Proportion: The Distinguishing Features

The short description in the text of how we should seek to identify the unique features of any piece of music should pervade our analysis from the outset.  It goes beyond proportion to understand how specific features of a composition relate to one another.  It informs style awareness, and illustrates how comparing different works by the same composer yields a deeper understanding of their methods.  Much of our discovery process does not rely on simple analytical factors, but rather the aesthetics of a composition and how we respond to it emotionally.  For this reason, each of the analysis graphs should also include the Analytic Observations page.  This is where the unique melodic and rhythmic elements are identified, along with a description of our aural impressions and a context for the music.

Chapter 10:  Multimovement Forms

The term sonata is often used to identify a multimovement composition for orchestra, a chamber group, or solo instrument.  Prior to Beethoven, most classical period sonatas consisted of three movements, often with tempos that were generally fast-slow-fast.  In the Romantic period this arrangement evolved to four movements, with a minuet or composite part form added between the slow movement and the finale, creating a fast-slow-minuet-fast order.  As the number and type of movements evolved, so did the microtonal plans for key relationships between movements, resulting in more contrast.  Also, cyclical designs with principal themes recurring in more than one movement became increasingly common.  Berlioz, with his idee fixe, and Wagner’s Leitmotiv are further adaptations of this concept.


Complete an analysis assignment on page 235, choosing a multimovement symphony or piano sonata from those suggested.  Address factors such as proportion, balance, unity and variety, along with your personal observations, opinions, and response to the music.  Audio files for all four movements of Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik are among the Materials below, and the score begins on page 380.

Amadeus Mozart: Eine kleine Nachtmusik, movement I

Amadeus Mozart: Eine kleine Nachtmusik, movement II

Amadeus Mozart: Eine kleine Nachtmusik, movement III

Amadeus Mozart: Eine kleine Nachtmusik, movement IV

Joseph Haydn: Sonata in E Major (Hoboken 13) (PDF)  

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