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Haydn Piano Sonata 5

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Mystery:
What form would you say the second movement (Adagio) of Haydn's 5th piano sonata is? I have two thoughts - binary and sonata, but for the latter there doesn't seem to be much in the way of development. Any help?

lukeottevanger:
The numbering system of Haydn' sonatas, as you probably know, is fraught with difficulties and disagreements; I have two complete recorded sets of the sonatas and their respective number 5s are not the same piece (one is in A, the other in G). On neither, though, is there an Adagio movement. I also have one set of the sonatas as sheet music, in which the number 5 is the one in A on the first of my recorded sets. Could you describe the sonata more fully - key, time signatures, tempi of different movements etc. - so that I can track it down. Meantime, I'll look through the scores and see if I can find the one you mean by the clues you've already given... :)

lukeottevanger:
The only early Haydn sonata I can find with an Adagio second movement is the one numbered 6 in my sheet music; the movement in question is in G minor and I can see why you are unsure of the form - the formal divisions are a little blurry. So I suppose this is the one you mean. Without playing it through, it looks to me like a binary form piece, though. The second 'half' of the movement is longer than the first, and includes further modulations and 'developments', but although that doesn't tally with what the simple 'AB' description leads us to expect of binary form, it is in fact very typical. There is no distinct central development, set off from what precedes and what follows, and the return to G minor is not dramatised thematically or dynamically as it would be in a sonata form.

The distinction between the two forms is blurry, though, because sonata form as we usually understand it developed, in part, out of binary form (first section ending in dominant/relative major; second section approx twice as long and tonally discursive, ending in tonic).

The other thing to bear in mind, though, is that sonata form is really a post classical extrapolation based on what you could call the 'average' Mozart/Haydn first movement. Haydn himself didn't think in those terms; when writing a piece such as this movement he would therefore have been working primarily with the music itself and not with complex preconceived formal frameworks. That's why questions like the one you ask are in some senses a litte anachronistic, and don't chime with the way the music was actually composed; if you look at the piece on its own merits and not through formal grids which actually complicate things needlessly (trying to decide if bars x to y qualify as 'development' or not, etc.) the form is actually pretty simple.

There various distinctions of binary form, of course, (rounded, simple, etc) which are of varying degrees of usefulness. Wiki's page on them is quite clear, I suppose. According to the distinctions offered there, this piece is in simple (without a closing repirse of the opening), continuous (without a tonic cadence at the end of the first section), assymetric (with a longer B section), balanced (with a 'rhyming' cadence to each section) binary form ;) ;D To me, these distinctions, whilst useful, tend to suggest that, really, if both rounded and simple, continuous and sectional, symmetric and assymetric, balanced and non-balanced varieties of binary can be discerned and are viable (in other words - all possible variants of the form) it is just as useful to say that all that really matters to the composer, instead of these many classifications, is the basic principle of the two part form.

Mystery:
Sorry about the confusion - I knew I shouldn't have written it like that. The sonata itself is in C major but the movement I am askign about is in F major. Does this help?

Mystery:

--- Quote from: lukeottevanger on May 28, 2007, 05:29:50 AM ---The only early Haydn sonata I can find with an Adagio second movement is the one numbered 6 in my sheet music; the movement in question is in G minor and I can see why you are unsure of the form - the formal divisions are a little blurry. So I suppose this is the one you mean. Without playing it through, it looks to me like a binary form piece, though. The second 'half' of the movement is longer than the first, and includes further modulations and 'developments', but although that doesn't tally with what the simple 'AB' description leads us to expect of binary form, it is in fact very typical. There is no distinct central development, set off from what precedes and what follows, and the return to G minor is not dramatised thematically or dynamically as it would be in a sonata form.

The distinction between the two forms is blurry, though, because sonata form as we usually understand it developed, in part, out of binary form (first section ending in dominant/relative major; second section approx twice as long and tonally discursive, ending in tonic).

The other thing to bear in mind, though, is that sonata form is really a post classical extrapolation based on what you could call the 'average' Mozart/Haydn first movement. Haydn himself didn't think in those terms; when writing a piece such as this movement he would therefore have been working primarily with the music itself and not with complex preconceived formal frameworks. That's why questions like the one you ask are in some senses a litte anachronistic, and don't chime with the way the music was actually composed; if you look at the piece on its own merits and not through formal grids which actually complicate things needlessly (trying to decide if bars x to y qualify as 'development' or not, etc.) the form is actually pretty simple.

There various distinctions of binary form, of course, (rounded, simple, etc) which are of varying degrees of usefulness. Wiki's page on them is quite clear, I suppose. According to the distinctions offered there, this piece is in simple (without a closing repirse of the opening), continuous (without a tonic cadence at the end of the first section), assymetric (with a longer B section), balanced (with a 'rhyming' cadence to each section) binary form ;) ;D To me, these distinctions, whilst useful, tend to suggest that, really, if both rounded and simple, continuous and sectional, symmetric and assymetric, balanced and non-balanced varieties of binary can be discerned and are viable (in other words - all possible variants of the form) it is just as useful to say that all that really matters to the composer, instead of these many classifications, is the basic principle of the two part form.

--- End quote ---

Thank you for this helpful description, even if it doesn't describe the one I was thinking of! I have to label pieces by form for my analysis module and was just doing a bit of practice but got stuck! So even if Haydn didn't work to such a model (I will try to fit this into my answer if it's relevant!) I still need to show my knowledge of such forms.

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