Examining the Pathetique Sonata Essay

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Examining The Pathetique Sonata At the start of the nineteenth century, the world of music made a transition from the Classic Period of composition to what is now known as the Romantic Era. Composers experimented with more expressive and songlike melodies while pianists developed higher skill levels to match the increased technical demands of the pieces. One man who embodied this particular transitional period was Ludwig van Beethoven. Beethoven was one of the first composers to stray from traditional forms of music and incorporate a broader range of pitch and dynamics into his compositions. In 1798 Beethoven composed the Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, which incorporates many romantic elements of music. Often referred to as The …show more content…
As the movement progresses, Beethoven alters the melody very slightly by changing the rhythm and adding extra bass notes in the right hand to make the melody thicker. The melody frequently transitions to the left hand in the B and C themes of the rondo, which requires the player to use an extremely soft touch when striking the keys. Many amateur players have difficulty maintaining a soft dynamic level while continuing to bring out the melody. They often “lose touch with the piece by dragging out the left hand,” or by “overpowering the melody” (Senner 148). However, this second movement can be one of the most beautiful and influential pieces of music when played correctly. The initial theme is just as recognizable today as when it was first written. It can be heard accompanying Bill Joel on his hit album entitled The Night, and even in an episode of Seinfeld. The third and final movement of The Pathetique Sonata returns back to the original key of C minor and incorporates themes that are very similar to those found in the first movement. However, this movement is not in sonata allegro form, but rather rondo form like the second movement. The main A theme is significantly brighter than the one encountered in the first movement. It is repeated throughout the movement and modulates into the keys of E flat, A flat, and C. The themes in the third movement also distinguish themselves from those in the first based on