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An application of the Grundgestalt concept to the First and Second sonatas for clarinet and piano, op. 120, no. 1 & no. 2, by Johannes Brahms
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by Devon Burts.
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University of South Florida,
Thesis (M.M.)--University of South Florida, 2004.
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ABSTRACT: A distinct feature of Brahms's compositional style is the cumulative development of melodic material that occurs throughout the composition. This motivic treatment appears in rhythmic and pitch fragments that are prolonged though various repetitions and newly derived figures related to earlier statements at the beginning of the composition. The compositional practices of Brahms as they relate to thematic unity reflect an earlier concept of the Grundgestalt, described in elements of nature by the 19th century philosopher, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The creative application of this concept by Brahms influenced the work of Arnold Schoenberg, who provided a more formal description as it relates to music and the compositional process. In this thesis, a relationship between Schoenberg's concept of the Grundgestalt and Brahms's compositional technique of motivic manipulations is explored. Movements from the First and Second Sonata for Clarinet and Piano by Brahms have been selected in order to observe his motivic treatment and the ways in which it permeates the composition. The motivic development that characterizes Brahms's style involves an initial motive with a distinct contour and intervallic content. The motive is manipulated with various techniques such as inversion, rhythmic variety and reordered segments that later transform into newly derived forms. An analysis of motivic material and the techniques that create a type of "developing variation" will be a significant focus of this thesis.
Adviser: Anne Hawkins.
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
An Application of the Grundgestalt Concept to the First and Second Sonatas for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 120, No. 1 & No. 2, by Johannes Brahms by Devon Burts A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Music Theory Department of Music Theory Collage of Visual and Performing Arts University of South Florida Major Professor: Anne Hawkins, M.M. Robert Clifford, Ph.D. Kim McCormick, D.M.A. Date of Approval: July 15, 2004 Keywords: Basic Shape, Analysis, Josef Rufer, Erwin Stein, Theory Copyright 2004, Devon Asia Burts
Table of Contents List of Figures......................................................................ii Abstract................................................................................................................................v Introduction..........................................................................................................................1 Chapter One: A Critical Discussion of the Grundgestalt....................................................5 Goethe's Influence..................................................................................................7 The Compositional Style of Brahms......................................................................9 The Grundgestalt.................................................................................................12 Chapter Two: An Analysis of the First Sonata, First Movement .....................................16 Treatment of Form................................................................................................16 Manipulations of the Grundgestalt.......................................................................18 Contrapuntal Techniques......................................................................................27 Chapter Three: An Analysis of the First Sonata, Third Movement...................................32 Traditional Treatment of Form............................................................................32 Application of the Grundgestalt..........................................................................33 Contrapuntal Practices.........................................................................................41 Chapter Four: An Analysis of the Second Sonata, Third Movement................................45 Traditional Use of Form.......................................................................................45 Development of Main Theme...............................................................................46 Developmental Techniques Applied to Variations...............................................51 Chapter Five: Conclusion..................................................................................................57 Bibliography......................................................................................................................61 i
List of Figures Figure 1a: The Grundgestalt in mm. 1-4 (piano)...............................................................19 Figure 1b: Grundgestalt in the clarinet (mm. 18-24).........................................................20 Figure 2a: Motive form x (RH piano) and m. 56 (B theme in the clarinet).......................21 Figure 2b: B theme between mm. 53-54 (clarinet and RH piano).....................................22 Figure 2c: Rhythmic alteration of B theme in the piano (mm. 61-64)............................. 22 Figure 3: Treatment motive forms x and x in mm. 90-93 (LH piano)..............................23 Figure 4a: Underlying five-note pattern in Grundgestalt .................................................24 Figure 4b: Five-note pattern in the lower voice (m. 56)....................................................24 Figure 4c: Five-note pattern in the clarinet and RH piano (mm. 67-76).......................25 Figure 4d: Resolution of five-note pattern in the clarinet (mm. 87-89).............................26 Figure 5a: First aspect of a transitional passage in the piano (mm. 91-94).......................27 Figure 5b: Second aspect of a transitional passage in the piano (mm. 121-122)...............27 Figure 6a: Contrapuntal application of motive forms in the piano (mm. 96-99)...............28 Figure 6b: Contrary motion in both instruments (mm. 209-213)......................................29 Figure 7: Key areas............................................................................................................30 Figure 8a: Grundgestalt in the clarinet (mm. 1-3).............................................................34 Figure 8b: A b (mm. 16-20).......................................................................34 Figure 9a: B a (mm. 48-51)...............................................................................................35 Figure 9b: B b (mm. 64-65)...............................................................................................36 ii
Figure 9c: B a (mm. 80-83)...............................................................................................36 Figure 10a: Three-note fragment in the clarinet (mm. 1-3)...............................................37 Figure 10b: Variation of y and three-note fragment in the clarinet (mm. 41-46)..........38 Figure 10c: The presentation of y in the clarinet (mm. 48-52).........................................38 Figure 10d: Resolution of y in the clarinet (mm. 62-63)..................................................38 Figure 10e: Development of motive forms in the clarinet (mm. 76-89)............................39 Figure 11: Developmental treatment of motive forms in the clarinet (mm. 32-39)..........40 Figure 12: Motive forms x and y in the piano (mm. 17-20)............................................41 Figure 13a: Contrapuntal techniques between voices (mm. 1-3)......................................42 Figure 13b: Treatment of motive forms between instruments (mm. 8-11)........................43 Figure 13c: Treatment of motive forms between instruments (mm. 29-31)......................44 Figure 14: Motive forms between instruments (m.1)........................................................46 Figure 15: The Grundgestalt in the clarinet (m. 1-4).........................................................47 Figure 16: Overlapping of motive forms in the clarinet (mm. 9-10).................................48 Figure 17: Overlapping of motive forms in the clarinet (mm. 10-11)...............................49 Figure 18a: Similarities of shape within motive forms......................................................50 Figure 18b: Developmental treatment of the motive forms in the main theme.................51 Figure 19: Variation 1 in the clarinet and the main theme (mm. 15-18)...........................52 Figure 20: Variation 2 in the clarinet (mm. 29-32)............................................................53 Figure 21: Variation 3 in the clarinet (m. 43) and motive form x......................................53 Figure 22: Motive forms between instruments (mm. 108-104).........................................54 Figure 23: Treatment of motive forms between instruments (mm. 134-137)....................55 iii
Figure 24: Overlapping of motive forms in the clarinet (mm. 148-150)...........................55 iv
An Application of the Grundgestalt Concept to the First and Second Sonatas for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 120, No. 1 & No. 2, by Johannes Brahms Devon Burts ABSTRACT A distinct feature of Brahms's compositional style is the cumulative development of melodic material that occurs throughout the composition. This motivic treatment appears in rhythmic and pitch fragments that are prolonged though various repetitions and newly derived figures related to earlier statements at the beginning of the composition. The compositional practices of Brahms as they relate to thematic unity reflect an earlier concept of the Grundgestalt, described in elements of nature by the 19 th century philosopher, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The creative application of this concept by Brahms influenced the work of Arnold Schoenberg, who provided a more formal description as it relates to music and the compositional process. In this thesis, a relationship between Schoenberg's concept of the Grundgestalt and Brahms's compositional technique of motivic manipulations is explored. Movements from the First and Second Sonata for Clarinet and Piano by Brahms have been selected in order to observe his motivic treatment and the ways in which it permeates the composition. The motivic development that characterizes Brahmss style involves an initial motive with a distinct contour and intervallic content. The motive is manipulated with various techniques such as inversion, rhythmic variety and reordered segments that v
later transform into newly derived forms. An analysis of motivic material and the techniques that create a type of developing variation will be a significant focus of this thesis. vi
INTRODUCTION A distinctive trait of Brahms's compositional technique is the continuous unfolding of a germ (musical idea) as it is developed into derived material and becomes interwoven throughout the composition. Brahms achieves unity and cohesiveness through various levels of motivic development. This treatment of thematic material occurs with various techniques such as inversion, augmentation, retrograde and reordering. Additional motives and fragments are formed which are related to earlier thematic statements. Influenced by Brahms's compositional style, Arnold Schoenberg expands a concept that describes unity within a composition. The Grundgestalt is a method in which distinct thematic material occurs at the beginning of a piece and subsequently emerges in various melodic and harmonic manifestations through an ongoing developmental process. This approach has importance not only in melodic material, but in other aspects like texture, harmonic function and counterpoint. Schoenberg's definition of the Grundgestalt describes many components of this model. His analytical observations provide considerable insights into the compositional process. He refers to this concept as a "basic shape" and further as opening material distinguished by pitch, rhythm and contour. Schoenberg also extends the characteristics that classify this "basic shape" to harmonic function and key areas. In his discussions, he 1
identifies developmental techniques used by earlier composers and formulates procedures that develop his twelve-tone works. This thesis explores the relationship between Brahms's compositional techniques and the Grundgestalt through analyses of specific movements of the Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 120, No. 1 and No. 2. The compositional process of Brahms has been examined in his larger works such as the symphonies and piano sonatas. However, smaller works such as the clarinet sonatas also contain creative expressions of his developmental process. An analytical discussion of selected movements will explore the manner in which thematic unity is achieved through motivic development, that completely permeates different musical elements within a composition. During these analyses, relationships are made between specific compositional techniques and the concept of the Grundgestalt. The first chapter contains references to historical origins and influences of the Grundgestalt as well as specific philosophical concepts of the nineteenth century. In addition, this chapter contains a discussion of Brahms's influence on Schoenberg and the interpretations of the Grundgestalt by Schoenberg and his students, Erwin Stein and Josef Rufer. In order to explore Brahms's application of the Grundgestalt in his music, selected movements are applied to both clarinet sonatas. Chapter Two emphasizes motivic development in the First movement of the first sonata. This discussion involves the degree to which pitch and intervallic content contribute to thematic unity. The treatment of this concept with reference to form and harmonic function is discussed. 2
The third chapter contains an analysis of the third movement of the First sonata. This movement has been selected because it is considerably different from the first movement in that the intervallic content is not as complex. Also, this is an excellent example that demonstrates the matter in which the Grundgestalt can be applied to two contrasting movements. The development of rhythmic and intervallic content is the focus of this chapter. Chapter Four illustrates specific applications of the Grundgestalt by an analysis of the third movement in the second sonata. This movement, a theme and variations, contains a creative approach to the concept of "basic shape" and the technique of motivic development within the theme as well as subsequent variations. A focus is given to the development of the motive forms in the original theme and the coda. Chapter Five contains a summary of the Grundgestalt by its significance through the selected movements. The development of thematic material is discussed by reaffirming prominent aspects of each movement. A review of Brahmss compositional style is also addressed. In addition to the analytical discussion of thematic unity in these chapters, there is a brief discussion of form. The structure of each movement provides a framework for observing the significant placement of motives and their developmental treatment. This thesis also contains a discussion of the linear development of motives within the Grundgestalt as well as the vertical development using techniques of counterpoint., form and contrapuntal techniques are discussed in Chapters Two, Three and Four. The form of each movement is addressed before the analysis since the development of motive forms 3
usually occur at structural places in the composition. Also, the development of motive forms within the contrapuntal texture is an important aspect of the Grundgestalt since it permeates other features of the compositional process. 4
Chapter One A Critical Discussion of the Grundgestalt A real composer does not compose merely one or more themes, but a whole piece. In an apple tree's blossoms, even in the bud, the whole future apple is present in all its details-they have only to mature, to grow, to become the apple, the apple tree, and its power of reproduction. Similarly, the real composer's musical conception, like the physical, is one single act, comprising the totality of the product. The form in its outline, characteristics of tempo dynamics, moods of the main and subordinate ideas, their relations, derivations, their contrasts and deviations-all these are there at once, though in embryonic state. The ultimate formulation of all melodies, themes, rhythms, and many details will subsequently develop though the generating power of the germs. ---Arnold Schoenbergs "Folkloristic Symphonies" in Style and Idea. The process of growth and development from an embryonic state to a full stage of maturity is evident in nature and also observable in art. In a musical application that reflects thematic unity, the evolution of a musical idea occurs and is continually developed as it permeates the composition. The melodic and harmonic material of a composition will unfold during numerous transformations, but the origin is always recognized because it retains many distinct features of the original idea. A concept that embodies the principles of this process is called the Grundgestalt, a term used by Arnold 5
Schoenberg (1874-1951) to describe motivic development as a compositional process. His analytical perspectives provide significant insights into the developmental techniques of motivic composers and establish the foundation for his compositional style. Schoenberg's description provides clarity to motivic development and consequently it is an appropriate format for observing other sonatas of Johannes Brahms (1833-1897). The compositional process of Brahms provides a model for Schoenbergs concept of the basic shape by establishing thematic unity through the development of motive forms. The characteristics of Brahms's style reflect the creative manner in which he combines every dimension of the musical work with motivic content. This process generates a cycle of integrated motives that contain distinct elements of the original, while being gradually transformed into potentially new motive forms. Motivic unity was a characteristic of German composers from Bach to Brahms and Schoenberg continued this musical tradition. Specifically traceable to Brahms, Schoenberg's style also represents a larger German tradition of cohesively structured, motivic music characterized by integrated melodic and harmonic relationships-qualities that Schoenberg would later describe as aspects of the unity of musical space, where melody accompaniment, harmony and rhythm are interrelated as multidimensional expressions of a single idea (Bailey, 1998, 238). The concept of Grundgestalt appropriately reflects the unifying elements that reflect Brahmss compositional style. The term has acquired a generally accepted translation of basic shape and denotes the fundamental concept underlying a musical work, the features of which influence and determine specific ideas within the work itself 6
(Epstein, 1979, 17). A "basic shape" is a unique "idea" that occurs at the beginning of a work. The "ideas" are developed through various transformations such as inversion, retrograde and transposition. The "basic shape" is an abstract entity because it has no musical characteristics except for its succession of intervals. It is usually embedded in the theme then treated with variations in a conventional way. The intervals of one such form of the "basic shape" may be directly applied to the line or, more typically, to several simultaneous lines and chords occurring in a region within the musical structure (Simms, 1999, 176). Goethe's Influence The philosophical origins of the Grundgestalt were highly influenced by the philosopher, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), who lived a century before Schoenberg. Goethe was a poet, playwright and botanist who was highly influential in the 19th century. He was a significant philosopher in the transition from the Enlightenment to the Romantic eras and he influenced composers like Brahms through his volumes of poetry and essays since his ideas had a universal appeal. A concept which had significance to composers in the 19 th century was Goethes description of the Gestalt. Gestalt is an interdisciplinary universal theory that presents a framework for an extensive range of psychological phenomena, progressions, and manifestations. Gestalt, a word having no literal English equivalent, connotes form, formation, figure, organization or shape. It is particularly appropriate for the perception of classification and structure in psychological events. Goethe used the term Gestalt to 7
describe living organisms, however it can be used to describe other characteristics of evolving transformations. Goethe's idea of unity was a significant theory in his research of classifying plants. He considered the plants to come from a single source. Goethe called this one plant an Urpflanze, which is not really a prototype, nor is it primordial, in the sense of being a ancient predecessor. The Urpflanze gives form to itself, a process Goethe called "entelechy, an essential quality of living, bringing "the many out of itself. A significant perspective in Goethe's philosophy is that form is defined by the relationships of its parts. In other words, if we view it, not as a mere aggregate of its parts but as a functional structure, all parts acting on every one and every one on all, each contributing towards the particular whole to which it belongs (Longyear, 1969, 62). It is not enough to view the parts as a whole; there needs to be a focus to their existing reciprocal influence based on their reliance and relationship to each other. Goethe suggested unity must be observed in this manner, and the term Gestalt expressed its importance and identify its meaning. Goethe's philosophies substantially influenced European society because he recognized that there was a gradual transformation occurring in European beliefs. There was an escalating awareness of the expressive and the emotional. This transfiguration would, in time, develop into the foundation for 19th century thought, that was based on emotional response and awareness rather than on compulsory order. In his writings, Goethe wrote and expressed a German love of nature and the concept that human understanding should be balanced by intense emotion. He influenced 8
other aspects of the German culture, and the interrelationship between music and literature reached its peak during the Romantic era. Numerous associates of literary and philosophical German Romanticism held music to be the primary and most significant art form, able to express what could not be articulated in words. The influence was reciprocal, with literature providing a rich source of inspiration for German composers of both instrumental and vocal music, giving rise to a wealth of new forms and styles. The Compositional Style of Brahms The transition from Classical to Romantic style was gradual and not abrupt. While the Romantic style retained the clarity of tonality and metrical periodicity, the elements of form were less clearly delineated. The expression of passion and emotion were represented by a more extensive use of chromaticism and more remote key relationships. Brahms, a Romantic composer who was fundamentally conservative, obtained his inspiration from Classical composers such as Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Brahms created distinctive methods of combining precision and he reserved intricacy of older Classical genres and forms. He also expressed harmonic complexity, melodic ingenuity, and expressive opulence valued in the Romantic era. For Brahms, unlike Beethoven and after him the headier Romantics, freedom lay in the recognition of limitation, as in the Goethean sense, nearer to classical than to the Romantic concept (James, 1972, 144). As a traditionalist, Brahms embraced the principles of the Classical style during the Romantic era. His compositional style, however, was scrutinized by members of the New German School. This school was led by Wagner and Liszt who accentuated 9
expansions in harmony and developments of new musical techniques. Brahmss aversion for their compositional style was due to their lack of form and development of thematic motives. From a 19th century perspective, Brahms generally preferred a more complex motivic style. Thematic unity became an identifiable element of Brahmss style. Brahms followed Goethe's principle of adapting the melody to suit the changing content, while maintaining its basic character (Berger, 1985, 154). Themes and melodic content were diverse in his compositions, however, they still maintained numerous universal components. Whether lyric or dramatic in character, they usually contain a short recurring element-a melodic turn, an interval, a rhythmic pattern-that unifies the melody no matter how greatly it is extended (Ulrich and Pisk, 1963, 38). His treatment of the thematic material created coherence within his compositions. According to the postulates of Goethean classicist aesthetics, the formal principles of metamorphosis and repeated mirroring serve to give a large, multi-sectional composition an inner unity, while at the same time permitting a rich diversity of Gestalten and characters (Botstein, 1999, 67). Between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, there were dramatic reactions to the late Romanticism of previous years. The musical tradition of the nineteenth century was distinguished by the use of expanded chords and atypical rhythmic and melodic variations. In the 20th century, experimentation and new systems of writing music were developed by avant-garde composers who wanted to expand all possibilities of musical thought. Arnold Schoenberg was a 20th century composer who 10
provided explanations for the complexity of contemporary music by associating a basic shape with consistent intervallic content. He believed that the cohesive quality of the music could be achieved by retaining the distinct features of motivic material Schoenberg recognized Brahms's creativity in his treatment of thematic material and called him "progressive" since he accomplished thematic unity in his compositions. Brahms is viewed as Schoenberg's connection to Classicism, to absolute instrumental music, counterpoint, and to aspects of coherence and unity in music, such as complex interrelationships among themes and motives and formal structures based on those relationships (Bailey, 1998, 233). In his essay, "Brahms the Progressive," Schoenberg suggested that modern composers were musically going in the wrong direction in their compositional style. Schoenberg criticized a work that depends solely on sequence, repetition, and a predictable phrase structure. In his article "Brahms the Progressive," Schoenberg remarks that, "An alert and well-trained mind refuses to listen to baby-talk and requests strongly to be spoken to in brief and straight-forward language. In the essay, Schoenberg praises the music of Brahms as symbolic of music that is heading in the right direction. Schoenberg demonstrates the refinement of Brahms's harmonic practice by presenting musical excerpts from Schubert and Beethoven as predecessors to his evolutionary compositional style. Schoenberg later introduces examples from Haydn and Mozart to show their successes in liberating music from the monotony of using the same phrase and metric structure, successes which Brahms utilizes in his own compositions. 11
The Grundgestalt The concept of Grundgestalt, with its embedded foundation of unity, provided a sense of structure to many compositions of the Classical and Romantic era. This concept was based on a germ idea that was initially melodic but later extended to other musical elements. Further, that harmonies, harmonic progressions, key schemes, tonal relations may derive from a basic shape-a point of particular importance where these relationships exceed the norms of conventional practice or seem the result of arbitrary decision (Epstein, 1979, 17). Schoenberg placed few terminological constraints on the Grundgestalt, the word he used to describe the opening material. A fluid or vague definition of this word may have worked for Schoenberg, but it has caused problems for modern analysts. Those interested in exploring a work's linear organicism by means of the Grundgestalt have had to combine together non-generalizable definitions of the term and to rely on associative analysis (i.e., selective highlighting of pitches; loosely-aligned staves) for showing findings (Epstein, 1979, 64). Schoenberg's broad definition for the Grundgestalt is found in the "Gendke" manuscript of 1934-1936: "Grundgestalten" are those Gestalten that (if possible) occur repeatedly within an entire piece and to which derived Gestalten are traceable. (Formerly this was called the motive, but that is a very superficial designation; for Gestalten and Grundgestalten are usually comprised of several motive forms; while the motive is at any one time the smallest part). This definition suggests that the intervallic content of the "basic shape" which occurs at the beginning of a composition is the unifying aspect of a piece and this material is developed throughout the work. A few years before he wrote the definition for 12
the Grundgestalt, he elaborates on the concept of basic shape in his essay "Linear Counterpoint" in 1931: Whatever happens in a piece of music is nothing but the endless reshaping of a "basic shape"...I say a piece of music is a picture book consisting of a series of shapes, which for all their variety still (a) always cohere with one another, (b) are presented as variations (in keeping with the idea) of a basic shape, the various characters and forms arising from the fact that variation is carried out in a number of different ways: the method of presentation used can either "unfold" or "develop. Schoenbergs students were influenced more by the composer's application of the Grundgestalt than by his writings on the subject. The overall definition of the Grundgestalt is broad and consequently, his students elaborated on the concept with their personal interpretations. One of Schoenberg's first students to teach and provide a more thorough discussion of the Grundgestalt was Erwin Stein. He discusses this concept in his article "Neve Formprinzipien" in 1924, but it refers only to the early compositions of twelve tones. Stein defines basic shape as a melodic motive, devoid of rhythm, which contains up to twelve different pitches and is normally encountered at the beginning of the piece (Bailey, 1998, 228). According to Stein, if a basic shape has less than twelve tones, the piece may have more than one basic shape. In his definition, the Grundgestalt is a specific kind of motive since it does not include any rhythmic content. Perhaps the most descriptive and detailed discussion of the Grundgestalt is provided by Josef Rufer, an additional student of Schoenberg. In his book Composition with Twelve Notes, he wrote: In my very full notes of his teaching between 1919 and 1922 I find these definitions: a motive is the smallest musical form consisting of at least one interval and one rhythm. The next sized form is the Grundgestalt of phrase "as a 13
rule two to three bars long" (the number of bars depending on the tempo among other things), and consisting of the "firm connection of one or more motives and their more of less varied repetitions." The next sized form, the theme, "arises from the need to connect several shapes together" and consists of "the connection (here he expressly does not say firm) of the Grundgestalt (basic shape) with its more or less varied repetitions." It is quite clear from this that Schoenberg invented and used the term Grundgestalt as a concept which is universally valid in music, especially in analyses of classical music. So far as I know he never tried...to analyze a whole work showing its derivation from a Grundgestalt. But he certainly spoke of the possibility of doing this. Rufer, like Stein, believed that the "basic shape" is a phrase that occurs at the beginning of a work and is transformed through various techniques of development. He also suggests that the basic shape has at least two motives and the length is between that of a motive and a theme. Another similarity with Steins definition of the Grundgestalt is that the basic shape is the prototype for the entire work. Rufers position on the Grundgestalt is that the material derived from a basic shape is connected to the original shape by variation and also antithetical in its incorporation of new or contrasting themes. Both interpretations of the Grundgestalt represent an arrangement of musical characteristics that are significant to the structure and form of a composition. Those characteristics are revealed in different permutations and on several structural layers. The techniques used to develop the "basic shape" included inversion, retrograde, augmentation, diminution, embellishments, and other compositional techniques as well. In conclusion, the Grundgestalt is a concept that Schoenberg expanded from his knowledge of Goethe's philosophical writings and his analytical observations of Brahms's compositional style. Schoenbergs essay entitled "Brahms the Progressive proclaimed 14
the composer as the predecessor of modernism and acclaimed him for expanding the techniques of classical style, especially in the variations and manifestations of thematic material. In his compositional style, Brahms synthesized the techniques of previous masters such as Bach, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven in order to express elements of Classicism. Brahms, and other composers of the Romantic era, were substantially influenced by the philosophical views of Goethe. During this period, there was a close bond between literature and music. In the Romantic era, German writers and poets had a great influence on composers. Goethe's concept of unity in living organisms were especially intriguing to motivic composers like Brahms. The significance of the Grundgestalt is important to acknowledge because it is not attached to individual periods or styles. It also provides the foundation for creating and observing those principles that contribute to cohesiveness within a musical composition. Schoenberg is recognized for his analytical perspectives that identify the process of continuous unfolding and the development of motives. The concept of Grundgestalt can be traced from a historical foundation in the 18th century to a creative application in the 19th century, and is still being observed in theoretical applications in the 21st century. 15
Chapter Two An Analysis of the First Sonata, First Movement Treatment of Form Brahms was an innovative composer who extended the boundaries of form and his creation in this area is quite evident in the First movement of this Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in f minor. Some characteristics which make up sonata-allegro form are still traditional in this movement. For example, this movement contains four sections that are considered standard componets of sonata-allegro form; the exposition (mm. 1-89), development (mm. 90-130), recapitulation (mm. 131-213) and coda (mm. 214-236). It is in the content within these large sections in which Brahms is unorthodox in his compositional style. An example of Brahmss creative approach to the traditional structure is evidenced in the presentation of Theme A. In a traditional sonata-allegro form, the theme is initially presented by the primary instrument. However, in this composition, Brahms gives the first statement to the piano in mm. 1-4. The clarinet does not have the main theme until m. 19, and it is the only time in the composition where this instrument states the theme in its entirety. When the clarinet is introduced in m. 5, it contains repetitive motivic material that is based on the main theme. This material contains large skips that are developmental in character. 16
Another example of the composer's creative treatment of sonata-allegro form is the structural function that he assigns to the transitional sections. Each of these passages are divided into two well-defined parts that have a contrasting relationship. In the first part, the texture is thin and the meter is clear. Pauses in the melodic content allow a greater focus on the thematic material that follows. Strong beats are emphasized and the duration of notes is contained within each measure. There are clear indications at the beginning and ending of phrases. In the second part of the transitional passage, a thicker texture is created by the use additional notes in the piano. This is especially evident when both hands have different parts that are played simultaneously. Syncopation is created by slurs and sustained notes that extend the duration of melodic material between measures and beats. The second part tends to be more melodic because of frequent the stepwise motion. A further distinction between these portions of the transition passages is created by dynamic contrast; the first part is piano and the second part is forte. The transition section between mm 25-51 assumes a similar structure to the one previously discussed. In the first part (mm. 25-37), rhythmic stability is achieved by an emphasis on the strong beat. In the second part (mm. 38-51), the rhythm is ambiguously camouflaged in the piano by different motives on various beats of each voice. In contrast to the first part, the clarinet has a lyrical melody and the duration of notes are lengthened by the use of half and quarter notes. The dynamic marking of piano in the second part is a contrast to the forte marking in the first part. During the Classical period, form was clearly delineated by well defined phrases 17
and sections. However in this composition, both the beginning and ending of Theme A in the clarinet, (mm. 18-24), is disguised by developmental treatment. At the end of the development section, a false recap, however is stated at mm. 130-134 that interferes with a distinct separation between these two sections. A lack of clarity also occurs when the main theme is presented in f# minor instead of the expected tonic of f minor. The original statement at the beginning of the composition is presented in unison. Manipulations of the Grundgestalt The continuous developmental treatment of the motive forms within the Grundgestalt are expanded throughout the movement. Theme A (mm. 1-4), contains patterns that generate other derived patterns in a variety of permutations. Theme B (mm. 52-53) is derived from particular motive forms and contains distinct features that reflect Theme A. The intervallic content within the "basic shape" is manipulated in several ways that include diminution, retrograde, inversion and rhythmic variations. The Grundgestalt (Figure 1a) between mm. 1-4, occurs at the beginning of the exposition section in f minor. Motive form x is a four-note pattern which consists of an ascending skip of a fourth and a stepwise descent. The remaining motive forms in the Grundgestalt evolves from the first four notes. Motive form x in m. 2 has a similar contour to the previous motive and both patterns contains an ascending skip and a descending step. It is interesting to note that motive form x in comparison to the original motive, only has three notes and the skip is an interval of a third instead of a fourth. The pattern that follows is a sequence of motive form x and x is reordered from the first 18
three notes in motive form x. A three-note pattern is still consistent in motive form x, which is the last part of m. 3 but the intervallic content has changed. The intervals in motive form x is an ascending step and a descending skip of a fourth. The last note in m. 3 is an elision to motive form x in m. 4. Motive form x is similar to motive form x since both patterns begin with a skip of a third and a descending second, however the difference is that the descending second in x is lowered a half step. Figure 1a: The Grundgestalt in mm. 1-4 Theme A (Figure 1b) is the clarinet part between mm. 18-24 and the thematic statement is extended for two additional measures. The most expanded version of Theme A occurs at the beginning and ending of the passage. Many of the motive forms in this passage are rhythmically altered in various ways. The first three notes in m. 18 are an inverted triad and motive form x is presented in the same measure, on the weak part of the beat. The rhythmic content in motive form x has been altered; the first three notes are eighth notes compared to quarter notes at the beginning of the piece. The pattern is repeated on another scale degree in mm. 19-20. 19
Figure 1b: Grundgestalt in the Clarinet (mm. 18-24) Motive form x in m. 20 is followed by a rhythmically varied form in m. 21. The last note in the motive form is tied to the first eighth note in m. 22. Motive form x contains a dotted quarter note in the middle of the pattern. An elision is still presented between forms x and x. Rhythmic variation also occurs in motive form x since the last note in the form is a half note. Rests occur between the second and third notes which expand the motive from four beats to six and one half beats. The rhythmic treatment of Theme A is quite varied when compared to its appearance at the beginning of the piece. In m. 18, this motive form appears as eighth notes and is preceded by a triadic inversion. The repetition of this motive (which begins in the middle of the measure) rhythmically displaces Theme A. Each successive motive form begins on a weak portion of the beat (except for the sequence of motive form x). Theme B (mm. 53-56) is derived from specific motive forms in Theme A. Figure 2a shows motive form x in the piano (mm. 1-2) and a fragment of x in the clarinet (m. 53). The first three notes in m. 53 represent an inverted fragment of motive form x since the pattern is in ascending stepwise motion. The last two notes in the measure are a repetition of the first two notes of this motive form. The fragment of x in Theme B 20
consists of eighth notes compared to the quarter and dotted quarter notes in the first presentation in m. 1. Figure 2a: Motive form x (RH piano) and m. 56 (B theme in the clarinet) Figure 2b shows that Theme B (in c minor) is shared between the clarinet and the piano for four measures. Theme B is also imitated in the piano in m. 54, but the intervallic content has been altered. Motive form x is presented in the first three notes, and it is repeated in the same manner in the previous measure. The fragment of x in m. 55 is similar to the treatment in m. 53 but the resolution is a descending stepwise motion. A newly derived five-note pattern is presented in m. 56 and is significantly developed in Theme B. The techniques used to expand the five-note pattern will be discussed later in the chapter. 21
Figure 2b: B theme between mm. 53-54 (clarinet and RH piano) As Figure 2c shows, the B theme is rhythmically altered in mm. 61-64. Both parts of this theme occur in the piano. The pattern has been expanded for two measures since the eighth notes have been replaced with quarter notes. The upper voice contains the clarinet motive that was presented at the beginning of the second theme and the lower voice contain notes that support the harmonic function. The upper voice continues with the theme an octave higher (mm. 63-64 is two octaves higher). The pattern is shared between the two instruments in mm. 63-64. The first three notes (motive form x) are in the upper voice and the last two notes resolve in the lower voice. Figure 2c: Rhythmic alteration of B theme in the piano (mm. 61-64) 22
Figure 3 shows the transformation of specific motive forms at the beginning of the development section which occur between mm. 90-93. The lower voice of the piano contains the first two motive forms that are presented in the opening measures. Motive form x is rhythmically varied for three and a half measures and the first three notes in the motive form are extended to half notes (compared to the quarter notes that appear in mm. 1-2). Motive form x has not changed, but the first sequenced note in m. 93 is expanded to a quarter note. The other notes in the sequence of motive form x are omitted. Also, the remaining forms (x and x) are not present within the opening measures of the development section. Figure 3: Treatment motive forms x and x in mm. 90-93 (LH piano) A false recapitulation occurs at the end of the development section in f# minor. The top voice in the piano presents Theme A between mm. 130-133. All of the intervallic content within the main theme is the same when compared to the beginning of the piece. However, this statement of Theme A is disguised by a texture that is expanded by chordal and metrical treatment. When the B theme returns in mm. 168-169, both patterns are presented in the upper voice instead of alternating with the clarinet (although it is in bass clef). The return of the B theme occurs between these measures in f minor. At the beginning of the B theme in the exposition, both instruments exchanged the patterns in a 23
sequential order. In the recapitulation, both parts of the pattern are in the upper voice. Also, the rhythmic variation of the pattern in both piano parts (ex. 2b), occurs between mm. 178-181. Thematic unity in this composition is also achieved by patterns that seem insignificant in earlier instances but gain significance gradually in later passages. A five-note pattern that is first presented in Theme B (m. 54 of ex. 2b) evolves from an underlying stepwise descent in Theme A. Figure 4a, (mm. 1-5), illustrates the structural notes from Theme A that provide this five-note pattern. After the first note, the underlying stepwise descent is temporally interrupted by the pitch D b before it continues the descent through the note F. In this stepwise descent, the second scale degree (G b ) provides a Phrygian reference to the key of f minor. In figure 4b, the immediate stepwise descent occurs during theme B in m. 56. The five notes in the stepwise descent are presented in the same rhythmic content as the first measure. Figure 4a: Underlying five-note pattern in Grundgestalt Figure 4b: Five-note pattern in lower voice (m. 57) 24
Figure 4c shows the five-note stepwise descent that occurs in another passage of the B section between mm. 67-76. In m. 67, the five-note pattern is presented without the rest and in eighth notes in the upper voice of the piano. In the following measure, the same stepwise pattern is heard with quarter notes. After two beats of the pattern has been presented in the upper voice, a stretto occurs in the clarinet part in m. 68. The five-note patterns are separated by an interval of a third. Both patterns are sequenced after their initial presentation and the lowered note has been raised a half step (The pitch D b have been changed to D natural). In m. 72, the clarinet begins with the stepwise pattern but instead of quarter notes, the pattern occurs on the first beat of each eighth note. The statement in the piano overlaps with the clarinet at in interval of two beats. A sequence occurs again in m. 74 but a fragment of the five-note pattern is presented in both parts. Figure 4c: Treatment of five-note pattern between clarinet and RH piano (mm. 67-76) 25
While the upper voice is completing the fragment of the five-note pattern, the clarinet is playing an extension. At the end of the exposition, the stepwise pattern occurs once again in mm. 87-89 (see figure 4d). In m. 87, the stepwise descent is followed by the quarter notes in mm. 88-89. Figure 4d: Resolution of five-note pattern in the clarinet (mm. 87-89) In the development section, the passages are distinguished in manner similar to the transition sections of the exposition. In the first part of the development section (mm. 90-115), the music material is metrically unstable. However, in the second part of the development section (mm. 116-129), the meter is clear and the rhythm reinforces the metrical grouping. Figure 5a, the beginning of the development section (mm. 90-94) is the first part of a transitional passage. Thematic material in each voice is stated in hemiola and the slurs over the bar line create an obscure presentation of the meter. The meter is unclear since both voices of the piano are playing different parts that are separated by a beat. While the syncopated grouping of individual voices does not coincide with the prevailing meter, together these voices emphasize each beat in the measure. 26
Figure 5a: First aspect of a transitional passage in the piano (mm. 91-94) In Figure 5b, (mm. 121-122), the second part of a transitional passage is presented within the development section. The meter within these two measures clearly emphasizes the beat and all of the notes are equally divided. This statement is in contrast to the first part since the rhythm is contained within each measure. Also, there is a clear support for the meter when compared to the syncopated treatment in the first passage. Figure 5b: Second part of a transitional passage in the piano (mm. 121-122) Contrapuntal Techniques The use of counterpoint is evident in the development of motive forms and when motives are combined simultaneously in varied forms. In figure 6a (mm. 96-99), the 27
upper voice contains motive form x and x, presented in its original form in mm. 96-97. The lower voice contains a combination of motive form x and x. The dotted quarter note that is the last note of motive form x is joined with the three notes in motive form x. Motive form x is extended in m. 97 with an additional quarter note. In the upper voice between mm. 98-99, the four quarter notes are similar to motive form x since the intervallic content consists of a step followed by three steps. However, the direction is inverted, the skip is an interval of a third instead of a fourth and a half step (chromatic note) is used. The same combination of motive forms x and x is presented in the lower voice an octave higher. Figure 6a: Contrapuntal application of motive forms in the piano (mm. 96-99) Contrary motion and imitation are additional techniques that are used contrapuntally in this movement and Figure 6b demonstrates how these methods are applied between mm. 209-213. The clarinet begins with a quarter note that is tied to two sets of triplets. While the clarinet contains a dotted half note in the following measure, the lower voice of the piano has a similar contour to the clarinet triplets. Contrary motion occurs between the two voices in the piano. In m. 211, the clarinet imitates the upper 28
voice of the piano from the previous measure. While the clarinet imitates the upper voice, contrary motion is used between the voices of the piano. Both techniques are applied again between mm. 212-213. The clarinet imitates previous material that the upper voice presented while there is contrary motion of the triplets in the piano. Figure 6b: Contrary motion in both instruments (mm. 209-213) Motive forms within the Grundgestalt contains distinct pitch classes that become points of reference as they develop throughout the movement. It is interesting to note that various pitch collections are also associated with key areas. The first four notes 29
of Theme A (motive form x) are C-F-E b D b Figure 7 shows that the keys f-D b -c reflect three of the four notes in motive form x. At the end of theme A, the last pitch G b resolves to F at the beginning of the transition (see Figure. 4a in m. 5), creating a link to these sections. The descending half step from G b -F in the melodic motive form might also be experienced in a broader time interval within the keys of D b major to c minor in the exposition. An earlier reference to Figure 4a will show the pitch G b is interrupted by a pause before it resolves to the pitch F. This dramatic pause emphases this Phrygian resolution in Theme A and the relationship also becomes recognized in the false recap in f# minor (G b ) before the "real" recapitulation in f minor. Figure 7: Key areas Exposition Development Recapitulation f(D b )c fc#f# fFf In conclusion, Brahms's technique of thematic unity is achieved in creative ways throughout this movement. In theme A, the motive forms are varied and repeated as they complete the statement of the Grundgestalt. Theme B is derived from specific motive forms in theme A. Its rhythmic and thematic treatment disguise the original source. Underlying segments from Theme A surface later and gain thematic significance. As the movement progresses, these motive forms on the surface as well as on a background level provide a sense of unity. The motive forms are also applied though contrapuntal techniques. One motive 30
form is presented in one voice while an additional motive form might occurs in another voice. Some of the motive forms and fragments are combined with each other to create a cohesive function to the counterpoint. Techniques such as stretto, imitation, inversion and contrary motion contribute to the developmental variation within in individual and combined voices. The relationship between pitch classes within motive forms and key areas extend the concept of thematic unity to other dimensions of the music. A relationship can be made to the keys of the exposition (f-D b -c) and the motive form x (C-F-E b -D b ). The concept of the Grundgestalt is notable in this movement since the basic shape of motive x, its manipulations in varied forms and related to these forms to keys and key areas. 31
Chapter Three An Analysis of the First Sonata, Third Movement Traditional Treatment of Form In comparison to the treatment of form in the First Sonata, first movement, the form in the third movement is more clear and concise. The third movement is in ternary form in the following structures: A (mm. 1-47), B (mm. 48-90) and A' (mm. 91-137). The A section in A b major contains three smaller segments, a (mm. 1-16), b (mm. 17-28) and a' (mm.29-38). The B section in f minor also contains three smaller phrases in an aba' structure, a (mm. 48-63), b (mm. 64-79) and a' (mm. 80-90). The final large A section is a repetition of the previous A section, a (mm. 91-107), b (108-119) and a' (120-137). The main theme in A b major begins with the clarinet on an anacrusis and continues through m. 8. In m. 9, the piano repeats the same theme while the clarinet provides varied fragments. A different treatment of a thematic fragment (Ab) is introduced in measure 17 and the texture is altered. Compared to the beginning of the piece, the rhythmic content in m. 17 in the clarinet melody is the same but the melodic content is inverted. The original melody is reaffirmed in m. 29 in the piano while the clarinet contains another varied fragment. In m. 48, the B section begins in f minor with 32
another treatment of a thematic fragment in the piano. In relationship to the A section, syncopated rhythms unfold in a descending stepwise motion. Throughout the a phrase, the theme is omitted in the clarinet; however, the clarinet becomes prominent at the beginning of the b section (m. 64). In this section, the key is more ambiguous but a clearer statement of f minor returns in m. 76. In m. 80, the clarinet repeats the thematic statement which occurred earlier in the piano (m. 48) and the persistent syncopation also returns. In m. 91, the A' section recurs with a statement in A b major by the clarinet. Application of the Grundgestalt In the A section, (Figure 8a) the Grundgestalt is initially stated in the clarinet. The first thematic statement within this large section is identified as a, since this section is further divided into a smaller aba form. The basic shape begins with an anacrusis to the first measure and ends in the third measure, first half of beat three. In this basic shape, two prominent fragments are developed throughout the entire movement. The first motive form, (labeled x in the example), is an interval of a sixth, which occurs between the first two notes of the clarinet. The second motive form (y) is a four-note pattern which consists of two descending seconds, followed by a descending third. The pitch F is an elision between the interval of a sixth and the four-note pattern. The four-note pattern is repeated as a sequence and is followed by a first inversion triad, also framed by the interval of the sixth (x). 33
Figure 8a: Grundgestalt ( A, a), mm. 1-3 Figure 8b (Ab) occurs in the clarinet part (mm. 16-20). The first motive form (x) has been extended to an octave and is inverted with a change of direction (x). The second motive form (y) is followed by a sequence on another scale degree and the contour of the basic shape is inverted. The second pattern (y) in m. 17 has the same diatonic steps but the direction has changed. This motive form is followed by a sequence and the last pitch of that four-note pattern forms an elision with y (m. 19). The motive form is then modified and the descending contour of the original motive returns. Following the descending steps of the original motive, an interval of a third and fifth completes this statement. In the last pattern of four notes, an extension of the thematic statement occurs with the sixth outlining this triadic inversion (x). Figure 8b: A b, (mm. 16-20) 34
In the B section, a similar treatment of motive forms is presented in f minor. Figure 9a (mm.48-51) shows the opening measures of the B section as well as the beginning of the a phrase. In this passage, the interval of a sixth is somewhat disguised from its original appearance as an ascending skip. The pitches of a descending sixth (A b to C) frame a stepwise syncopated passage x. This pattern of a stepwise descent of a sixth becomes prominent later in the movement. The last note in m. 49 is tied and presents a varied form of y. The pitch C is given structural treatment as a tied note in m. 49 and m. 60, reinforcing its significance as the goal of the descending sixth frame A b to C. In the varied treatment of y (y) that follows, a three-note fragment of y is reordered. The last three notes of y (a descending step and a skip of a third) are reversed. Figure 9a: B a, mm-48-51 In Figure 9b, the b phrase within the B section occurs between mm. 64-65. The same syncopated stepwise descent that occurred at the beginning of the B section occurs here, however, the framing interval of a sixth has now been replaced by a perfect interval from Fb to B bb The y motive form is not developed until a few measures later. The separation of the motive forms creates a harmonically ambiguous passage before f minor is established again. 35
Figure 9b: B b (mm. 64-65) In Figure 9c (mm. 80-83), the syncopated stepwise descent that has been a prominent feature of the B section also occurs at the beginning of the a section. The pitches of a descending sixth frame the syncopated stepwise passage, however, the pitches F-A b are used. At the end of m. 82, another three-note fragment follows on the pitch E natural but the direction of the first interval is inverted. The intervallic content of the three notes in m. 83 is an ascending second and a skip of an ascending third. This fragment of a step and a skip is further developed in later passages. Figure 9c: B a (mm. 80-83) A prominent technique in Brahmss developmental process is the inclusion of fragments within the basic shape that have the potential to be developed later as derivative motives. The three-note fragment that becomes thematic material in the B section is derived from the y pattern. Figure 10a shows the thematic statement at the beginning of the movement. There are distinct features that are apparent in the four-note 36
pattern of the A section, (sequential stepwise seconds and skips of fourths), however the combination of the step and a skip is important since it is significantly developed in the B section. The last three notes of the y pattern consist of a descending second followed by a descending skip of a third (y). The pattern is repeated on another scale degree in m. 2. In its different variations, some of the techniques used to demonstrate the significance of the three-note fragment are inversion, augmentation, retrograde, expansion ( see Figure 10b), reordering and sequencing. Figure 10a: Three-note fragment in the clarinet (mm. 1-3) In the end of the A section, (Figure 10b), the clarinet contains varied motive forms of y. In m. 41, motive form y consists of a descending second and an ascending fourth. In the motive form that follows in m. 42, the contour remains the same, however the intervals are now thirds. The same pitch classes E b and D, are used at the beginning of the pattern in m. 41 and in the middle of the reordered pattern in m. 42. In mm. 44-46, the intervals are extended; the descending interval of a third in m. 42 is now a descending compound interval of a 13 th (a sixth). The three-note fragment (y) is represented as the structural pitches E b -G-A b as they become the first notes of mm. 41-43. The last three notes of this example are a lower neighbor that overlaps with a motive form of y. 37
Figure 10b: Variation of y with the three-note fragment in the clarinet (mm. 41-46) In Figure 10c (mm. 48-52), the combination of y and the lower neighbor pattern is further developed in the B section. Motive form y frames this phrase over five measures. In figure 10c, the lower neighbor is identified in m. 50. In addition, a motive form of y as structural pitches F-D-E b provides a framework for the neighbor pattern. Figure 10d shows an abbreviated version of these motive forms, however some of the pitches are reordered. Figure 10c: The presentation of y in the clarinet (mm. 48-52) Figure 10d: Resolution of y in the clarinet (mm. 62-63) 38
In Figure 10e, both fragments of the thematic material appear as quarter notes and they are developed between mm.76-89. The clarinet has several repeated three-note fragments of y that appear successively. The first two patterns in this example consist of a descending skip followed by an ascending step. In m. 78, the direction of these intervals is inverted. The next statement of the pattern now contains an ascending fourth followed by an ascending second. In measures 80-81, the interval of a sixth frames the descending stepwise motion (x). After two additional three-note fragments (in which the direction is inverted), the same stepwise descent framed by a sixth appears again. An inverted motive form of y are structural notes that frame the descending stepwise motion in the last four measures of this figure. Figure 10e: Development of motive forms in the clarinet (mm. 76-89) In the passage between mm. 32-39, (Figure 11), the clarinet contains variations of motive form x (a sixth) and y (the four-note pattern). This example begins with a pattern that is framed by pitches of an ascending sixth (G-E b ) and immediately followed by a 39
skip of an ascending sixth (A b -F), reflecting the initial x motive at the beginning of the movement. The second note of the ascending sixth (F) serves as the completion of the sixth and the beginning of a four-note pattern. Figure 11: Developmental treatment of motive forms in the clarinet (mm. 32-39) A modified four-note pattern begins in m. 34. The original motive form (y) has an ascending contour that contains two intervals of a second followed by one of a third. In this version, an ascending interval of a second is followed by a descending second and a descending third. Another modified pattern that follows in m. 35 utilizes the interval of a fourth and second. Here, the ascending fourth is proceeded by a descending second and the result of this manipulation creates an interval of a sixth (x), in the middle of this pattern. The next three fragments occur in a lower octave and the interval of a skip is varied in one of the statements. The last fragment on the last half of beat two in m. 39, begins with a descending second instead of the ascending skip that occurs from the modified fragments that began with the anacrusis to m. 36. The reordering of these two intervals, a second and a skip, reflects the treatment of retrograde. 40
The stepwise descent which creates the interval of a sixth is first utilized within the right hand piano between measures 17-20. In Figure 12, the pitch C starts a stepwise descent in m. 17. Before resolving to E b in m. 20, a three-note fragment of motive form y is embedded within the texture. An additional application of embedding a specific interval within the texture is between mm. 17-18 when the interval of a sixth is functioning as passing chords. Motive form y occurs in the middle of the stepwise motion. Figure 12: Motive forms x and y in the piano (mm. 17-20) Contrapuntal Practices The motive forms which make up the Grundgestalt are also developed within the contrapuntal texture. Figure 13a shows the first three measures of the clarinet and piano. The x motive form (ascending interval of a sixth) alternates in contrary motion between the upper and lower voices of the piano. The same technique is applied between mm. 1-2 but the contrary motion is not as apparent since the starting intervals are not as expanded. Contrary motion is also presented in both hands of the piano in m. 3. The triad which occurs on the last three notes in the upper voice of the piano in m. 3 is an imitation of x (the inverted triad) in the clarinet on the previous beat. In motive form y, the last three 41
notes contain an interval of a descending second followed by a third. In the lower voice of mm. 1-3, the first beats of each measure results in a similar pattern, however, the intervals are reversed and the direction is inverted. This pattern of an ascending third and second occurs simultaneously with the Grundgestalt. Figure 13a: Contrapuntal techniques between voices (mm. 1-3) In mm. 8-11 (Figure 13b), the motive forms are developed in the clarinet. The upper voice of the piano repeats the initial basic shape which occurred at the beginning of the composition. Before the presentation in m. 8, motive y (the four-note pattern), was manipulated in m. 3 in the upper voice of the piano. This pattern is sequenced and later developed in mm. 8-11. The motive forms of the basic shape and its variations exchange between both instruments. At the beginning of this example, motive form x is in the piano while a variation of y is in the clarinet. With the exception of m. 9 when both 42
y patterns occur at the same time, the clarinet and piano exchange motive forms. The clarinet sequences the four-note pattern in m. 10 while the piano plays an x pattern. Figure 13b: Treatment of motive forms between instruments (mm. 8-11) In Figure 13c (mm. 29-31), the clarinet further develops the passage that occurred between mm. 8-11. Motive form x occurs during a triadic leap in mm. 30. The same motive form is repeated in the following measure except it is presented in the middle of the measure. The theme is restated in the upper voice of the piano. In the last fragment of this example, y precedes the ascending chordal pattern and the interval of the sixth (x) assumes its earlier role by framing the passage. 43
Figure 13c: Treatment of motive forms between instruments (mm. 29-31) In conclusion, the concept of basic shape is illustrated once again in this movement as motive forms evolve from developmental techniques. The interval of a sixth (x) and a four-note pattern that follows (y), become the focal point of thematic material. The four-note pattern (y) contains the potential to be fragmented and the three-note pattern (y) emerges as a derivative motive. An ascending skip of a sixth appears initially and is later used to frame the stepwise descent in the derived form of B. The four-note pattern (y) is initially inverted, and later fragmented producing yet another derived motive. As in previous movements, these motives are combined and interwoven within the textural fabric of the composition. 44
Chapter Four An Analysis of the Second Sonata, Third Movement The last movement of the second sonata is a theme with five variations and a coda. The continuous developmental style Brahms uses in this movement creates a development within the theme as well as within individual sections that follow. The motivic unfolding continues at the end of each variation, creating a seamless connection with occasional pauses. Motivic forms are developed with the consistent techniques used by Brahms in the movements previously discussed. Traditional Use of Form The outer framework of structure is retained by Brahms in these variations in which the rhythm, meter and texture are varied to create different version of the theme. An initial theme is presented and is followed by several varied permutations of the original statement. The structure of the theme is binary and the phrase content consists of two four-measure phrases that are repeated (A) and a six-measure phrase (B). The A phrase (mm. 1-4) is stated in E b major and repeated between mm. 5-8. The B phrase (mm. 9-14) contains different motive forms and a brief modal change with the reference to g minor (m.10). 45
The asymmetric phrase structure occurs in four out of the five variations. The harmonic content of the first four variations is very similar to that of the theme. The fifth variation, in contrast to the previous four, is stated in a different meter and in e b minor. In addition to the five variations, a coda follows in the original key of E b major with a restatement of the motive forms that occurred in the theme. Development of the Main Theme Figure 14 shows the thematic material that occurs at the beginning of the composition (m.1). Motive forms x and x are presented simultaneously between the clarinet and the upper voice of the piano. Motive form x consists of a four-note pattern that can be divided into two groups of two notes. Motive form x is a three-note pattern with the interval of a second (an escape tone), omitted. After the initial presentation, both motive forms are sequenced on another scale degree. Both motives are developed in significant ways in the theme and subsequent variations. Figure 14: Motive forms between instruments (m.1) Figure 15 (mm. 1-4), illustrates the motivic development within theme A as each 46
motive form unfolds in a variation of x. As discussed above, motive form x (the four note pattern) is divided into two groups and varied during the process of development. The first group, which consists of a dotted sixteenth followed by a thirty-second note, has the distinct interval of an ascending second. The second group contains two eighth notes with the interval of a descending skip of a third. Each variation of motive form x maintains the same rhythmic pattern of the four notes, however, different techniques develop each pattern. The first varied motive form (the second group of two notes), is inverted by direction and repeated on another scale degree. In the second varied motive form, the second group of notes is stated first and the varied form is again repeated on another scale degree. Motive form y occurs at the end of the phrase in m. 4 and the rhythmic content consists of three repeated eighth notes, followed by a quarter note. The interval of a sixth is presented between the second and third notes. Following the same treatment in the original motive form, each pattern is sequenced on another scale degree after the initial statement. Figure 15: The Grundgestalt in the clarinet (m. 1-4) 47
In Figure 16, various developmental techniques occur at the beginning of the B phrase (mm. 9-10). Motive forms y and x overlap in m. 9 due to an elision of the pitch D. The elided pitch is the end of motive form y and the beginning of motive form x. The position of the motive forms are now switched and motive form y begins this phrase. In the A phrase, motive form y occurs at the end of the phrase and contains a distinct interval of an ascending sixth. In this B phrase, however, the interval of a sixth becomes a fourth. In m. 10, the first group of notes from the original motive form x are inverted and sequenced before the second group occurs in its initial contour. Both groups retain the rhythmic identity from the original motive. The four pitches that are presented in this passage (B b C, D, E b ) are used and reordered in both motive forms. Figure 16: Overlapping of motive forms in the clarinet (mm. 9-10) In Figure 17, mm. 10-11 of the B phrase, two motive forms also overlap as they did in m. 9. The position of the two groups of notes are again switched as the descending third is stated first and followed by an ascending second. An elision occurs with the second group as it forms the end and beginning of two four-note patterns. The rhythmic 48
content of the original motive form x is altered by substituting sixteenth notes for the original eighth notes. This varied form is repeated on another scale degree. Figure 17: Overlapping of motive forms in the clarinet (mm. 10-11) The concept of shape is evident in this movement since each of the motive forms has a similar contour based on the intervallic content. Figure 18a illustrates the related contour achieved by an ascent followed by a complimentary descent. The step and skip in both motives adds a distinctive characteristic that becomes an associative feature throughout this section. Since x is derived from x, it contains the intervallic content of a step and skip and retains a portion of the contour. In this example, the treatment of derived motives is evident. Motive form x has been shortened by the omission of the second note, or escape tone. The reduced four-note pattern allows an elision of the second note, creating the step and skip. In motive form y, the ascending sixth may be identified as an inversion of the descending third that switches position in relationship to the original motive. The descending second is an inversion by change of direction. 49
Figure 18a: Similarities of shape within motive forms Figure 18b is a diagram of the different variation techniques that are applied motive forms x, x and y in the main theme (mm. 1-14). Each motive form is manipulated in a similar method and the most prominent developmental techniques include inversion, retrograde, overlapping and rhythmic variation. This treatment of the motive forms in the main theme provides a framework for a process in which additional motive forms are developed in the variations. 50
Figure 18b: Developmental treatment of the motive forms in the main theme Developmental Techniques Applied to Variations Figure 19 identifies the developmental treatment of the theme that occurs between mm. 15-18. Motive form x is still present but the intervallic content is altered. Each note in the four note-pattern is rhythmically altered. The four notes of motive form x occurs between mm. 15-16 but the descending skip is presented first. After motive form x is sequenced, the four-note pattern that consists of specific notes in motive form x occurs in m. 17. A variation of y appears at the end of the phrase in m. 18. The rhythmic duration of motive form y has not changed but the intervallic content is different. The repeated note that occurs in the original statement of motive form y has been changed to a 51
descending third. An additional feature that has been altered is the interval of a ascending sixth is now a fifth. Figure 19: Variation 1 in the clarinet and the main theme (mm. 15-18) In the second variation, the lowest octave of the clarinet is emphasized between mm. 29-32 and Figure 20 shows the use of register in the developmental treatment. The skip of a seventh that occurs in m. 29 emphasizes the lowest note on the clarinet. The first group of notes in motive form x (dotted sixteenth followed by a thirty-second) provides thematic unity with the original statement at the beginning of the piece. The difference in the second group of pitches (eighth notes) is that the fourth note is omitted and the third note is expanded to a quarter note. 52
Figure 20: Variation 2 in the clarinet (mm. 29-32) Figure 21 illustrates motive form x that is embedded in the opening passage. The first two pitches in motive form x (an ascending step) are presented on the beginning pitch of the thirty-second patterns. The second part of motive form x is (a descending third) follows immediately. Motive x is shown beneath the statement of variation three as a reference. Figure 21: Variation 3 in the clarinet (m. 43) and motive form x The developmental treatment of variations four and five contain several contrasting characteristics. Variation four emphasizes the structural pitches in the clarinet. The rhythmic content consists mainly of quarter and eighth notes, a contrast to the previous variation. The expansion of rhythm has created a slower tempo. Variation five has numerous traits of the original theme, however the meter is altered. The meter in 53
this variation has been changed from 6/8 to 2/4. The change to the parallel minor and an Allegro tempo provide additional contrasting features. Figure 22 (mm. 98-104) illustrates the development of motive form y and a variation of x at the beginning of the coda. In mm. 98-100, motive form y is lengthened by quarter notes. Motive form y is repeated on a different scale degree in mm. 100-102. The clarinet presents motive form x in m. 102 in a different context since the meter is 2/4. The same pitches are also used in this motive form, however, the sequence contains a different interval. Figure 22: Motive forms between instruments (mm. 108-104) In the coda, contrapuntal techniques are used to develop the motives simultaneously. In Figure 23 (mm. 134-137), motive form x and its sequence occurs in the upper voice of m. 134. The clarinet imitates the motive form in m. 135 and also presents a variation of x in the following measure. While the clarinet is presenting both motive forms, the piano has variations of x in different octaves. The lower voice has a statement of motive form x which occurs between mm. 134-135. 54
Figure 23: Treatment of motive forms between instruments (mm. 134-137) The passage in figure 24 which occurs at the end of the movement, emphasizes motive form y in the clarinet in mm. 146-152. In the original statement of y, the interval of a sixth occurs in the middle of the motive form. This interval is expanded in the closing measures, since the sixth is repeated as quarter notes in mm. 146-148. The actual statement of y occurs between mm. 148-150, however the motive form is lengthened to three quarter notes and a half note. A variation of motive form x overlaps with y in mm. 149-151. This treatment of the motive forms occurs within the main theme. Figure 24: Overlapping of motive forms in the clarinet (mm. 148-150) 55
In conclusion, Brahms uses several compositional techniques to develop the thematic material in each variation. He initially creates the independence of a pattern through gestures of closure or by establishing a varied repetition of the pattern. He also uses the significant aspects of that pattern to classify, interrupt, or reshape the basic structure. The original germ (motive form x) is divided into two pitch groups that are distinguished by rhythmic and intervallic content. The first group consists of a dotted sixteenth note followed by a thirty-second note and the interval of an ascending second. The second group contains two eighth notes and a descending skip of a third. The original motive form is varied within the theme by using several developmental techniques that include inversion by direction, reordered groups, combined motive forms, rhythmic variation, overlapping and intervallic expansion. After the presentation of a motive or its varied form, that pattern is repeated on another scale degree. Additional motive forms are varied, repeated and treated in a similar manner. The continuous development of these motive forms generates other derived patterns and consequently these motive forms appear throughout the movement. This is a creative method of establishing unity within a composition though the manipulation of a single germ. 56
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