Piano and Mozart
In this paper, I will go in depth and analyze the first movement of Mozart’s Piano sonata in C major, K. 330. I will follow the guideline by Jan C. LaRue titled “Guidelines for Style Analysis*”. I will look in depth at the different factors that facilitate our ability in recognizing music in general. The five factors are Sound, Harmony, Melody, Rhythm, and Growth. My goal is to clarify and facilitate what it was that Mozart intended to do in this piece, as well as simply describe some of the different configurations that he implemented in this particular first movement.
It is important to describe styles from different composers since we need to develop our ability in using our ears so we can differentiate music from different composers. Overall, however, it is my goal to achieve a higher degree of understanding of this piece from the reader’s point of view. First, however, I think it is important to understand some of the historical background that took place when this music was composed. Unlike our current time, musicians were seen as low middle class individuals during the eighteenth century.
Piano and Mozart Essay Example
They were usually employed by churches and royalty since they were in need of individuals that could produce a lot of works for their continuous events, yet they were usually underpaid. Another option was being a freelance musician, but that was risky since they would make even less income since they would not be stable. Mozart is an example of someone that attempted being a freelancer, but it wasn’t great for him since he was in debt and always in need of money. Regardless, Mozart was able to produce an overwhelming amount of music that influenced future generations.
During his time, one of the musical styles that was prevalent was the “Style Galant”, which was light and frivolous music that was simple and pleasing to listeners, almost like entertainment music. Mozart was very much indulged in this style and wrote some prominent music that, in my opinion, best represents this style, such as his piano sonata in C major, K. 330. It has a very homophonic texture, with occasional ornamentation that fits the characteristics of Galant music and overall Classical simplicity. Also, it is important to note that this
sonata, along with most of Mozart’s works, very much differ from the complex harmonic tonicizations of the Baroque period in the seventeenth century. This sonata was composed among the three other works. It is in a cycle of piano sonatas, from K. 330, to K. 332. The K. 330 sonata was composed in 1783, at a time when Mozart was twenty-seven years old. When one hears this sonata, the sound is very different: the Alberti bass-like configurations in the left hand with a consistent melody in the right hand stick out and makes us wonder and curious to know more.
Actually, when looking at the score, it strikes me that the writing is rather simple writing, but only that himself Mozart could execute. All he does is have a nice opera-like melody in the right hand, while the left hand has a “new” kind of accompaniment that gives the piece a different kind of flow that hasn’t really been heard that often before in Classical piano music. The amalgamation of a nice melody and new kind of left hand accompaniment is one aspect of the music that is interesting, which, of course, creates a new sound.
This texture is light, frivolous, and very much in the Galant style that Mozart was so fond of. This kind of timbre belongs only to Mozart and it is what differentiates his music from the rest. For example, measure eight has ascending sixteenth notes, and in measure nine, the right hand melody imitates that previous measure, except it’s the melody, and not the accompaniment. In measure 13, we finally get eight notes staccatos in the left hand with thirty two second notes in the right hand. This is nice since all we’ve been getting is rapid sixteenth notes in the left hand.
Harmonically, everything is rather straight forward. There is a prevalent relationship between the tonic of C major and the dominant of G major. Most of the chords Mozart has implemented are in root position and are very much predictable: there isn’t any harmonic ambiguity that makes the piece hard to follow or understand. Once in a while, however, a strong presence of some seventh chords will appear and be felt in the development, and they will usually be in syncopated motion with the motivic configurations taking place in the left hand bass.
And for tonicization, which happens from measure 71, they take place based on the resolution of previous keys, which is to be expected of Mozart. But overall, there is a sense of very organized tonality that sometimes feels as if we’re being deviated somewhere else, when in reality, Mozart is simply applying simple harmonies. For the melodic characteristic in this piece, I feel that this particular factor is what differentiates Mozart from every other composer. First of all, his melodies are very operatic, and it is obvious he got this influence from the keyboard works of C.
P. E. Bach; actually, Mozart once said that C. P. E. Bach “Bach is the father, we are the children! ”. Mozart was referring to Bach’s ingenious melodic writing, and only that. C. P. E. Bach was in the style of “Empfindsamer Stil”, which is very different from the Galant style. Regardless, what makes this piece special is not only the beautiful and long melodies, but also how he manages to add accompaniment in the left hand that gives it a fluidity that is hard for anyone else to emulate.
The melodies themselves are mostly in stepwise motion, are within a narrow compass, and have a clear diatonic organization. The accompaniment, however, is rather simple, but ingenious. It consists primarily of sixteenth notes, staccato and legato eight notes, sixteenth triplets, and occasional quarter notes. They sound ordinary and vapid, but what the way in which Mozart juxtaposed them, along with the melodies in the right hand, is what makes everything pretty neat. The melodies also change in notes values: eight notes, sixteenth notes, and thirty two second notes.
This being said, all he did was combine notes values in a way that gives it a different sense of flow, but we have to remember that the melody is what dictates most of everything. As I kind of already mentioned, the rhythm is varied between eight notes, sixteenth notes, thirty two second notes, and very few quarter notes. The piece is in a 2/4 time signature, with a tempo of “Allegro Moderato”. The beats are grouped normally, meaning that they are easily felt on both the down and up beats.
Regarding rests, they are usually placed before the beginning of a new phrase on either the right or left hand. Ornaments and trills are clearly used, but they are executed rapidly so they won’t interfere with the consistency of the tempo. Measures two, four, and seven are examples of the rapid execution required for the ornaments and trills. As I’ve already implied, since this piece is in the Galant style, the music will most likely stay simple in every sense, including rhythm, which is exactly what we get in this first movement.
The growth of the piece is definitely interesting. First of all, most phrases are eight to nine bars long, and are architecturally symmetrical. Also, there are constant two bar sequences with slight ornamentation that gives it some contrast. In the first theme there are motifs and melody played on right hand while left hand takes role in accompanying. Diatonic bass with descending patterns take place right before the first bridge passage from measure 13 through 17, unlike the second theme, but that tends to happen in other Mozart piano sonatas.
Another thing he does is that he uses functional pivot chord diatonically where transition from C major to G major occurs in measure 18. The Perfect Authentic Cadence defines the tonality, and he modulates to the related key theme one, which is in C major, and theme two is in G major in Exposition in the development section it continues the ideas in the key of G major, with Adagio beginning. In the Recapitulation section starting at measure 88 both themes one and two are in C major.
He later developed more melodic (melody and accompaniment, too) section within a structure that is mostly based on the circle of key. A brief coda provides the harmonic and tonal resolution of the tonic (C major) and relative keys that he pivots in the themes. I believe that his experiment of providing the repeat (the beginning of development section in coda) with tonic presentation of primary material makes this composition unique and so significant that he usually provides off-tonic or relevant key in the coda to end the piece in most music he worked.
As James says “seeming resolution is better understood as a convenient by-product of a larger governing idea: that of thematic rotation, or the architectural propensity within the style to recycle arrays of thematic material in relatively the same order” (P. 110)*, in this piece, he emphasizes the importance of “recycle” based on the circle of the key by pedal points frequently represented throughout the piece. For example, alberti bass-like part (m. 1~m.
7), which I analyzed as part of pedal point, is relatively modulated in the different key in development, is repeated in recapitulation, and lastly modulated in home key in the coda. Consequently, overall thematic structure is fully supported by this idea, and it is strongly legible that this was something Mozart would need to pertain several sonatas to compose. Another point of view of this piece that I have is that I think Mozart might have even written this sonata based on the operatic style he had already been writing in.
He was definitely also influenced by J. C. Bach’s simple and elegant writing, but there is an intense vocal sense in Mozart’s writing that is not felt anywhere else, which is one of the reasons he was idolized as perfection ever since the beginning of the Romantic era; this is still common, even to this day. Regardless of my point of view, what gives this movement its unique timbres are the harmonies, clever use of rhythms, interesting development, soothing and beautiful melodies, unique growth of entire first movement, and overall achieved sound.
I hope my analysis was clear and provided a higher degree of understanding and clarification. Mozart is not easy to understand, but he is definitely an interesting composer that makes the listener interested in knowing more about him and his music. Jan C. LaRue’s five essential elements in music are helpful and has made listening to music an easier experience since I have my listening skills have been solidified.