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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: September 2011

3 - Music theory and the musicological imagination


Harmony and hermeneutics

The first movement of the Piano Sonata in B♭ Major (D. 960) is one of the most analyzed movements in Schubert’s instrumental repertoire. Its fascinating array of keys and special effects has inspired both technical and narrative analytical accounts, as well as drawn scholars to the sketches in order to seek solutions to analytical problems. It was even used recently as a case study to test a new theoretical paradigm.

The main aspects of the movement that have drawn attention are: the trill in measure 8; the ABA′ structure of the first thematic area, whose mid-section is in the remote key of G♭ major; the move to F♯ minor for the secondary theme (or thematic transition, as some have labeled it); the entry of C♯ minor at the beginning of the development; the preemptive return of the first thematic material at the end of the development in another miniature ABA′ structure (supported by D minor, B♭ major, and D minor); and the recomposition of the first thematic material in the recapitulation.