Dissertation Index

Author: Huguet, Joan C

Title: Formal Functions and Voice-Leading Structures in Beethoven’s Early Sonata-Rondo Finales

Institution: Eastman School of Music

Begun: July 2013

Completed: April 2015


William Caplin asserts in Classical Form that the sonata rondo “is perhaps the most complex of the classical forms”_ (1998, 235). Although the complexity of the sonata rondo is widely accepted, theories of tonal music have almost completely neglected the form. Even as new and increasingly sophisticated analytical tools have made possible the description of the many variants of sonata form, basic questions about the formal structure and voice leading of the sonata rondo remain unanswered. The present project seeks to fill this critical gap in our theoretical knowledge, establishing a deeper understanding of formal functions and middleground Schenkerian prototypes for sonata-rondo form through an analytical study of Ludwig van Beethoven’s early sonata rondos.

Chapter One introduces recent approaches to sonata-rondo form and considers the role and structure of the rondo refrain in the early Beethoven finales. Chapter Two explores the relationship between sonata form and sonata-rondo expositions, describing the ways in which the subordinate theme/first episode (B1) is similar and different from a sonata-form subordinate theme. Chapter Three continues the discussion of formal closure by problematizing the concept of the coda in sonata-rondo form. In Chapter Four, I discuss interruption in sonata-rondo forms, suggesting that many Schenkerian scholars have followed Schenker himself in underestimating the voice-leading challenges posited by sonata-rondo form. Finally, Chapter Five presents four case studies, demonstrating the ways in which the form-functional and Schenkerian techniques developed in this study can explain unusual cases within this repertoire.

Keywords: Beethoven, Classical Form, Schenkerian Analysis, Rondo Form


Introduction 1
0.1: What is Sonata-Rondo Form? 1
0.2: Defining the Repertoire 2
0.3: Precursors to Beethoven’s Sonata-Rondo Practices 3
0.4: Historical Approaches to Sonata-Rondo Form 10
0.5: Outline of the Present Study 13
Chapter One: Recent Formenlehre and Sonata-Rondo Form 16
1.1: Caplin’s Rondo-Form Classifications 16
1.2: Hepokoski and Darcy’s Rondo-Form Classifications 20
1.3: Defining Sonata-Rondo Form 22
1.4: Sonata-Rondo Refrain Characteristics 24
1.5: Atypical Refrain Structures 28
1.6: Changes to Thematic Returns in Sonata-Rondo Form 30
1.7: Changes to the A2 and A3 Refrains 32
1.8: Conclusion 34
Chapter Two: The Subordinate Theme in Sonata-Rondo Form 36
2.1: Caplin’s Description of Subordinate Themes 37
2.2: Hepokoski and Darcy’s Description of Secondary Themes 39
2.3: Defining the Sonata Rondo’s First Episode 42
2.4: Tonic-Dominant Polarity and the Dramatic Role of Subordinate Themes 43
2.5: Loosening Techniques in Sonata-Rondo Subordinate Themes 44
2.6: Identifying Beginnings in Sonata-Rondo Expositions 45
2.7: Harmonic Loosening Techniques 53
2.8: Endings and Closure in Sonata-Rondo Expositions 55
2.9: Changes to the Subordinate Theme in the Recapitulation 67
2.10: Three Summary Examples 69
2.11: Conclusion 80
Chapter Three: Post-Recapitulatory Space 82
3.1: Characteristics of Beethoven’s Codas 83
3.2: Defining Coda Space 84
3.3: Coda Formal and Harmonic Functions 85
3.4: Conflicting Formal Functions in the Sonata-Rondo Coda 87
3.5: A New Typology: Post-Recapitulatory Space 88
3.6: Loosening Techniques in Post-Recapitulatory Space 89
3.7: Post-Recapitulatory Space Prototypes 101
3.8: Case Study: Piano Sonata in A Major, Op. 2/2/iv 111
3.9: Conclusion 116
Chapter Four: Schenkerian Interruption and Sonata-Rondo Form 119
4.1: Schenker on Rondo Form 119
4.2: Interpreting Schenker’s Rondo-Form Analyses 122
4.3: The Sonata-Rondo Problem in Secondary Sources 130
4.4: Alternatives to Interruption in Sonata Rondos 135
4.5: Interruption and the Increased Role of V in Sonata-Rondos 138
4.6: Sonata-Rondo Exposition Prototypes 140
4.7: Case Study 1: String Trio in Eb Major, Op. 3/vi 142
4.8: Case Study 2: Piano Sonata in A Major, Op. 2/2/iv 144
4.9: Multiple Interruptions in Sonata-Rondo Form 149
4.10: Conclusion 153
Chapter Five: Case Studies 155
5.1: Analyzing Minor-Mode Sonata Rondos 156
5.2: Piano Sonata in E Major, Op. 14/1/iii 169
5.3: Piano Sonata in D Major, Op. 10/3/iv 179
Conclusion 188
Bibliography 191


Joan Campbell Huguet

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