Analysis Of Beethoven's String Quartet Op 18 No 4

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In Beethoven’s string quartet Op. 18 No. 4, there is the implication that the first movement sonata form has indeed been emancipated from the looming tyranny of the minor key and that the movement will, in fact, end in C major as opposed to C minor. In measure 194, the ESC is presented as a strong C major chord which should indicate the emancipation of the movement; however, this is not the case. As the closing material quickly continues, E-flats are reintroduced signaling that the outcome of the struggle between major and minor has not yet been decided. Beginning in measure 202, the cello has a prominent chromatic line covering an octave between A-flats signifying the rise to victory. Unfortunately, at the end of the chromatic rise, C …show more content…
Not true, as the following eleven measures grow to a powerful fortissimo only further asserting C minor’s dominance and ultimate victory. The first movement of Beethoven’s string quartet Op. 18 No. 4 is an example of a sontata form that Hepokoski and Darcy would refer to as a failed attempt at emancipation from the original minor mode presented in the P theme. Overall, the movement represents the narrative of a tragedy in which we, as listeners, identify with the buoyant major mode presented in the S theme in opposition to the ever-driving, somewhat oppressive minor mode. The major and minor modes are in conflict with one another throughout the movement until, ultimately, the minor mode is able to secure its place as victor. The victory is unexpected considering the fact that the S theme in the recapitulation is in C major and is …show more content…
By measure 13, new material is presented signifying the transition, but instead, the P theme challenges the onset of the transition in measures 13-16. This can be heard in measures 14 and 16 as the cello, viola, and 2nd violin play chords together on beats one, two, and three while the 1st violin seems to argue with its own chord on beat four. Surprisingly, the P theme is victorious over this first attempt to herald in the S theme as P material continues in measures 16-25. In measure 25, there is a half cadence followed by a half rest signaling the presentation of the medial caesura. At a medial caesura coming from a C minor theme, one would expect either a half cadence in E-flat or G, however the half cadence here is in neither of these expected keys. Instead, the half cadence is in the original key of C. After the medial caesura, one would expect to hear the secondary theme, however, this is not exactly what happens. The material that follows is kind of a hybrid between transition material and medial caesura fill. The S theme is finally presented starting on the pick up to measure 34 and it is, thankfully, in E-flat major. This section demonstrates how dominant the minor mode really is. By not allowing the transition to take over properly and by commanding control of the only logical place for a half cadence followed by a medial caesura, the P theme forces the S theme to come in

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