Lesson 283

Sonatina in G: First Movement: Form & Artistry

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Hello and welcome back. I'm Joseph Hoffman, and in this lesson we're going to work on playing "Sonatina in G" first movement, with artistry. Artistry means going beyond just playing all the notes and rhythms correctly. It means playing it beautifully and expressively. We're also going to check out the form of this movement. Let's look at the score to get started. Let's start today by figuring out the form for this first movement of "Sonatina in G." I like to think of form analysis as figuring out the most simple pieces of the piece. Pieces of the piece, right? Like a stick figure is so simple right? Two legs, two arms, and a head. That's the simplest way I know how to represent a person. Well a form of a piece is the simplest way to represent the structure of the piece. So what are we looking for? We're looking for the big parts. The sections. And how do we know when a section is over? Well, in music we're looking for the cadence. A cadence is when the music comes to a resting place. Where do you feel the first major cadence in "Sonatina in G" first movement? Can you point to it? If you're pointing right here, great job. This is where I feel the first cadence. Do you feel how the music comes to rest right there on that G? And then actually, literally there is a rest in the music, which emphasizes this feeling of we've arrived at a temporary rest spot. Like, think if you're making a long journey sometimes you stop the car, you get out you stretch at what's called a rest stop, or maybe you stop for lunch, or to fill up with gas. This is a resting place in the music, and that's called a cadence, and it's often placed at the end of a section. So I feel this entire first eight measures as the A section, so I'm going to mark that A. And that A section comes to an end with this cadence. Now here, beginning in measure 9, would be the start of a new section, and we always have to ask when a new section begins is it the same as before or is it different? What would you say? This is a contrasting section. It has new thematic material. The melody is doing something new, the accompaniment's doing something new. We call that a contrasting section. So I'm going to call that B. Now this one doesn't have as obvious of a cadence, but I also feel measure 16 as a kind of cadence. Listen. Even though the notes don't stop as clearly as here in measure eight, you notice that the left hand plays nothing, and the right hand kind of feels like it's floating a little bit to me here. I'm going to start here in measure 15 again. Hear how those notes just kind of leave you floating in space a little bit? There's a little bit of pause to the feel even though there's no literal pause, the left hand stops playing and the right hand just drifts around a little bit kind of like a leaf floating on the wind. So this sounds to me like the end of the B section, and then what do you notice up here in measure 17? This feels like the start of a new section. Is it something we've heard before or is it something new? If you said it's another A, you are correct. We have an exact repetition of the A section. If there was some change, we might put a little prime symbol, but if you check every note, this is an exact repetition of our original A. And then that repeats. We go all the way back and do this B A segment again. So if I were to write out the whole thing up here, we have an A, then we have a B A that repeats. And then we get to what feels to me like a coda. Why does this feel like a coda to me? One thing about a coda is it will present some new material right at the end of a piece. And another thing about a coda is it usually comes after something that could have been the ending. Could the piece have ended right here? We could have just ended it right there and called it good. We landed on a G, which was the key we're starting in. So we come back home to G. It would be a perfectly fine ending, but a coda is like a bonus chapter. It's an extension that keeps the music going to bring us to an even more satisfying ending, and so this is how I would represent the form for this movement. Let's go ahead and write in coda here. Remember, our symbol for coda is this. One thing that's useful about figuring out the form is as you're performing this from memory, you can use this as a little road map in your mind to keep track of where you are, and now let's move away from form to talk about artistry. In this piece, I think it's so much about the phrasing. So you've got to find the phrases. I think of this beginning section in two measure phrases. And you see these smaller slur marks, remember a phrase mark also is a curved line that shows you where the beginning, middle, and end of each musical idea is. The most common shape for a phrase is to have some kind of climax in the middle, and you can see right here with this high note and the mezzo forte marking, that this is going to be a very natural climax, and sometimes I'll mark a climax with a star. Okay, and then there's another climax over here. And then I think of this as a longer phrase, so I want to build up over a longer period of time, and the dynamics support this. We crescendo, then we crescendo some more, and I feel the climax right here as w ...