An exploration of the key characteristics in Beethoven's Piano Sonatas and selected instrumental repertoire
Citation:Dimitri Papadimitriou, 'An exploration of the key characteristics in Beethoven's Piano Sonatas and selected instrumental repertoire'
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Associating Beethoven and tonal affect has been an attractive scholarly practice for many generations. Although there seems to be a widespread acknowledgment about Beethoven’s key symbolism, rarely do historians examine how his music reflects the several verbal characterisations attached to certain keys. The primary objective of this study will be an attempt to depict Beethoven’s tonal ethos by focusing mostly on his piano sonatas, without excluding other important instrumental works. Prior to identifying tonal archetypes upon which he was composing, an exploration of the concept of key characteristics will be undertaken in order to build a framework which will be applied to the sonata cycle. Texture will be established as the only objective means of conveying the character of a key when dealing with untexted music. The importance of introducing multiple praxes for each key and distinguishing structural from affective thematic material will also be stressed. During the examination process, the categorisation of the sonatas according to the choice of key and their praxes will result in specific excerpts, which will be then compared with the intention to create groups based on textural signature behaviours. Finally, this study will also address how the knowledge of Beethoven’s tonal approach can affect several interpretation decisions
Author: Papadimitriou, Dimitri
Type of material:thesis
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