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The Music Room => General Classical Music Discussion => Topic started by: amw on November 13, 2020, 05:28:05 PM

Title: Standard rep multi-movement works with no movements in 4/4, 2/4 or 2/2
Post by: amw on November 13, 2020, 05:28:05 PM
Something that's been bothering me lately.

Almost every piece in the classical repertoire has at least one movement in duple time (i.e. 4/4, 2/4, 2/2, more rarely something like 4/8). It's not extremely uncommon for a work to have all of its movements be in 2 or in 4, even if it is a very long work (examples: Mozart Piano Concertos 20 & 21, Beethoven Piano Concertos 1 & 4, Bruckner 4 revised version, Elgar Symphony 1 & Violin Concerto, Rachmaninov Symphony 2). But it seems to be extremely uncommon for a work to have no movements in 2 or in 4 (the only pre-20th century example I can think of right now: Alkan's Concerto for Solo Piano). Does anyone know of additional examples?

I'm excluding collections of pieces that can all be played individually, which is why a set of waltzes or other dances wouldn't count (or likewise a collection like Godowsky's Triakontameron), unless it was specifically written to be played as a set (e.g. Ravel's Valses nobles et sentimentales).

(Some other 20th century examples would be Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 7, Ravel's Piano Trio & not that many others before one starts to get into music which departs entirely from the idea of a consistent metre.)
Title: Re: Standard rep multi-movement works with no movements in 4/4, 2/4 or 2/2
Post by: vers la flamme on November 15, 2020, 05:29:10 PM
Schubert's 8th would be the obvious example, both movements in three.
Title: Re: Standard rep multi-movement works with no movements in 4/4, 2/4 or 2/2
Post by: amw on November 15, 2020, 05:54:13 PM
Schubert's 8th would be the obvious example, both movements in three.
That's a good oneā€”the fragment of the third movement is also in three. I'm not sure how I overlooked it.
Title: Re: Standard rep multi-movement works with no movements in 4/4, 2/4 or 2/2
Post by: Jo498 on November 16, 2020, 04:29:09 AM
I think I have once read the opinion that 3 subsequent 3/4 (3/8) movements might have been one "problem" of the b minor fragment that led to its abolishment (very speculative and probably not the main reason for the fragmentary status).

It seems that since the baroque suite whose typical dance movements have all different signatures (like allemande 4/4 courante 6/4 sarabande 3/4, minuet 3/4 Gigue 6/8 etc.) most composers went for some variety in multi-movement works. And it seems to me that in the 18th and 19th century 3/4 was often seen as more closely associated with some dances but duple time more "neutral" and therefore there are more multimovement works with all duple time.