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Analysis of Mozart Sonata III Movement Essay


Mozart sonata (iii) movement was invented in October 1777. In his letter, Mozart described the new improvisation of two distinct piano styles. He included details on how he combined Sonata and rondo. The combination brought out a magnificent sonata in C major with a rondo at the end, which later became sonata K.309 (Brown 43).

Publication of sonata-rondo was done in 1783, one year after the invention by Mozart (1756-1791). It has later been adapted in most music classes and taught in main piano classes. The abbreviation K.333 used in piano classes refers to the position of the piece in chronological catalogue prepared by Australian musicologist Kochel (Burkhart & Rothstein 207).

Transitions – Structural and Harmonic Analysis

In the music and jazz jargon rondo can be described as any movement or musical work containing numerous recurring refrain alternating episodes. In most cases, it will start and end with a refrain material. At the same time, it is not clear on the number of refrains required to make a rondo.

Some professionals state that they should be two while others insist that they must be at least three occurrences in a single rondo. Depending on how the episodes are treated, it emerges that the number of refrains is open. In classical music, rondo has been one of the most widely used movements within a larger work, mostly the finale. Rondos also show a tendency of favoring one variant of its form (Krumhansl 1995.)

PAC (Perfect Authentic Cadenza) – Explanation

Perfect Authentic Cadenza initiates movements. It is broken down to subsections that include first subject, transition, second subject, and finally codetta. At the first section of the exposition, it is split into eight bar phrases. In most cases, the beginning section will act as an introduction to the succeeding or second phase of the beginning section. Some cases in the first two parts will act as cadenzas with a sequence of I-VI, I.

Mini-cadenzas like pattern will follow, which will not organize any form of primary ideas. Mozart’s composition made use of these poems where he repeated the first two bars and put down an octave. He also brought in a new idea and set up a rhythmic obstinate to assist in the second phase. This has been adopted in different genres of music in the modern world.

Examples of Harmonic Moves I-VI-IV and I-VI-II

Harmonic Moves I-VI-IV and I-VI-II are widely applied in the music industry since the 18th century. During the classical period, sonata form became one of the most popular ones as it was adopted in different compositions. Bach could be considered as one of the brightest examples. In case of multi movements, it is always applied as the first movement. Mozart (iii) works are not an exception. In such cases, the combination is referred to as sonata allegro. This is the result of tweaking Harmonic Moves I-VI-IV and I-VI-II.

The invention of sonata form was meant to organize musical ideas based on a specific key to create an appealing and easy way to follow the movement. From the moment the sonata form was invented it has not changed significantly. Although there are other forms, which originate from sonata, it still maintains a three steps formula of approach, which forms sonata rondo in the end.

Comparison with G Minor

G minor was Mozart’s best expression of melancholy. Mozart used minor keys often in symphonies but exclusively used G minor in numbered symphonies. The role of transitions is to help in moving from a rondo to an episode section. They are also important in moving from an episode (B or C) to rondo (A) section, processes called re-transition.

Most composers choose to use transitions in moving between the parts of sonata-rondo form because the keys used area is almost parallel to the tonic key. However, transitions form an influential part as they act as modulators between the forms used. This shows that there is connection between sonata rondo and G minor scales.

Mozart with an Enlarged Sixth

The harmonic progression will determine the development of chords, scales, and tonal systems. The table below demonstrates the most common harmonic function in rondo sonata (Krumhansl 1995).

A B A C A’ B’ A


Numerous combinations of myriad themes and keys characterize this movement. Different composers tend to come up with unique combinations such as K.311, K.333, and K.448. Most of the movements are 7 part rondos with coda in some parts, mostly coming at the end. In some cases, the return of the rondo (A) or episode (B) may be modified to give unique combinations such as A, A1, A2.

Episode combinations will form B, B1, and B2. Such combinations will vary in length, which requires analysis such as A, B, A1, A2. This is compulsory to B episodes when it recurs in order to fulfill the sonata part of the form because it will return as tonic rather than the dominant key (Bresin & Battel 220).

There are cases of coincidence of the parts of the sonata and rondo forms. In such a case, the opening rondo (A) will occur as tonic key and serve as the first theme (T1). The beginning episode will occur as dominant key and thus act as the second theme (T2). The next one will be the first recurrence of Rondo (A), which will return as tonic key similarly to all other recurrences.

The subsequent episodes such as episode (C) will occur as different closely related key such as supertonic, median, sub-median, or dominant. It could be mentioned that in most cases the (C) episode will serve as a development section of the form sonata-rondo.

The (C) episode either will be as single key such as in case of a rondo form, or will move through several keys developing thematic materials similar to the previous as it happens in the sonata form. The third occurrence of the first rondo (A) will form a start of recompilation form of sonata, which also includes the occurrence of the second episode (B1). In this case, (B1) will be in tonic form unlike the first case where it appears as the dominant key to fulfill the sonata forms recompilation.

The third and final appearance of rondo (A) will serve to complete the seven-part rondo form and will form the beginning of sonata forms coda. Once the rondo recurrence is complete, the consequent music will be the beginning of coda for rondo form and serve as part two of the sonata form’s coda. Just as codas and transitions, the closing sections may be divided into parts (Lester 199).

Tree-like Structural Analysis

While sonata rondo is unique, the exposition bars in sonata rondo can be classified into different subjects. The subjects result in a tree like structure. The subjects are described below.

First Subject

It includes bars from one to 105. In this category theme (A), the first half is introduced by solo piano after which orchestra repeats the complete eight bars.

Second Subject (E Major)

It includes bars from 106 to 201. Episode 3b, theme C, a three-beat rest is followed in theme b107, by theme C, introduced by flute and bassoon in octaves, accompanied by all strings. At b113, a new tonality of E minor is confirmed by the piano, and at b118, there is a hint, which tends to be towards C major.

This ends with confirmation of E major, by b129. At this whole passage, the piano continues while the orchestra accompanies, with various styles. At bar 176, theme D, it is played by piano over pedal note of twelve bars by a horn while strings play pizzicato crotchets. At bar 181, the woodwind repeats Theme D while the piano plays a countermelody. At bar 187, the piano concludes the section with fifteen bars of materials meant for transition with the first string followed by woodwind.

Bars Having a Refrain

They include bars from 202 to 229. At bar 202, episode 1a, Theme (A) is heard again as it is played at the beginning by a piano. At b210, the orchestra replies in a similar way to bar nine, but it modulates from b217 towards F sharp minnow and finally arrives at b229.

Development Bars

They include bars from 230 to 311. At bar 230, episode 6, theme E, n abrupt change of mood is noticed, almost character like jumping onto the stage, and finally the piano gets to F sharp minor.

At b238, the woodwind replies with their eight bars ending in a dominant. This is repeated to b246, where after woodwind takes turn again. At b254, the tonality immediately heads away from the sharp minor and later ends in D major by b262. At b294, 18 bars of dialogue between woodwind and piano replace the theme. This brings back the key to A major.

Recompilation Bars

This includes bar from 312 to 440. At b312, episode 3a, theme (b62) is started first by the piano in a major. Woodwind in the minor in b230 then repeats it. This leads to breaking into a dialogue using closing notes. B330 Episode 3b, theme C, is where the second subject is heard on a woodwind in the major, and then repeated by the piano in the minor b338. An extended bridge based on theme C is heard from b346. B363 episode 4, from here to b410.

There is a repeat of bars 129 to 74 with the piano striving forward above a variety of the orchestral accompaniment figures. Bar 411 episode 5, theme F is heard again in the piano with pizzicato strings. As before, it is repeated at b418 by woodwind with the piano playing a counter point and bridge section at b423.

Coda Bars

This includes bars from 441 to 524. At b441, episode 1a refrain played by a piano is accompanied after four bars by ww. At b449, the whole orchestra takes it up.

Episode 1b, a second half, is shared by strings and woodwind alone for eight bars, and then joined by piano on the repeat. This will briefly be followed by a bridge passage but lasts for only eight bars.

Unique Bars and Themes

Bars 90 to 91 are usually treated as perfect authentic cadenza because of their harmonic progression of one to five. The both chords appear to be in root position and the melody ends on a tonic pitch.

Works Cited

Bresin, Roberto and Giovanni Umberto Battel. “Articulation Strategies in Expressive Piano Performance Analysis of Legato, Staccato, and Repeated Notes in Performances of the Andante Movement of Mozart’s Sonata in G Major (K 545)”. Journal of New Music Research 29.3 (2000): 211-224. Print.

Brown, Judith C. “Determination of the meter of musical scores by autocorrelation”. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 94 (1993): 19-53. Print.

Burkhart, Charles and W. Rothstein. Anthology for musical analysis: postmodern update. Schirmer Books, 2007. Print.

Krumhansl, Carol L. “A perceptual analysis of Mozart’s Piano Sonata K. 282: Segmentation, tension, and musical ideas”. Music Perception (1996): 401-432. Print.

Lester, Joel. “Performance and analysis: interaction and interpretation”. The practice of performance: Studies in musical interpretation (1995): 197-216. Print.

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