Home » Pubblicazioni » Rivista di Analisi e Teoria Musicale (RATM) » Anno 2018/1 » On Rhetoric of the Main Key Area in the First-Movement Exposition. The case of Early Beethoven

On Rhetoric of the Main Key Area in the First-Movement Exposition. The case of Early Beethoven

Kerri Kotta - pag. 39-60

The topic of this article is the rhetorical and formal design of the main key area of the sonata exposition in early Beethoven. e harmonic task of the main key area of the former is to articulate the tonic of the main key and then to start moving away from it. e abandonment of the tonic is also re ected in the intensi ca- tion of the musical expression. In the process of intensi cation, it is possible to determine the place where the new, rhythmically more animated action space is irreversibly formed. I refer to this place as the “dramatic turning point” (DTP). DTP is a crucial change in texture or a place where the textural features of the new rhythmically animated action-space have all nally taken shape.

If we observe DTP as one of the central dramatic events of the main key area of sonata exposition, it is possible to describe the main key area as a dramatic journey to DTP and then to medial caesura (MC). DTP is most likely to appear in three places: (1) with the last harmony of the main theme or with the beginning of the transition; (2) with the structural dominant of the transition or a few measures before its arrival; or (3) with the rhetorical gesture immediately preceding MC. Depending on its location, a DTP can be predictive, reactive or con rmatory. De- termination of DTP allows us to explore how the form as a scheme manifests itself as a musical narrative. 

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