Sonata for Arpeggione and Piano. D.821 Franz Schubert The only considerable piece written for the brief-life instrument named arpeggione and built around 1823 by Johann Georg Stauffer is this Sonata for Arpeggione and Piano composed by Franz Schubert in 1824. The arpeggione itself was similar to the ancient bass viol (viola da gamba): a bowed instrument with six strings invented by the aforementioned guitar luthier and which had a very short history (its life lasted about a decade). Despite the composition date of this sonata it was not premiered until the 1870s 1, and since then it has be performed mainly by cello, viola and other arrangements such as double bass, flute or guitar. As we have analyzed a viola version we will refer more often to viola although the work had been composed for arpeggione. This piece was composed by Schubert in his last years, when he was already suffering from the disease which would eventually cause his death four years later. We can observe on this piece the two fundamental aspects which define Schubert's style: the inheritance of the sonata form and other patterns of classical organization, and the introduction of a romantic style based on a music much freer to express emotions and drama. The larger structure of the work is a clear cut example of sonata form with the following structure: m. 1 m. 22 m. 31 m. 40 m. 53 m. 74 EXPOSITION 1st Theme P1 A minor Group P2 Transition 2nd Theme S1 Group S2 C Major DEVELOPMENT F Major D minor F Major F minor A minor 1st Theme P1 A minor Group P2 A minor E minor Transition nd m. 124 RECAPITULATION m. 136 m. 149 m. 157 m. 170 m. 188 CODA A minor 2 Theme S1 A Major Group S2 A minor 1 G. HAYES, E. FONTANA.: “Arpeggione”, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.ed. S. Sadie and J. Tyrrell (London: Macmillan, 2001) See the Appendix for any doubts with regard to the symbols utilized. These three eighth notes are Motive y. For example the last note of measure 13. but it has 9 due to this appearance of the Neapolitan as a momentary Tonic. three ascending eighth notes connect Motive x with another appearance of the same motive. it starts a 2 “A” on the score. at measure 7. accompanied by an Alberti bass in the piano.The exposition begins with the appearance of the Primary Theme 2 in the piano without the viola. The characteristics that identify this motive as unique are the long notes used. again the Cadential four-six which leads to Dominant seventh chord and finally it resolves to Tonic offbeat after an appoggiatura of all the chord. at the same time that the second phrase of the Primary Theme ends. This phrase ends with a narrowing of the harmonic rhythm (one chord per quarter note). at measure 5 Motive y is treated contrapuntally. 3 Harmonic analysis detailed on the score. the intervallic of two steps in ascending and descending direction and its legato articulation. and was preceded by it as well. and a noteworthy variation takes place in the right hand of the piano: the previous off-beat and ascending Motive y is now onbeat and descending. using both motives: original and varied. the shape of Motive x is this one: Immediately after this cadence. At measure 22. This time this tonicization lasts three whole measures. where an ornamental variation occurs. letting see an interesting measure 8: with a homophonic texture only disturbed by a grupetto it displays a Cadential four-six chord. Although there is a subtle appearance of the Neapolitan as a passing tone at measure 16. This theme starts defining the key by a Perfect Authentic Cadence at the very first measures3. the region of tonicization of this chord is going to happen after the cadence with the unresolved leadingtone. and continues being imitated contrapuntally at the viola and the upper voice of the piano. and after that some variations are included in it. which is identified by being ascending (regardless of its intervals). legato and offbeat: After a Plagal Cadence with the same Motive x. the first subphrase is exactly the same as it was at the previous phrase. named “x”. After that. which only reinforces a few fragments of the theme such as Motive y at measure 11. with an escape tone. which is out of the chord of tonic. then two neighbour tones which bring about a German sixth. This tonicization of the Neapolitan is responsible for the unusual length of the phrase: it was supposed to have 8 measures. Following this initial phrase when the Primary Theme occurs for the first time. and the upper part presents the first motive of this theme. it begins again in the viola. . being imitated in several voices and even changing its intervallic setting. the development of this motive is abruptly interrupted by an unusual chord: the Dominant of the Neapolitan that resolves to its Tonic. So that. Regarding to the viola's melody. and the last beat of measure 14. It seems to come promptly. Two measures later Motive x' is modified as well. The first two measures define the new tonal area of C Major. 5 “B2” on the score. The following measures lead to a climax at measure 49 and then the melody changes into a more cadential design which ends in a Perfect Authentic Cadence at measure 53.variation of the Theme that we have named Primary Theme 2 (P2)4. but with a much more enlarged harmonic rhythm following the circle of fifths. consisting of a variation of the former rhythm and articulation but keeping its intervals. and its harmonic rhythm has been narrowed as well. It can be divided in two: the first Dominant-Tonic progression (m. but instead of that there is a fragment much longer which prepares the audience to hear the final cadence of the exposition. for example Tonic in A minor at measure 31 can be the Sixth grade in C Major. because as being relative keys. 29). At measure 44 it starts a fragment of definition of key. In fact. The following measures are always trying to fulfill the Authentic Cadence but it is interrupted again at measure 67 and it keeps gathering tension until it 4 “A2” on the score. or to the Relative key if it is Minor. This way the Primary Theme Section ends with five measures of Perfect Authentic Cadence and Plagal Cadence just before the modulation that is going to take place at the following measures. a succession of chords leading to the Dominant pedal point at measure 36 accompany to an early presentation of Motive z. after the viola's ascent with a dynamic descent (m. This is absolutely standard regarding the classical sonata form. and the second Subdominant-Tonic progression to finish. especially because of the long Cadential four-six chord at measures 60 to 62. the accompaniment retakes the character of P2. which lead to a Dominant seventh chord that causes an Interrupted Cadence in spite of the melodic resolution of the viola part. After defining C Major. Once the pedal point has lasted enough. Then there is a subphrase whose aim is defining the key and serve as a prolonged cadence. which usually has a modulation to the Dominant if the main key is Major. forming different chords by adding nonchord notes (such as F# and Eb at measure 36. . which is going to be responsible for the melodic material of the following section. The exposition's transition starts at measure 31. which reminds of a Secondary diminished seventh chord). The melody of the viola has been changed motivically: Motive x has derived into Motive x'. This variation can be observed in every one of the layers which form the music: the accompaniment has changed its Alberti bass texture into a texture of on-beat bass plus off-beat chord. in which viola varies Motive z in a kind of descending design. At the Secondary Theme. a decrescendo and ritardando prepares the mood for the Secondary Theme Group which is going to begin at measure 40. and also in a mixture between motives x and z at measure 45. because they are two groups of two measures with the same harmonic and rhythmic accompaniment with subtle modifications of Motive x' in the viola. almost all of A minor and C Major chords can be used as common chords. a definition of key should follow. At the same measure it starts the second part of the Secondary Theme (S2) 5. the modulation could had occurred before the transition begins. 26). It begins with the same setting of S1 (melody based on Motive z in the viola plus on-beat and off-beat accompaniment in the piano) despite a minimum difference of articulation in the viola with respect to the first part of this theme. When the first four measures of the circle of fifths have ended. which is going to be the main key of the Secondary Theme Group. This phrase can be divided into four segments: the two first segments are very similar. by means of replacing two eighth notes by four sixteenth notes. and the melody displayed in the viola uses the Motive z (double neighbouring notes) for a measure and then the piano answers it with the same element in its upper part. Then. playing Motive y in pizzicato. It also has an inversion and retrogradation of the motives from measure 36 between measures 154 to 156. It also has great contrasts of character. At measure 196 the same process of measure 26 takes place. At this moment the viola has melodic material from the transition and the rhythmic pattern of the upper voice in the piano comes from the Primary Theme by diminution. a Deceptive Cadence V-II (m. 83) and an omnibus texture (m. It is very similar to P2 but by augmentation of every motive. P1 and P2 are both fairly similar to the exposition. but a lot of interest because of the many ways of varying them. The recapitulation starts at measure 124 directly with the exposition of the theme by the viola. with the difference of the stop of the harmonic rhythm at measure 200 and the final Perfect Authentic Cadence. with the same rhythmic diminution which took place at measure 79. and the harmonic development leads us to a Dominant pedal point which starts at measure 110 and goes on until measure 123. and also that if this Sonata hadn't existed. it starts the same setting as in S1.finishes at measure 71. The transition at measure 148 is very similar as well. and there are no significant differences with the exposition through all this section. . because the character changes abruptly in order to link more smoothly with the following section. this phrase ends with a Perfect Authentic Cadence at measure 87. perfect coherence given by the few motives employed. 81). not to modulate but to stay at the same key. at measure 79. and with the first cadence of this key starts again Motive z. The Secondary Group Theme start at measure 157 in A Major instead of minor. Right there. such as the absolute coherence and standard of the sonata form and the braver harmonic experimentation. and the viola is added to the accompaniment. but at measure 91 a circle of fifths occurs again imitating Motive z between viola and the left hand in a bass register. it wouldn't have been such a growing interest in recovering this instrument as there is nowadays. 84). The exposition is closed with two more V-I which reinforce the definition of key. If we take again an overview of this movement we can find out that here perfectly coexist samples of Classical and Romantic styles. it has some harmonic modifications because of its new purpose. After two measures of F Major and two of F minor a process of retransition begins: Motive z is being continued in the bass voice of the piano. at measure 101. A different section can be observed from measure 115 to 123. The development section6 begins at measure 74 in F Major. the only noteworthy difference is the modulation to E minor located at measure 140. We could say that this is absolutely the best work written for arpeggione in the brief development of the instrument at Nineteenth Century. a process of modulation begins (detailed on the score) and leads us to F Major at measure 97. During four measures there are just I-V-I-V-I. The movement ends with a Coda which starts at measure 188. The Primary Theme is now in the upper voice of the piano in octaves. 6 “Desarrollo” on the score. After that. a chromatic modulation occurs and leads us to D minor. After an appearance of the Neapolitan (m. but with the articulation of S2 in the viola.
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