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MUS 342 Assignment 1

Jenelle Magbutay

In the excerpt we were given, a slow adagio introduction is established in Cm to start the

piece off with a sad, melancholy sort of character. The introduction alone is peculiar and is

arguably uncommon in basic sonata-allegro form because it is never mentioned again after its

initial appearance and feels a bit out of place besides its function of establishing the tonic key. It

modulates to the dominant towards its end and the start of the exposition resolves it back to the

tonic in measure 30. The character is quickly changed to someone who is more agitated and

worried, as indicated by the allegro vivace. The transition to the second theme starts in measure

52, modulating from the tonic to get to in Ab in the beginning of the second theme in measure

68. This is another deviation to what is usually expected from a sonata-allegro, because the

second theme modulates to the submediant in Ab instead of the dominant in G. In the second

theme, the character is more hopeful as it is presented in a major key, but is still nonetheless as

frantic and can be interpret as desperate to find something. The transition into the closing theme

occurs in measure 86, where the hopeful, positive character is shown to keep his spirit, even

though a (minor) obstacle is shown to try to bring him down in measure 113, right before the

closing theme in Ab. The start of the closing theme begins with a fanfare-like topic in the brass,

which is quick to stop the melancholy mood from coming back shown in the strings in the

measures preceding. In measures 132 to 134, it quickly modulates to the dominant in G to set up

for the next part of the sonata allegro form, either being the repeat back to the beginning of the

exposition or continuing on to the development. Starting at measure 136, the development

modulates to F, acting as a dominant to the new key in Bb which starts the recapitulation in the

pickup to measure 143. This presents the initial return of Theme 1 from the exposition. Referring
back to the development, it is a relatively short passage, lasting only 8 measures compared to the

entire piece. This can be argued as being unexpected in a standard sonata-allegro form and

abrupt in nature.

Another interesting characteristic of this piece can be found in measures 166 to 178.

Theme 1 is developed using a previously unheard of transition and is then reinstated in the key of

Gm. This concept is very unusual in a standard sonata-allegro form, as the first theme is stated

twice in two different keys. The form continues how you would expect it afterwards,

transitioning to the second theme in Eb. It modulates up to E in the transition eventually arriving

to its final arrival point at C in 254 where the closing theme reappears from the exposition. A

coda is added at the very end to reinstate its end and the character’s seemingly triumphant

victory at the end. Referring back to the start of the piece, which was in C minor, it ending in a

triumphant C major chord also makes this piece unique in its characteristics because it resolves

to its parallel major instead of the regular tonic key.

To review what characteristics deviate this piece from regular sonata-allegro form, it

starts off with an introduction that has a different tone from the rest of the piece and does not

reappear in any way in the other parts of the form. It also has a second theme that presents itself

in the submediant instead of the dominant, which doesn’t appear until the very end of the closing

theme in the exposition. The development itself can be arguably uncommon, as it is only 8

measures long and abrupt in nature instead of the usually smooth transition that composers tend

to incorporate into their pieces. Finally, the unique recapitulation reinstates the first theme twice

in two different keys, eventually resolving into its parallel major before the coda.