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Analysis of a Mozart Sonatina Movement

MUSIC 202 — Winter 2018 (Carson)

Mozart Sonatina Movement Analysis, Step 1 (Due 1/22)

From W.A. Mozart’s “Six Viennese Sonatinas”, select a movement (we began the Adagio (i) from Sonatina III as an example in class) … to complete an analysis that demonstrates techniques illustrated so far in seminar and in the Forte & Gilbert. If you choose a “Minuet” movement, both the Minuet and Trio should be included.


Your finished reduction is a “graph”—a visual representation of how you hear the structure and details of the piece. It will consist of:

1. MELODY: All of the melodic notes should be written out entirely, strongly and in good proportion to their appearance in the score. 

a. You may lightly write-in the rhythmic information (light stems, dots, beams, rests) for the melody only—it’s up to you. (My Inventio 7 model does not take this step, and neither do the examples in the Forte and Gilbert… but my earlier model from Sonatina III does.)

b. Regardless, you should be quickly able to assess “where you are” in the melody, from the appearance of a clear and continuous melodic part.

c. Avoid spilling melodic sentences or phrases over into a new system. Landscape-oriented systems should allow about 16 bars of material; if the sentence is too long, divide it in half, identifying a midpoint that makes some kind of structural sense.

2. “ACCOMPANIMENT” NOTES: All the remaining notes should be written (all with no rhythmic information) following the model graphs of J. S. Bach’s “Inventio 7” (see class hand-out, week 2).

a. All of the non-melodic notes should be placed in their actual positions in time, relative to the written-out melody. (In an earlier exercise we “collapsed” the chords, but that’s an exercise—the (optional) “Preparation Step 2” above, not to be turned in.)

b. They should all be “filled-in” noteheads, indicating start-times. Sometimes it’s useful to use ties to show that a note outlasts a note in a different part (especially a nearby one). However, usually start times are sufficient; regardless of the “duration” of a note, it’s usually clear in context when one harmony is supplanted by another.

3. HARMONY: Clarify the reduction with a Roman-numeral analysis that identifies the principle harmonies. Stick to significant harmonic motion (I; VI or III as an extension of I, then the cadential pair). Stem the bass notes associated with those harmonies. A bass note preceding the cadential V is often slurred to indicate its “predominant” (PD) status.

4. STEM-SLUR NOTATION: identify dependent-independent relations, and elaborations, from step 4 of your sketching process. 

5. ESSENTIAL INTERVALS / BASIC STRUCTURE: What essential relationships between the bass and treble occur? 

a. Find essential (bass-to-treble) intervals that are supported by the principal harmonies identified in step 3 — there may be more than one “stemmed note” (in your stem-and-slur notation) for each harmony, but if one of them seems more essential in its progression from the previous or toward the next, you can mark it (6, 10, 3, 8, 7 etc.), between the staves, sometimes drawing a line to connect the treble and bass note, if they are not simultaneous.

b. OPTIONAL: If the *top* of an essential interval (a melody note) is a stemmed note that appears to “lead” toward the top note of the next interval, you can show coherence by marking the scale degrees on each—these should normally show stepwise motion.

(Hint: Work backward from the cadence, when marking these scale-degree structures in the melody. In the cadence, there should be (1 & 2) one stemmed note for each of two cadential chords; (3) *possibly* a stem for the K64; (4) a stem for one pre-dominant harmony; and (5) at least one stem for harmonies prior to the pre-dominant.)


BRING THREE COPIES on the 22nd, so we can all “workshop” your decisions and your questions and discuss next steps.


FYI — here are some tips to consider as you prepare step 1.

1. “Draft” your graph by completing a Roman numeral analysis, and sketching out the notes with no rhythmic information.

2. Optional: experiment with harmonic reduction (writing out a complete chord progression that approximates the harmony in block chords), without embellishment.

3. Optional: experiment with “melodic reduction”—per Forte & Gilbert Ch. 1—imagining a hypothetical theme that this score might be a “variation” of.

4. Returning to 1. above: examine your early sketch, now with fuller awareness of harmony, and begin connecting the notes with slurs to show relationships of “dependency”, like surface NCTs, CS, Arp., unfoldings, etc. Make the structural notes slightly heavier to help you visualize their structural role.

5. New discoveries will emerge in step 4, and you’ll reverse some previous instincts and decisions. It gets messy. None of these “preparation” steps should be turned in; if you’re doing them right, they won’t really be legible to someone else until rewritten and refined.




Following discussion January 22, and principles discussed in Forte & Gilbert readings (on the fundamentals of prolongation), and the Cadwallader & Gagne readings (for Weeks 3 & 4), revise your foreground graph with a clearer sense of the middle ground.

The main changes you will make are to clarify bass and treble structure, by reducing the number of stemmed notes. To be specific, regarding the BASS:

(1) In the “Prolongation” portion of each phrase, you should identify a single prolonged note, a single “third divider” if appropriate (usually I6, vi, or iii in major, i6, III, or VI in minor) — the remaining notes surrounding the prolonged note and the possible 3rd divider should be understood as CS, N, Arp., or other clear elaboration types.

(2) A “predominant” note, before most cadences, should be marked “PD”. In some cases (rare in Mozart) this note might have its own elaborations.

(3) Two specific cadential notes. Other notes in the cadential portion of the phrase should be understood as elaborations of notes considered cadential.

Then, in the TREBLE:

(1) All “structural notes” are marked with a longer stem, and a scale-degree marked by a number with a carat above it.

(2) There will be two *main* structural notes representing the cadence—usually descending by step (e.g. 3^ 2^ or 6^ 5^) or repeating (e.g. 5^ 5^)

(3) There may be additional structural notes forming a stepwise descent toward the cadence, for example a note supported by K64, and/or by the PD and its surroundings.

(4) The first structural note (sometimes called a “Kopfton”), will be 5^ (most common), 3^, or 8^ (least common). It will be consonant with the first prolonged bass note. Don’t try to decide what this is until you’ve understood (2) above.


(i) Stems-up notation of the full melody, with barlines and key signature(s). Write beams, stems and flags very lightly.

(ii) Measure numbers corresponding to the score, in small boxes above the staff.

(iii) Important: No clef changes, and no rhythmic information in non-melodic voices (which are represented by unstemmed noteheads)

(iv) Limit ledger lines: When there are high notes in the bass clef or low notes in the treble clef, avoid more than one ledger line if possible; instead, transfer them to the other staff. (This makes them appear more like they sound, in reference to the other notes.)


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