Thematic Material in Haydn¶s ³Emperor´ String Quartet, Allegro

by Kyle D. Vanderburg

MUSC 306 ± Form and Analysis Dr. Sharpe December 1, 2008

Vanderburg 1 Thematic Material in Haydn¶s ³Emperor´ String Quartet, Allegro Franz Joseph Haydn, with some help from other noteworthy composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, basically built the genre of classical music (Stauffer, 64). From his work reshaping various musical forms to his adoption of 4-part writing in his composition, there is little wonder as to why Haydn was referred to as ³Father of the Symphony (Slonimsky, 737).´ In addition to his contribution in the area of the symphony, Haydn also wrote an immense number of string quartets, of which the ³Emperor´ quartet is just one. It is number three in a collection of quartets written in 1797, known as the Erdödy Quartets, opus 76 (Slonimsky, 739). The overall structure of the first movement of the ³Emperor´ quartet is that of sonata form, which first came into existence in the early 1740s (Stauffer, 63). The exposition begins in bar one and lasts until bar 44b, the development begins at bar 45b and ends at bar 64, the retransition begins at bar 65 and lasts until bar 78, and the recapitulation begins at bar 79 and lasts until bar 102, at which point the coda begins and continues to the end of the piece, at bar 124. The exposition of the ³Emperor´ quartet contains the normal sonata structure of primary material, transition, secondary material, and closing (abbreviated P, T, S, and K). The primary material in this case is split into three parts, labeled as P1, P2, and P3. The material that makes up segment P1 begins at the beginning pickup note and lasts for four bars; segment P2 lasts from the pickup to bar five through bar 12; segment P3 lasts from the pickup to bar 13 through bar 17. In this iteration, all three segments are in the opening key of C major, which ultimately leads to the transition in bar 18. Segments P1 and P3 share a considerable amount of thematic material, which can be seen in the opening five-note motive in segment P1 which can be seen in bar thirteen, and the syncopated first violin line which appears in bars three and fourteen. Segment

Vanderburg 2 P2 is a departure from these other two segments, but similarities still exist. The aforementioned opening five notes, prevalent in segments P1 and P3, shows up in bars five-seven, acting as an accompanimental device to the dotted sixteenth²thirty-second rhythms in the violins and later the full ensemble. The transition to the secondary key area is in the expected key of D major, as evidenced by the D pedal in the cello and the addition of F-sharps, and functions as a secondary dominant (more specifically, V of V.) This transition lasts for eight bars, from 18 to 25, and is made up of two separate parts. The first occupies the first five bars of the transition, and is characterized by the sixteenth-note pedal on D, as well as variations on an ornamented version of material which originally shows up in the latter half of bar three, in the violin I part. This first section ends with two sets of sextuplets in the violin I part, followed by a short pause, before continuing to the second transitional section. The second section has a feeling that is slower overall, with longer note values which are arranged in a more contrapuntal format. The secondary key area is split into two sections, labeled S1 and S2, and focuses around the key of G major. Segment S1 begins in bar 26 and lasts until bar 32, while segment S2 begins in bar 33 and lasts until bar 37. The sixteenth-note pulse of segment S1 is reminiscent of the pulse seen in the transition, only in this iteration the pulse is provided by the second violin and viola instead of the cello. The cello in this instance carries an accompanimental line to the melody in the first violin, which appears to be new material. The use of modal interchange (between G major and G minor) allows Haydn to cadence on an Eb major chord which acts as a flat six of five chord. The second segment of the secondary key area is similar to the second segment of the transition, in that it is written in a more contrapuntal form, using the opening five-

Vanderburg 3 note motive and canonizing it. However, in this second segment, in bar 36, Haydn uses a German sixth chord which allows him to cadence on an dominant chord. The closing, or segment K, borrows largely from segment S1. So far, in fact, that it could be said that the first five bars of the nine-bar closing segment are identical to segment S1. The departure from old material does not stop after these five bars, but instead borrows from sections of the transition (bar 18). The closing segment ends in the dominant key of G major, before repeating back to the beginning for another playing. The development of the Emperor quartet appears to be rather short, lasting from bar 45 to bar 64. The dotted-sixteenth²thirty-second note rhythm shows up for the first several bars, accompanied by the opening five-note motive in the viola and cello, and later the second violin. This breaks into the descending third motive in bar 49, which is canonized and fragmented. The sixteenth-note pulse seen in the transition and secondary key area returns in bar 60, and continues for the remainder of the development, while motives from the secondary key area are developed. The retransition to the recapitulation begins in bar 65, with a pedal E in the cello and viola, an unexpected key, as the normally accepted key would have been G major. This E pedal acts as Major III in the overall key of C major, which creates a jarring effect when the recapitulation hits at bar 79. In addition to the pedal E in the viola and cello, the first violin contains a modified line, which again starts -with the opening five-note motive, and turns into the dotted-sixteenth²thirty-second note rhythm in both violin parts. This continues for several bars before bar 75, where the E major pedal transitions to a key area that acts more as e minor, acting as a more-expected minor iii before breaking back into the primary key area of C major, a

Vanderburg 4 practice that was becoming common as Haydn experimented with harmony in his last string quartets (Grout, 480). For the most part, the recapitulation matches up with the music present in the exposition, with a few exceptions: The transition and secondary key area are in new keys of the dominant (G Major) and tonic (C major) respectively, and the secondary key area in the recapitulation is significantly shorter than the original due to the addition of a harmonic detour. The secondary key area in the recapitulation appears to be only five bars in length, before ending in a fermata followed by a second fermata. In bar 105, the descending third motive seen in the very beginning of the quartet is expanded and canonized, which results in a harmonic detour to A-flat major in half notes in bar 109, serving as flat-VI which changes to a German sixth in bar 111. This detour leads to the closing section, consisting of sixteenth-note pulse in the viola and second violin accompanying the first violin line. This final closing ends as the first closing ended, with a set of repeat signs. Overall, the ³Emperor´ quartet¶s first movement appears to have a very conservative use of motivic material. The opening five-note motive, and the derived descending-third motive is used in nearly every section, while the dotted-sixteenth²thirty-second rhythm acts as a unifying device throughout the P2 segment as well as the development. The sixteenth-note pulse serves both as a rhythmic device and works to solidify the harmonic structure, often serving as a pedal point. The primary motive for the secondary key section is used frequently in the development and also serves as the primary motive for the closing. Haydn¶s use of contrapuntal techniques, especially canon, serves as a way to breathe new life into material that has already been presented and re-presented.

Vanderburg 5 Haydn¶s conservative use of material may account for why he was able to create so much music. His symphonies number over one hundred, numerous string quartets, fifteen masses, several oratorios, and a significant number of concertos and dramatic works (Slonimsky, 739). His output alone should deem him worthy of attention, but his talent at turning small motives into large works should garner praise.

Vanderburg 6 Works Cited

Grout, Donald J. and Claude V. Palisca. A History of Western Music. 6th ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2001. Slonimsky, Nicolas. Baker¶s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. 8th ed. New York: Schirmer, 1992 Stauffer, George B. The Modern Orchestra: A Creation of the Late Eighteenth Century´ The Orchestra: Origins and Transformations. Ed. Joan Peyser. New York: BillboardWatson-Guptill, 2000. 41-72.

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