A slow movement A minuet or scherzo with trio An allegro, rondo, or sonata Usually there is no musical connection between the movements, except for the key. Later composers ...


9

The key signature change aligns with the Presto, to emphasize that the harmony at that point is still B D F#, because the bare B's aren't enough to show that. His other late sonatas also modulate briefly and surprisingly, but with more than just unisons, so they needn't compensate with such brief key signature changes. Changing key signatures in the third ...


9

It seems to me that the purpose of the notation is to show the performer how to interpret what is happening. After the ambiguous passage, we do arrive at the start of what appears to be a new section, in a new key, with a new rhythm (cut time not 3/4), at a new tempo (Presto) - though it's not quite clear what the new key actually is, since we only hear one ...


8

You can see WHEN the D# and C# are played. There are no rests in the lower voice, and no overlaps. All you're really being asked to do is 'bring out' the melody A, D#, C#. Maybe easier to see if I write it separately, with the triplet indications that Beethoven has tired of writing by this point.


8

In bars 5 - 7 of your excerpt, an excursion to F minor is implied. But in bar 8 et seq. the Ab and F are re-assigned as the top two notes of G7b9, the dominant of C minor (and Beethoven's favourite diminished 7th chord with a root note added to pin down WHICH of the four possible dominants it's being this time!) which is reached in bar 12 and strongly ...


7

This is a notoriously difficult sonata to analyze, but I recommend keeping two things in mind when considering mm. 11ff: Most importantly, you're correct that m. 9 begins a dominant prolongation. In fact, check out the bass pitches in mm. 10, 12, and 13: the D♭ to C in the bass really continues that dominant prolongation, doesn't it? As does the C7 ...


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