Theory Analysis on Haydn's Piano Sonata in Bb Major

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  • Topic: Key signature, C major, Relative key
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  • Published : December 7, 2011
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Haydn Piano Sonata in Bb Major

Haydn's Piano Sonata in Bb major has three clearly defined sections: the exposition, the development, and the recapitulation. In the exposition, the thematic statement from measure 1 through 10 is more or less the introduction followed by a theme in parallel period from measures 11 to beat two of 22. Up to this point we are in the key of Bb major, ending on a half cadence. Though it stays in this key, E is tonicized with a five of four in measures 11 and 16. Next is what I consider a bridge section in F major, connecting the themes in Bb to the themes in F. The reason I see it as a bridge phrase is for three reasons: ascending patterns, the augmented sixth chords to five, and the E natural in the last chord sounds like a leading tone. Between measures 23 and 26, the downbeats are ascending by step, then in measure 27, there is an augmented sixth chord. Then measure 28 is a five chord, measure 29 another augmented sixth chord, and lastly in measure 30 another five chord. This right here is a clear example of an extension by repetition. It seems like Haydn really put emphasis on that augmented sixth to five to give it the feeling of needing to continue on; that it is not a phrase that can stand on its own. Finally, on that last five chord, there is an E natural in the soprano voice, and with the subtle pause in the recording, it sounds and feels like a leading tone to F, which is the key of the next theme starting in measure 31.

The second half of the exposition has a contrasting period followed by the closing statement. The first period is from measure 31 to the down beat of measure 48. There are quite a few secondary dominants including a five of four in 32 and 34 (yet another example of extension by repetition), and a five of five in 36 and 37. This can also be viewed as an ascension in the theme, but then it ends in measure 43 with the thematic statement from the introduction. However, there is a cadential...
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