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Henry Desmond

Give a detailed written analysis of the harmonic and melodic features of Beethovens Septet in Eb
giving bar references for all your points and accurate descriptions of melodic and harmonic features.
Beethoven uses many different melodic and harmonic devices and features in his writing; this septet
shows many of these devices and features in lots of ways.
The Main harmony of this piece is very functional and is all based upon defining and establishing the
key. He does this through common features e.g. clear perfect cadences (bar 28-29 – to establish E
flat). He uses mainly root and first inversion chords which also define the key with the occasional 2
nd

inversion harmony. Beethoven uses a Classical cadential Ic – V progression in bars 38 and 97.
Throughout the piece there are the occasional chromatic chord, including augmented 6
th
at bar 7.
Beethoven uses pedal points at different places in this piece to also define the key e.g. he uses a
tonic pedal which is passed between the French horns and the lower strings at bars 98-106. The
harmony is also used to link sections effectively e.g. at the end of the introduction Beethoven uses a
Dominant 7
th
chord to link in to the tonic chord at the beginning of the exposition, this is the
reiterated at bar 80.
The melodic devices and features used through this piece are more varied and are used throughout.
The melody is mainly diatonic with small sections of chromaticism e.g. Bars 25-26 of the first subject.
These small chromatic scales are sometimes used as leads into the melodic line e.g. Bar 69. The
melodies of this piece are very memorable and are often repeated, this is shown first of all in the
first subject where it is first stated and then is immediately repeated with a fuller texture and
instrumentation. Within the themes of this piece are little sections which are based upon other
ideas, e.g. the second subject theme at bar 53 is based upon the intervals of a 4
th
, this is then linked
with another small idea at bar 61 which is a run of descending quavers spanning and octave. This
subject is them finished with another idea at bar 86, this idea has a march like feel melody which
uses a descending sequence. There are certain parts of this piece where ideas from different
subjects are brought together to form another section e.g.. the anacrusis from the first subject and
the conjunct descending figure from the 2
nd
subject are brought together in the codetta. Through
the melody there is a typical classically balanced phrasing which makes the whole piece flow. Also
classical ornamentation is used throughout the piece, this livens the melody and makes it interesting
to the ear, e.g. Dramatic appoggiaturas at bar 2,4 and 6, and grace noted are added to the
monophonic violin scalic solos in bars 40,42 and 44.