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Diego Wasserman

Analysis of Joseph Haydns Piano Trio in B flat major, Hob. XV:8, first movement

The first movement of the Trio is a typical Allegro Sonata Form. That means it has three prominent
sections: Exposition (bars 1 to 60), Development (bars 61 to 107) and Recapitulation (bars 108 to 167).
Originally when performing the movement the exposition must be repeated and also the Development-
Recapitulation must be repeated altogether.

The organic of the piece consist of Piano, Violin and Violoncello. The texture is mostly homophonic
featuring melody and accompaniment with the lead melody switching between instruments, as most
pieces of the classical period. The tempo marking is allegro moderato, a typical fast way to start a
classical piano trio.


The allegro starts with a little 3 bar introduction with the tonic chord (Bb major) in ascending voicings
played homophonically followed by a small cadence that introduces the main key and leads directly to
the first theme.

Theme A:

First phrase can be divided in 2 sub-phrases, the first one (bars 4-6) starts with this musical motif: 2
Crotchets played staccato and a connecting Quaver-2 Semiquavers cell played legato in the 4th beat.
This motif is played by the right hand of the piano and the violin harmonized in thirds or sixths and
continues ascending in following bars. The second sub-phrase (7-8) serves as closure of the phrase and
starts with the pianos right hand solo. The motif here (continuous dotted quaver and semiquaver
cells) was already heard in bar 3 of the intro. In the 4th beat it again with Quaver-2 Semiquavers legato
cell. It could have been ended there but Haydn added a 5th bar to the phrase with an augmentation of
the last 2 beats of last bar (the 2 ending motifs) this time with the 3 instruments playing. Here is the full
5-bar (very uncommon) phrase:
The second phrase offers simple variations of the original, like more activity on the strings (cello playing
the accompaniment in quavers and the violin echo-likes Quaver-2 Semiquavers legato cells in the 2nd
beat. The end motif this time last 2more bars making the phrase last 7 bars in total.

Transition and Modulating Bridge: From bars 16 to 31 the music harmony leads from the key of the first
subject to the key of the second one. It consists of 3 separate parts clearly defined by its harmony and
motivic material.

16-21 Connection bars from the theme to the bridge. Scale runs combining the Quaver-2 Semiquavers
cell and semiquavers that ends in Quavers staccato (reminding us of the accompaniment during the
theme). The harmony is Bb till 20 where motif is played over F major (V degree). Its important to notate
that at this point he is using natural E instead of Eb for the scale runs, it means its starting to prepare
the modulation for the next key.

22-25 In kind of a deceptive cadence the music modulates to the relative minor Gm. As being part of the
transition this harmony can be thought as vi of Bb but is really functioning as ii of F.

26-31 It finally arrives to C major (V degree of F). The cello bass line plays a pedal in C during 4 bars. The
material is new: quavers with chromatic lower neighbor tones and a diatonic upper neighbor tone
played legato. In bar 31 the music breathes for the first time with a trilled chord resolving into C major
dominant harmony creating expectation for the next theme.

Theme B Group:

As usual in sonata form, the B themes of the exposition are all in the Dominant key, in this case, F major.

32-37 The Dominant key is introduced in this first B theme containing already known material (from bars
16 to 21), but this time the scale runs are always descending. The harmony (I-V) changes every 2 beats
till bar 36.

37-45 The 2nd Theme B appears suddenly with completely new motif material that contrasts the mood
of the first theme. Its main characteristics are the syncopated rhythm in crochets and chromatic
descending lines. Its important to notice that the first phrase (bars 37-40) of the theme is played, for
the first time only by the piano solo, this indicates that something new is occurring. 2nd phrase abruptly
interrupts in bar 41 with all instruments playing in mF dynamic and repeats in bar 42. In bars 43-44 (in
forte dynamic) the violin takes the main melody leading to an ending cadence in bar 45.

46-55 the material from the bridge re-appears. It starts with3 bar answer-question melody between
the pianos right hand (over I degree) and the violin (over V degree) with a pedal in the tonic in the bass
line. Continues scale runs and quavers ends in a dominant trilled chord.

Codetta (Bars 56 to 60). 4 Final bars with a tonic pedal re-forcing the F major key ends this section. The
pianos right hand and the violin plays a2semi-quavers legato / crochet in staccato motif in contrary
movement, covering the 2 possibilities (ascending and descending) already displayed thought the

61-73 Starts imitating the introduction but this time in the key of F minor (v degree). The first theme
starts playing and when the first phrase is about to end the music turns into an episode. It starts
modulating converting triadic major chords intro dominant 7 chords, in this manner, briefly passing
though Db major (bar 69), then Ab major (bar 71) to get to the next important key, Eb major (The IV

74 82 It arrives in Eb with running scales thematic material from the Theme B Group. From here it
modulates through Eb and Db triads to get to C major (77) and repeats the same thing a whole step
above to get to D major (79). D major is the dominant chord needed to arrive at the last important key:
Gm, the relative minor of the main key.

83 99 This whole last section of the development is in Gm. It uses this minor mode to re-display
different themes and motifs from the Exposition in a different mood. Bar 82 has the theme from bar 32,
bar 90 has the motif from bar 26. In bar 93 a very important pause occurs in the music. The rhythm
motif used here reminds of the cell used in bar 3 and in the ending phrases of Theme A. After the
musical breathe, the chromatic syncopated Theme B (from 37) appears in 96.

100 104 It takes 3 bars of harmony changes to get to the F7 dominant chord in bar 103 to modulate
back to the tonic for the recapitulation. The rhythm cell motif again is present here (now with a dotted
quaver) as it was in many endings (phrases and sections) thought the movement.


As usual, the recapitulation display the themes of the Exposition but this time the B themes are played
in the tonic key ending the whole movement with a sense of consonant end of cycle.

This movement is no exception. It starts exactly as the Exposition but it never get to close the 2nd phrase,
instead starts a modulating episode that leads to a bridge in C major in bar 120(being in Gm in the Expo).
Having done that bar 124 naturally falls into a F major dominant chord going to the musical breathe in
129 that prepares the harmony for the Theme B group now in Bb major.

The syncopated Theme B has an interesting variation in and development in the recapitulation. Its first
phrase starts in 135s 3rd beat only last 2 beats cause its interrupted by juxtaposition on semiquaver
descending motifs and ascending scales (that are a continuation from what was happening just before).
This is repeated before finally the 2nd syncopated phrase arrives uninterrupted. The result of this is a
fusion of the 2 main themes of the Theme B group in other words, the first B theme evolves into the
Syncopated B theme. The 2nd phrase now last 4 bars (instead of 2) and the 3rd part with the violin in the
melody occurs with no important variations.
From 152 to 161 the recapitulation offers variations in the arrangement and more development in the
scale motifs than before. In 157 the textures becomes monophonic for 2 beats with the pianos right
hand playing staccato quaver-notes generating an opportunity for a final crescendo adding the left-hand
and violin harmonizing the motif reaching the Forte over a big Bb in 2nd inversion chord (160) with all the
instruments and the left hand of the piano playing the final scale run. So, the final harmony cadence
(before the codetta) is:

ii I 6/4 V7 - I

Cm - Bb/F - F7 - Bb

b158 - b160 - b161 - b162 till the end

In 162 the final codetta in Bb starts and goes the same way it did to end the exposition. The last
dominant chord in bar 166 (maintaining the pedal bass on the tonic) features a crescendo for a dramatic
ending in the tonic.