Monday, August 29, 2005

Beethoven's Ninth: Allegro, V

On the final page of the previous analysis post, at measure 162, the development section proper began. I apologize for this awkward page break, but there wasn't really much I could do about it. That the development starts out exactly like the exposition is unusual, but as previously mentioned, the exposition has a built in repeat on a different tonal level (Outlining a V to i progression), and so it is not repeated verbatim as a more traditional sonata process movement would be. As we saw, B varies the t1 theme with the second beat accents, which he develops to set up a modulation to the subdominant level, and so here we are.



The broad unfolding of the V/iv continues at measure 174, and we finally hit the iv on the second beat accent feature in measure 178. At this point, Beethoven combines t1 and t1a in a continuing development. V7/iv returns at measure 184, and with the appearance of the E-flat at the end of measure 185, I began to analyze the piece in the key of the subdominant, G minor. In my years as a student I used to get marked down for this, since it seemed that all of my theory profs would not change the tonal level of the analysis until the new tonic chord itself appeared. This is simply a result of how I think when I am writing music: I think ahead, so I analyze ahead. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that B has this entire piece absolutely perfectly thought out from beginning to end, so it is my contention that this forward-looking analysis approach is more closely aligned with what the compositional process is actually all about.

At measure 188, Beethoven uses the t8 closing theme of the exposition to set up the appearance of the new tonic (Actually, the subdominant region of the home key, if you subscribe to integrated tonal theory, as I do).



The i chord appears along with an episode built out of the head figure of the t2 theme. The initial measure repeats, and then progresses to the new subdominant level, which itself is a prefiguring of the next temporary tonic, which will be C minor. At measure 196, I have labeled the passage as cadential episode three. I'm not certain that will make it through to the final revision, but it seems appropriate for the time being. This little cadential motif returns, so there is a thematic element to it, but it is pretty generic rhythmically, so I don't consider it to be a proper theme.

A vii(d7)/V starts off the passage, and it is treated as a suspension of the following V(6/5)/V. Now, the ii diminished minor seventh in second inversion that appears in measure 197 I have analyzed using the precise intervallic definition within perentheses. Personally, I have never cared for this system, and I may change it to ii(dm4/3) for "two diminished-minor seventh in second inversion", but for the time being I am sort of going back and forth with it. The reason I do this is an artifact of my undergraduate degree being in jazz theory (And I studied at the Guitar Institute SW before even those years), and I still am somewhat more comfortable with jazz terminology, which basically describes almost everything in root position terminology first (Especially for us guitarists, who have the bass players or keyboard players defining the inversions for us), and the inversion second. Anyway, after all of these secondary dominant type sonorities, the V finally appears on the second beat of measure 197.

t1 combined with t1a then reappears at 198, and this is itself a variation of measures 180-187. I had to stack up the analysis symbols at the end of measure 201 to indicate the upcoming shift in tonic level, which is a perfect reflection of where I shifted back in measure 186. Again, it is the appearance of the next flat, A-flat, that promped this. B cuts this short this time around, but t8 again reappears to set up the next tonicised level at 206. These variation techniques, where repeats are characterized by thematic and harmonic inversion, are highly reminiscent of fugal technique, which Beethoven was obviously very fond of.



Our new tonicised region of C minor formally appears at measure 210, again with a variation of the passage that introduced the G minor back in measure 192 which is built of the head figure of the main theme, t2. ce3 reappears in sequence, but this time it is repeated in variation to set up the development section's first appearance of the complete main theme. Where B previously used the inversion of the ii chord, in these variations he uses hybrid structures to get more tension. I would argue against calling these suspensions, because the voices don't resolve by step. They are obviously functioning as subdominants though. In any event, they are very cool sounding and not something I have ever thought of doing myself in this kind of a context.

The main theme appears in the bass at measure 218, and the tail is now used as a development motif starting in measure 220. It's really neat how B hangs the arpeggios off of the repeated and tied G's. I returned the analysis to G minor in measure 222 due to the appearance of the A-natural. It is marked with an asterisk because it qualifies as a raised sixth degree when related to the previous region, and this is the first one of those in this entire piece so far: Just an interesting detail I'm keeping track of. The opressive prevailing darkness of the this music is related to the absence of the raised sixth degrees, and this little feature really does stand out as a "note of optimism" here.

At 224 t2 reappears back in the subdominant region, and now in the upper voice. The tail is again used to play out the subsequent development, which we will start out with next time.

I have a big outdoor concert coming up next weekend (Just a TON of acts appearing, of which I'm number four), which I will be preparing for the rest of the week, so no more blogging until next week sometime.

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