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Erin Smith December 14, 2012 MUSI 781Analysis: Form and Structure

Innovation Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoveneveryone knows these names. Each composer whose music has withstood the test of time has something distinguishable about themselves. There is no set way to compose. These famous people have not discovered the secret of composition. It does not exist. Whether it is Bachs challenging music, Mozarts ingenuity, or Beethovens deafness, they are all different. One of the things that distinguishes Beethoven from the others is that his life was broken up into three segments based on his style of composition. Evolution takes time, and Beethoven managed to evolve through composing in a broad way throughout his life. His String Quartet in C minor Op. 18, No. 4 was composed at the cusp of two periods of his life and shows the evolution of his composing with the risks he took in the music. Beethoven was born during the Classical period of music (about 1770) and died in 1827. His Early period was approximated from 1770-1802, his Middle period from 1803-1814, and his Late period from 1815 to his death in 1827. One of Beethovens well-known features is that he went deaf and continued to compose and perform music. Although Beethoven was born in the Classical period, he lived until the start of the Romantic period and is largely influential on the change in music style. Beethovens music evolved throughout his lifetime. Two factors are particularly noticeable as dynamic evolutionary elements in Beethovens music: clash and exhaustion . . . More than once Beethoven forced new stylistic directions upon himself simply because he had taken the old ones as far as they would go.1 When Beethoven was born, Mozart was already an esteemed composer and known as a child prodigy. At a young age, Beethoven began studying music at his fathers teachings, and when he showed musical talent, his father was convinced that he would be the new child

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prodigythe new Mozart. His father could not teach him for long, however, as Beethovens skills soon surpassed those of his father. His father then got him lessons with renowned musicians of the time. Beethoven continued to grow, musically. As did his name, and he even had lessons from Haydn, and was thought to have met Mozart. As Mozarts talents made up for his arrogance, Beethoven talents made up for his personality, which was impulsive and untamed. Beethovens String Quartet Op. 18, No. 4 was part of the set of six string quartetsthe first he had ever composed. They were commissioned by and dedicated to Prince Lobkowitz. String Quartet No. 4 was published in 1801, at the end of Beethovens Early period. There are aspects of the music that show the already apparent experimental phase of Beethovens life, and the difference between his Early and Middle periods. As Kai Christiansen explained when speaking about Beethovens String Quartet no. 4, The second movement relieves the tension with an experiment unique for a string quartet of the time showing that Beethoven was already tinkering with the form he inherited.2 His Early period included music that showed influence by Mozart and Haydn. There are even some works by Beethoven that are almost copies of works by Mozart and Beethoven. His Middle period occurred during the time of his life that he was forced to accept and cope with his loss of hearing. This period is also known as the Heroic period of Beethovens life because he composed much music that represented struggle and heroism. The Late period of his life includes music that is highly complex and intelligently composed. It pushed the boundaries of standard music at the time and Beethoven put a lot of his emotion into the music. It was his innovational eranot to say that Beethoven was not an innovational composer from the start. The aspects of his Late period are what all of his previous music leads to and what Beethoven evolves into as a composer. As Michael Broyles said in Beethoven: the emergence

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and evolution of Beethoven's heroic style, In 1800 Beethovens compositions still resided in the Classical world of Haydn, Mozart and Clementi. By 1809 Beethoven had fundamentally reordered that world.3 String quartets were originally composed for private setting performances. They generally consist of two violins, a viola, and a cello and were played with the players facing each other in a conversational setting. The music was also written in a conversational manner, many times. There would be statement-answer figures among the parts, throughout the pieces. Because of this, a lot of imitation and counterpoint existed in this kind of music, which was still a strong component of composition around the time string quartets took their form. String quartets usually have four movements. By Beethovens time, the string quartet still was known to have its roots as a private setting structure, but it was performed in public concerts as well. Because of its roots in private settings, the string quartet was often composed with simple parts because most of the people playing them were Liebhabers, or people who could read music but only played for fun. By Beethovens time, it did not matter much that his music was not typically written for amateurs, because the string quartet was already being performed in concert setting. Beethovens String Quartet op. 18, no. 4 was the last of the set of six to be written. It is the only one in minor, and it is the only one with only one copy. This is believed to be because Beethoven took music from other sources and combined them to make this, or because he had already thought of the idea for it before he composed it. Whats more, is that C minor (the key of this piece) is known to be Beethovens minor key. Many of his most famous works in minor were in C minor.

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The first movement of Beethovens String Quartet No. 4 is 220 measures long. It is in sonata form and so begins in the Exposition. Although this was one of Beethovens first string quartets, he had much experience composing with sonata form, so by this point he had already begun experimenting with the structure. The piece took an unusual form from the beginning. It starts with an Extended Sentence of 12 measures at the Primary section (P). The four-measure Continuation repeats itself transposed up a diminished forth. There is a Perfect Authentic Cadence (PAC) on the downbeat of measure 13 which is elided as the Transition1.1 (TR) section takes over. The TR section starts out as Developmental (as opposed to Independent) because it comes out of the P section with a series of codettas marking the similarity between the two sections. Sometimes the TR section can be Mixed, in regards to its relationship to P, if it starts with references to P and changes to an Independent TR. Although the TR1.2 section is different from the TR1.1 section, it still possesses qualities from P so that makes the entire TR section Developmental. Theres an elided Half Cadence (HC) on the downbeat of measure 20 marking the end of TR1.1 and the start of TR1.2. Both sections are passages of Standing on the Dominant (SOTD). The Medial Caesura (MC) is on beat 3 of measure 26 and is a I: HC MCa Second Level Default, which is less common than the First Level Default. The next measure begins the Secondary section (S). The S section can be characterized in multiple ways. The most accurate characterization would be to call it the bustling, staccato, energetically gallant, or jauntily selfconfident S. This seems most accurate because of the forte outbursts, forward momentum, and the bouncy, staccato eighth notes in the viola part. This staccato section doesnt start until the S1.1 section on measure 35. This section can also be confidently labeled as a P-based S since it has melodic similarities. The first section of S however, (S0.1 starting at measure 27) can be

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characterized as a lyrically singing or gracefully cantabile S because of its melodic characteristics. The S section is truly the most interesting part of the piece. The sonata can be considered nearly monothematic in that the second subject is directly derived from the first.4 That is not the only thing interesting about it, however. The S section starts as an S0.1 with 4 measures of a model and then 4 measures of a varied sequence. This is another example of Beethovens experimentation. He was experimenting with how much of one aspect of the sonata form can be applied to another sectionin this case the Development. The S section contains many qualities of a standard Development section. Usually S sections begin in the relative major/minor, but this one is in VI: A major. Consequently, it has an unusual MC. The S section is also similar to the Development in that it modulates frequently. It starts in A major, modulates to F minor, and then finally to E major (the relative major) where it is expected to be. The fact that it does not have a standard structure as to what Caplin describes (a Period, Sentence, or Hybrid) also makes it unusual. Of course, Beethoven is known to not follow standard forms, but most of the unusual things that happen in this piece occur at this moment. Because of Beethovens status as an innovative composer, most of his works are expected to have been composed in a loose organizationas is this piece. Nothing is definite in music, but some things make so much sense that most can be agreed on. The S0.1 section is not definite. This section could also be seen as part of the TR section because of all of the aspects that make it an unusual S section. It would make sense to just label the S1.1 section as the beginning of S. There are a few problems with this, however. There is no obvious break (MC) between the S0.1 section and the S1.1 section, and the S0.1 section is so different from the previous music, that it can only be seen as a new section. Although the S0.1 section is also not like the following section, the fact that the Exposition is broken up into

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two parts leads me to believe that the S0.1 section is indeed the start of Part 2 of the Exposition. Also, if the S0.1 section was in fact part of the TR, the second part of the TR (what I am calling S0.1) would be very different and it would have to contain TR aspectswhich it does not. These aspects include, conspicuous energy gain an increase in surface rhythm, a more continuous and often thicker texture, louder dynamics, etc. moving towards the dramatically articulated MC which does not occur after the S0.1 section.5 Furthermore, if the S0.1 section was part of the TR, since it does not contain these aspects, it would make these aspects that are present in the previous TR section useless. Beethoven will not let you go that easily though. Just because you were thrown through one loop, does not mean he that he is done with you. The S1.1 section also does not follow the standards of sonata form. It begins with a twenty-measure Extended Compound Period. The Imperfect Authentic Cadence (IAC) on the downbeat of measure 54 would have made a nice Essential Expositional Closure (EEC) but Beethoven was not done yet. He teases you one more time with a PAC on the downbeat of measure 61, but keeps the music going so that he could create a grand cadential moment with a long, ascending line of double neighbors in the Violin I part with a final trill on the fifth scale degree that precedes the PAC on the downbeat of measure 71. What follows is a short C section of 78 measures. Not much can be said for the Development section as far as innovation on Beethovens half, since Development sections do not follow a very specific structure. This Development section begins in G minor (v), tonicizes C minor and quickly returns to G minor, returns to the tonic, C minor, after a long period of time (18 measures including the tonicization), modulates to F minor (natural iv), modulates to F major, and again to F minor, and finally returns to C minor which leads into the Recapitulation. The Development is Fully Rotational. There are very

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obvious references of the P section in measures 79112. What follows is a section that contains equally obvious referrals to the S section until the Development finally shows its own character around measure 129. The Primary Key Areas of the Development include G minor, F minor, and F major because there were cadences in all of those keys. The sections of the Development that were in C minor would be considered the Tonicized Regions because they were brief, did not contain cadences, and only served the purpose of leading the piece to the Recapitulation via the Retransition (RT) which began at measure 129. As said earlier, the S section of the Exposition is the most unusual part of this piece. Needless to say, the Recapitulation would not be called uncommon. The correspondence measures of the Exposition and the Recapitulation go from measures 114 of the Exposition and measures 137150 of the Recapitulation, and measures 3577 of the Exposition and measures 159201 of the Recapitulation. The Recapitulation of the first section, where the correspondence measures do not line up, completely leaves out the TR1.2 section and the S0.1 section. It is hard to tell what Beethoven was thinking while composing the strange S0.1 section, but it is safe to say that, because of the peculiarity of it, he chose not to include it in the Recapitulationwhether it be because it is too complex, it did not fit as part of the ending, or Beethoven just did not like it as much. Instead of this, the Recapitulation simply extends the TR1.1 section and leads it into the S section which remains in the tonic key (C minor), as all Recapitulations do. The S section of the Recapitulation starts at measure 159, which is also the location of the crux. The final section of the Recapitulationthe last section after the correspondence measures endis simply a long cadential section.

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Although one of the main reasons Beethoven was a successful composer is because of his innovation of music, he had other things going for him. His composition skills were extraordinary as well. Being able to reproduce the sonata form in his music while bending the rules just enough for it to still be considered a sonata is only one aspect of his musical ingenuity. On a deeper level, he managed to put together his music with such precision that any fluctuation could ruin it. For example, Nancy November wrote in her journal article, Performance History and Beethovens String Quartets: Setting the Record Crooked, about Ludwig Finschers 1964 discographical quest for the ideal performance of Beethovens Op. 18 string quartets and she talks about a study conducted by Finscher on Beethovens String Quartet No. 4 which compared two different performances of the first movement by two different quartets, the Budapest Quartet, and the Quatuor Mosaques.6 November claims, In the Budapest String Quartet recording of Op. 18, No. 4 that Finscher heard (1951), by contrast, there are more motivic- and phrase-level nuances of tempo and dynamics, which tend to detract from the sense of larger-scale phrasing and create a destabilizing effect on the small scale. Swells are added under the half notes in the first movement, measures 5 and 6 (where Beethoven did not notate them), and the crescendo in measure 11 is achieved suddenly.7 Even at a deep, scientific level Beethovens music proves affective. These aspects also evolved over time. This is obvious in the fact alone that his earlier works were not as popular as his later works. One could argue that more people liked his music more as he got older because more people knew him the longer he was around. This can be falsified, however, in that Beethovens later music today is generally more liked than his earlier music. I just makes sense that he became a better composer over time because he had more practice with it, but his newly found talents added to his musics effectiveness and allowed him that possibility of pushing the boundaries of music of the time as he so desperately longed for.

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What is it about certain composers that makes them more popular than others? Although there is no, one thing, something that would make anyone a better composer is the same thing Beethoven possessed. It is something that would make anyone better at anything. It is the constant thing that has improved our community, culture, and species. It is evolution. It is not always something that happens over a long period of time, sometimes it affects individual people. In Beethovens case, he strived to better himselfas a composer at least. His ambitious personality helped him achieve this and it is apparent in his music. String Quartet No. 4 is a perfect example of this. The fact that Beethoven wrote his String Quartet No. 4 at the end of the Early period of his life plus the fact that it already showed signs of experimentationas opposed to his earlier work which replicated music by the compositional masters before him, Mozart and Haydnis proof that Beethovens compositional style changed and evolved throughout his lifetime. The unusual characteristics of the S theme: uncommon starting key, uncommon default of the MC, the fact that it begins with an S0.1, its relationship to a typical Development of a sonata, etc. along with other factors that make this piece unusual for its day show the daring part of Beethoven as a composer. It takes musical talent to be a good composer, for sure, but it takes a certain kind of personality as well. Whether that personality is known or not by the audience does not matter. It is when the personality is shown through the music that gives it that extra edge. When you have the talent and the personality you become well known. Beethoven had these things: the personality and the talent to be a great composer. Whats more is that he had life experience to add to ithis deafness. His Middle Period, the Heroic Period was during the time he had to

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face the worst tragedy a musician could live with and those experiences were reflected in his music.

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Notes 1. Michael Broyles, Beethoven: The Emergence and Evolution of Beethoven's Heroic Style . (New York: Excelsior Music Publishing Co., 1987), Introduction 2 3. 2. Kai Christiansen, "String Quartet No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 18, No. 4." Ludwig van Beethoven (17701827) (Earsense, 19972012), http://www.earsense.org/chamberbase/works/detail/?pkey=36 3. Michael Broyles, Beethoven: The Emergence and Evolution of Beethoven's Heroic Style. (New York: Excelsior Music Publishing Co., 1987), Introduction 1. 4. Kai Christiansen, "String Quartet No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 18, No. 4." Ludwig van Beethoven (17701827) (Earsense, 19972012), http://www.earsense.org/chamberbase/works/detail/?pkey=36 5. Ryan Vigil, Music 781: Analysis, (New Hampshire: MUB Copy Center, 2012), Sonata Form 7.

6. Nancy November, Performance History and Beethoven's String Quartets: Setting the Record Crooked, Journal of Musicological Research 30, no. 1 (2011): 7. 7. Nancy November, Performance History and Beethoven's String Quartets: Setting the Record Crooked, Journal of Musicological Research 30, no. 1 (2011): 1011.

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Bibliography
1. Broyles, Michael. Beethoven: The Emergence and Evolution of Beethoven's Heroic Style. New York: Excelsior Music Publishing Co., 1987. 2. Christiansen, Kai. "String Quartet No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 18, No. 4." Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). Earsense, 19972012. http://www.earsense.org/chamberbase/works/detail/?pkey=36 3. November, Nancy. Performance History and Beethoven's String Quartets: Setting the Record Crooked. Journal of Musicological Research 30, no. 1 (2011): 119. 4. Vigil, Ryan. Music 781: Analysis. New Hampshire: MUB Copy Center, 2012.

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