Elements of evolution of the sonata-form in Johannes Brahms’s chamber music

Postgraduate Thesis uoadl:2920654 152 Read counter

Speciality History and Theory of Art Music
Library of the School of Philosophy
Deposit date:
Rigakis Rigas
Supervisors info:
Ιάκωβος Σταϊνχάουερ, Επίκουρος καθηγητής (επιβλέπων), Τμήμα Μουσικών Σπουδών, Φιλοσοφική Σχολή, Ε.Κ.Π.Α.
Νικόλαος Μαλιάρας, Καθηγητής, Τμήμα Μουσικών Σπουδών, Φιλοσοφική Σχολή, Ε.Κ.Π.Α.
Παύλος Σεργίου, Αναπληρωτής καθηγητής, Τμήμα Μουσικών Σπουδών, Φιλοσοφική Σχολή, Ε.Κ.Π.Α.
Original Title:
Στοιχεία εξέλιξης της μορφής σονάτας στη μουσική δωματίου του Johannes Brahms
Translated title:
Elements of evolution of the sonata-form in Johannes Brahms’s chamber music
Brahms's career as a composer began in the 1850s, when the two main trends of western music had already been developed in central Europe. On one hand, there was the so-called "progressive" trend according to which the formal integrity of a work was not the primary concern, since the focus was on music's relationship, by means of metaphor or symbolism, with other forms of art (literature, poetry, and painting) or even philosophy. On the other hand, there was the so-called "conservative" trend, of which Brahms was a representative after 1860, where the point of departure were the "closed" forms that were prominent during previous eras of western music —the sonata-form is arguably the most important among them— where the interrelation between themes and among other structural units at every level (cell, motive, phrase etc.) are treated with notable consistency, contributing to a sense of syntactic and formal cohesion.

Brahms's handling of the sonata-form, from his early to his late chamber works, has principally remained unchanged, since the most significant elements of his compositional process are already introduced in the early works. However, the sonata form itself and various techniques associated with it, such as ways through which Development is being displaced or conflated into Recapitulation, or how other forms (rondo, variations, fugue etc.) are being embedded in the context of the sonata, had been undergoing significant evolution. The combination of such techniques with other key elements of Brahms's music —such as the use of asymmetrical phrases, simultaneous use of double and triple meter, advanced harmony and elaborate contrapuntal writing— is done with unmatched craftsmanship that gives distinctive coherence to each piece. The high degree of formal consistency that is maintained in Brahms's work not only does not overshadow the music itself, but on the contrary gives prominence to its artistic content.

Brahms's contribution to the subsequent course of western music started being recognized in the 1930s, notably after Schoenberg adopted several features of his style in order to solve significant structural and formal issues atonality brought.
Main subject category:
Fine arts - Entertainment
form, structure, sonata-form in 19th century, sonata-form in 18th century, sonata-rondo, so-nata-fugue, expanded type 1 sonata, expanded type 1 sonata-rondo mixture, displaced de-velopment, conflated response, amplified binary sonata, secondary development, chamber music, theory and analysis, Johannes Brahms, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
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Στοιχεία εξέλιξης της μορφής σονάτας στη μουσική δωματίου του Johannes Brahms (Ρήγας Ρηγάκης 2020) v2.pdf
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