Sonata Pathetique Movement 2 Analysis Essay

An Analysis of Beethoven Pathetique Sonata

4398 WordsNov 25th, 201018 Pages

An application of Analysis of Beethoven’s ‘Pathetique’ piano sonata No. 8 inC minor, Op.13 with particular focus on musical features such as melody, thematic content, rhythm, form and structure, and harmony.

Bent states that analysis is the means of answering the question, how does it work? According to Bent, analysis is a relatively young discipline “analysis as a pursuit in its own right became established during the 19th century” (Bent, 2006, p.13), although basic methods of analysis of music has been suggested to date back to the eighteenth century and have become a seductively compelling and important topic for music scholars over the last fifty years, and as a result, an extensive range of literature proclaims the value of…show more content…

8 in C minor, Op. 13 composed in 1798 focussing on musical features such as melody, thematic content, rhythm, form and structure and harmony. This sonata has been chosen for analysis as it is the most popular Beethoven sonata within the performance circuit, as it is a well known piece worldwide. Secondly, Beethoven developed Sonata form, adding more thematic contrast and contrasting melodies reflecting his own personal struggles with his progressive loss of hearing and also his failures in his love life which all contributed to the passion and despair that is depicted within the sonatas during his second compositional stage in his career.
Firstly, I will discuss the methods used in order to analyse the Form and Structure of the piece. The emphasis in analysis was often given to the form and structure of the piece, especially during the nineteenth century as this allows performers to gain knowledge more directly regarding the overall style of the piece. The sonata is composed in Sonata form and is separated into three movements, firstly the Grave- Allegro di molto e con brio movement, followed by the Adagio Cantabile middle movement and finally the Rondo Allegro movement. There are different meanings to the word structure in music, the first is to do with locating the different movements or the different sections of the piece and the second is to look at how the piece has been put

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Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13, commonly known as Sonata Pathétique, was written in 1798 when the composer was 27 years old, and was published in 1799. Beethoven dedicated the work to his friend Prince Karl von Lichnowsky.[1] Although commonly thought to be one of the few works to be named by the composer himself, it was actually named Grande sonate pathétique (to Beethoven's liking) by the publisher, who was impressed by the sonata's tragic sonorities.[2] Prominent musicologists debate whether or not the Pathétique may have been inspired by Mozart's piano sonata K. 457, since both compositions are in C minor and have three very similar movements. The second movement, "Adagio cantabile", especially, makes use of a theme remarkably similar to that of the spacious second movement of Mozart's sonata.[3] However, Beethoven's sonata uses a unique motif line throughout, a major difference from Haydn or Mozart’s creation.[1]


In its entirety, encompassing all three movements, the work takes approximately 19 minutes to perform.

The sonata has three movements:

  1. Grave (Slowly, with solemnity) – Allegro di molto e con brio (Quickly, with much vigour)
  2. Adagiocantabile (Slowly, in a singing style)
  3. Rondo: Allegro (Quickly)

Grave – Allegro di molto e con brio

The first movement is in sonata form. It begins with a slow introductory theme, marked Grave. The allegro section is in 2/2 time (alla breve) in the home key of C minor, modulating, like most minor-key sonatas of this period, to the mediant, E-flat. However, Beethoven makes use of unorthodox mode-mixture, as he presents the second subject in E-flat minor rather than its customary parallel major. Beethoven extends Haydn's compositional practice by returning to the introductory section twice—at the beginning of the development section as well as in the coda. Some performers of the sonata include the introduction in the exposition repeat, others return to the beginning of the allegro section.

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