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Christopher Nicklin

Beethoven Op 18 no 2.

The first movement in Beethovens second string quartet is in G major. Because it

is a first movement, it is most likely in sonata form, which after looking at it this is

confirmed. The exposition goes from measure 1 to 81. The first theme happens in the first

20 measures. The first 8 measures are a period in the first theme. They consist of two 4

bar phrases. Then he goes into three 4 bar phrases with two half cadences to a perfect

authentic cadence. This ends the first theme. At measure 21 the transition starts. The tell

tale sign of this is the use of accidentals of D#, F natural, And C#. As expected this

transition moves the piece to the key of D, which is the dominant of G. At measure 35 the

second theme starts. From measure 35 to 43 is another period in the key of D. From

measure 44 to 56 He makes a variation of the second theme with the use of scales. At

measure 57 he cadences on F# major. This is a little unusual because the piece should

still be in D. However, he is targeting B minor, which is the relative minor to D. This is a

little side trip but has to be considered part of the second theme because at measure 61 he

cadences on D. The closing theme starts at measure 61. This section is in the key of D.

He is targeting D because when this theme comes back in the recapitulation it will have

more of an impact in the key of G. At measure 77 he half cadences on A and then at 81 it

closes on D.

Measure 82 starts the development. Phase 1 is from 81 till measure 100. This area

is using the thematic ideas from the transition. It is difficult to say what key he is in in

any of these phases because as soon as he arrives he is already transitioning into a new

key in this development. Part of it is because the development goes till measure 156 and
it has three phases so he is having to constantly transition these sections. The first starts

in the key of D. At measure 86 he starts targeting other keys. Every 4 bars he is

cadencing on A, C and then Bb. He ends the first phase in Bb. This is in preparation for

the second phase, which starts at measure 101. The second phase is in Eb. It brings back

for 4 bars the first theme. After that at measure 105 he starts mixing ideas. He uses the

dotted rhythm from the first theme in conjuncture with the scales from the second themes

variations. Half way through Beethoven starts changing the key at measure 177. He is

targeting minor keys but transitions to often to call anything rather stable. At measure

130 he enters a new phase. It goes back to the idea of the transition material in the

exposition. This lasts for 11 measures till he gets to measure 141. Then he has a pedal on

D to bring the piece back to the key a G in measure 157. Those measures are

reintroducing the first themes scale run.

Because Beethoven is a great composer rather than a guy who follows the rules,

he made some big changes to the recap. After he restates the first theme he makes a

variation using the first measure of the first theme at measure 161 till 169. While this is

happening he is changing the key to a new key area of E major. This is highly unusual

because the recapitulation is suppose to be only in G. At measure 183 he is movement

back to the original key of G by targeting D major as a dominant. Measure 161 till 183

are like a short journey that one does not expect. Nothing unexpected happens at measure

187. As expected the second theme appears and it is in the key of G. He goes through the

same ideas of playing the second theme and theme adding scales to it in the second

iteration of it. At measure 212 marks the closing theme. This lasts till measure 232.

Measure 229 till 232 are rather important. The first time these measures are seen are at
measure 78 till 81, but cadencing on D. Other composers would have cadenced measures

78 through 81 on G to close out the exposition but Beethoven did not. He did this because

when he comes back in the recapitulation he would be able to release that tension that he

had all the way back at measure 78 to 81. At measure 233 the coda starts. He starts with a

stretto. He then brings back the first theme at measure 241 and then ends the piece.