Teaching Sonata Form - Pearson

Teaching Sonata Form - Pearson

WEBINAR: Teaching Sonata Form 10/13/2015, 12:00-1:00 p.m. ET Mark Evan Bonds Department of Music University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill [email protected]

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WEBINAR:

Teaching Sonata Form 10/13/2015, 12:00-1:00 p.m. ET Mark Evan Bonds Department of Music University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill [email protected]

Challenges and Goals • Teach the essentials of sonata form • Exposition • Development • Recapitulation

• Hear the form in actual works • Apply the form to future listening

Form in general: What is form? Form is a way of ordering things. The form of a speech = the order in which a speaker presents a series of ideas. The form of a musical work or movement = the order in which a composer “says” things, that is, the order in which s/he presents a series of musical ideas (themes).

Why form? In literature, a conventional form is a framework for telling a story. The contents may vary, but the framework, the sequence of events, remain constant and predictable. Example: The Who-Done-It Mystery (e.g., Sherlock Holmes) We always have (typically in this order): A crime. An investigator. Clues. Suspects. A solution.

The content of each of mystery is always different, but the outline remains essentially the same. And if we know the form, we can better appreciate how the author has used it. Variation, rondo, and sonata form all work in much the same way: the outline of each is predictable, but the content is always different.

Basic Principles of Form in General: Only three possibilities 1. Repetition

A

A

Hello. Hello

2. Variation

A

A’

Hello. Hi

3. Contrast

A

B

Hello. Goodbye.

Teaching form: Moving from the simpler to more complicated • Sonata form = the most complex of musical forms. • No reason to start with first movements (usually in sonata form!) • Move from simple to increasingly complex forms. Begin with variations (A A’ A” A’’’ etc.), move to ternary (A B A), rondo (A B A C A etc.). Include the concepts of modulation and contrasting keys along the way.

Rounded binary form Rounded binary form = a good springboard for teaching sonata form. |:

1st reprise

:|:

2nd reprise | prominent return of opening theme about mid-way through 2nd reprise

:|

Rounded binary form: minuets Minuet proper = First rounded binary form unit Trio = Second rounded binary form unit Musical Example: Haydn, Symphony no. 43 in E-flat Major (“Mercury”), minuet proper (0:55) • 1st reprise begins with opening theme; repeat begins at 0:10. • 2nd reprise (beginning at 0:20) features a prominent return of opening theme about halfway through (at 0:41). (Repeat of 2nd reprise excluded here for reasons of time.)

Emphasize in class the repeats of each half and the prominence of the moment of return in the second reprise.

Again: Why form? In literature, a conventional form is a framework for telling a story. The contents may vary, but the framework, the sequence of events, remain constant and predictable. This helps authors and readers alike. Example: The Who-Done-It Mystery (e.g., Sherlock Holmes)

The same holds true for musical forms: even though the content of each is unique, the outlines remain essentially the same. And if we know the form, we can better follow its progression and appreciate how the author has applied it. Variation, rondo, and sonata form all work in much the same way: the outline of each is predictable, but the content is always different. This helps composers and listeners alike.

Why sonata form? Sonata form is a conventional framework that allows composers to tell a musical “story.” And because the framework—the sequence of events—is fairly predictable, it also makes it easier for listeners to follow that “story.” There are three sections in any sonata-form movement: 1) Exposition. Introduces the themes (“characters”) and keys (“locations”). Primary key area: the tonic Secondary key area: the closely related key

2) Development. Takes the themes (“characters”) through various complications and avoids the tonic (the “home” key). 3) Recapitulation. Brings all the characters back home and resolves the “plot” of the movement. We can analyze film version of The Wizard of Oz as a story told in sonata form…

The Wizard of Oz: Exposition Location: The farm. Home. The “tonic” or “home” key. Characters: Dorothy, the three farmhands. …and (later, but still at home) Miss Gulch.

The Wizard of Oz: Exposition (cont’d.) Dorothy resolves to leave the farm and somewhere else far away (“Somewhere Over the Rainbow”). She sets out to a new location (= transition, the modulation to a new tonal area).

The Wizard of Oz: Exposition (cont’d.) That new location is down the road, where she meets Professor Marvel, the fortune-teller. This new character corresponds to a new “theme.” The story has now moved to a new place: away from home, no longer on the farm (the tonic key), but at the same time not all that far away (the related secondary key).

The Wizard of Oz: Development Most of the film takes place “over the rainbow,” in Munchkin Land and in the Land of Oz. The characters from the Exposition, though transformed, are all still recognizable from when we first met them. They are different, yet still recognizably the same. But we are definitely not in the tonic key (the farm) anymore.

The Wizard of Oz: Recapitulation Once back home (the tonic key), all the major characters return in their original form. Even Professor Marvel appears, though we had not seen him on the farm before. As in a sonata-form movement, all the major characters (themes) are presented in the original location (the tonic key).

Summary: The Wizard of Oz as a story told in sonata form

Hearing sonata form: Exercises and evaluation Exercise: Have students (working either individually or in small groups) record the timings of the events they know they will hear in a sonataform movement. Use a template (see next slide). Suggested sample pieces: • Johann Christian Bach, Keyboard Sonata in D Major, Op. 5, no. 2, first movement. • Haydn, Symphony no. 13 in D Major, first movement. • Beethoven, Symphony no. 5 in C minor, first movement.

Template for exercises in listening to sonata-form movements Event Exposition

First theme in tonic Transition (modulation to a new key) Second theme in related key area Exposition repeat First theme in tonic Transition (modulation to a new key) Second theme in related key area Development Recapitulation First theme in tonic Transition (but altered so as to stay in the same key) Second theme now in tonic

Timing

Johann Christian Bach: Sonata in D Major, Op. 5, no. 2 (1766) Exposition (1:15) Event

Timing

Exposition

First theme in tonic

0:00

Transition (modulation to a new key)

0:15

Second theme in related key area

0:33

Exposition repeat First theme in tonic Transition (modulation to a new key) Second theme in related key area Development Recapitulation First theme in tonic Transition (but altered so as to stay in the same key) Second theme now in tonic

Johann Christian Bach: Sonata in D Major, Op. 5, no. 2 (1766) Development and Recapitulation (2:05) Event

Timing

Exposition

First theme in tonic

0:00

Transition (modulation to a new key)

0:15

Second theme in related key area

0:33

Exposition repeat First theme in tonic

1:16

Transition (modulation to a new key)

1:30

Second theme in related key area

1:48

Development

2:32

Recapitulation First theme in tonic

3:25

Transition (but altered so as to stay in the same key)

3:40

Second theme now in tonic

3:53

Recapitulation: Teaching Sonata Form • Emphasize the purpose of musical form and forms in general: they help both composers and listeners by providing a recognizable framework for presenting a series of events. • Move from simpler forms (Variation, ABA) to more complicated ones (rondo) before tackling sonata form. • Use in-class exercises (group or individual) with event/timing templates to help students monitor whether or not they are hearing the elements of sonata form. • Repeat with as many pieces as time will allow, or create out-of-class assignments. The more sonata-form movements students hear, the more recognizable its outlines will become.