Mozart Sonata No. 12 in F Major
November 26, 2012
The first movement of Mozart’s piano Sonata No. 12 in F Major is written fairly typically in the very structured sonata form. Historically is follows the main guidelines that were understood for the form. Harmonically, is progresses like expected. There are a few surprises here and there, but they are typical for Mozart’s compositions, especially his sonatas of the 18th century. In all, it makes a very interesting piece of work, especially with so much contrast within it. The formal structure of the first movement is sonata form. Not only is this evident in the title but it is very clear after an analysis of the piece has been done. Sonata form is incredibly structured and has specific sections and parts that must be present in order for it to be a true sonata. These sections are split relating to key mostly. All of the required parts are present in this work with the expected key changes, deeming it sonata form.
The piece starts with the exposition, excluding the optional introduction that can be added if a composer so chooses. This exposition is the first ninety-three measure of the movement. The end is marked with a repeat sign. In the sonata, the exposition is repeated, so this follows normal sonata formatting. All parts of the exposition are included in this sonata; theme 1, a transition, theme 2, a bridge, a closing theme, and a codetta are all present. These sections within the exposition modulate just as they are supposed to, further showing that this piece is in sonata form. The first theme is in the tonic key of F Major. The transition modulates from the tonic key to the dominant key, C Major, which is typical for a transition. Theme 2 stays in the dominant key, as does the bridge, closing theme, and codetta.
The next section of music is the development. It is not very long in comparison to the exposition and the coming development, lasting only thirty-nine measures. It behaves just like a normal development should. It modulates a few times and does so very often and quite quickly. In this development, Mozart chose to use a sequence of new material, repeating it at different pitch levels to change keys. Some material from the first theme group and the bridge is also used. There is no false return of the first theme group, but this is most likely because the development was so short in comparison. But, the material developed from the bridge in the exposition is used to transition the end of the development into the recapitulation.
The recapitulation is also standard of sonata form. Every section of the exposition should return, only with no modulations. The Recapitulation should remain entirely in the original tonic key that should have been set up by the development. The first theme group returns in the tonic key of F Major. The transition also returns and stays in the tonic key. The second theme group also comes back, staying in the tonic key as well. The same is true of the bridge, returning in F Major only. Next, the closing theme group returns also in the original key. And lastly, the codetta returns, continuing to stay in the tonic key. The form of this sonata by Mozart matches what was typical of the sonata form in the 18th century. There was a specific way what sonatas were to be composed, one that helps analysts of the present study this classical form. But, there are some things that Mozart included that were innovative and surprising for the times. These include harmonies that differ slightly from what were common, and motivic sequences that were quite originative. The motivic sequences other composers included in their sonatas during this time were fairly simple. Listeners liked to hear something they could easily remember, something that could get stuck in their heads, that they could hum for days or weeks after they first heard it. This usually resulted in music that contained few...
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Zaslaw, Neal and Cowdery, William, eds. The Complete Mozart: A guide to the Musical Works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1990.
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