Musical drama of sonata allegro and its study in piano lessons
In the musical and performing development of high school students, a special place is occupied by work on large-scale works. Already in grades 3-4, on the basis of sonatine literature (Mozart, Beethoven, Clementi, Düssek, Diabelli, Kulau), students are preparing for the upcoming study of the Viennese classics sonatas. The paramount place in the development of students is given to the work on the sonata allegro of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, which are the basis for the formation of large-scale musical thinking, so necessary in the further performance of all parts of the cyclic sonata form.The tasks facing the student in learning sonata allegro are aimed at understanding both the structural and dynamic sides of the musical form. If in the fifth grade a student is only very generally oriented in these connections, then later for him the moments of the subordination of formative means with the integral line of development of musical thought are more fully revealed. Indeed, the shortcomings in the interpretation of sonata allegro are most often associated with the fact that the student, with great attention and even penetratingly performing certain sections of the form, often loses the feeling of a through line of horizontal development. And this, in turn, leads to the appearance of tempo-rhythmic instability, technical errors, unjustified dynamic nuances.
Already at the initial acquaintance with sonata allegro, its three-part structure (exposition, development, reprise) is first musically comprehended, then the contours and figurative characteristics of the main parts (main, secondary and final) gradually emerge. In work on the sonata allegro of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, the student is more and more involved in the knowledge of the complex relationships occurring in their thematic material. These connections are largely due to various combinations of the phenomena of contrast, unity and intensity of development in the figurative system of works. Speaking of contrast, it should be borne in mind its wide creative expression in the musical language of sonata allegro.
The principle of contrast underlying sonata allegro affects the perception and assimilation of this form by the student. When reading the text, his attention is primarily aimed at understanding the figurative contrast between large episodes of the work. However, when learning the greatest difficulty is performing the identification of contrast in close sections of the work. It requires the speed of the student’s auditory response to frequent changes in imaginative states in the music, prompting him to choose the appropriate sound solutions.
For example, already in the initial four-measure of the main part of Beethoven’s twentieth sonata, it becomes necessary to dynamically separate the first beat from the next three. Even before the performance begins, there should be a feeling of “inspiration”, preceding a deep immersion of the hand in a fully chord. The continuation of its sound will be a clearly pronounced melody trioli. After the final “salt” of this melody, the student joins in another musical and psychological atmosphere – a transparent-sounding duet and legato.
A more frequent restructuring of expressive and pianistic means can be seen in the work on the first part of Mozart’s Sonatina No. 6. The frequency of switching to new musical-semantic states and, accordingly, to new methods of sound production is suggested by a change in textured presentation. These shifts in the main part occur in groups of measures: 2 + 4 + 3 + 4 + 4 + 2 + 3. In the interpretation of the main part, the student’s attention should be focused on the contrast of the dynamics of short constructions, on the difference in rhythm-intonation and articulation color, while maintaining the line of the through development of musical material.
In the main part of the exposition of Mozart’s twelfth sonata, each of the two elements of contrast is directly felt. In the first build (measures 1-12), melodiousness, a tendency to enlarge melodies prevail. In the second (measures 13-22), the severity of the rhythm in the dance-like melodic figures should be shown.
An example of the vivid contrast of sound and performing means is the main part of Beethoven’s fifth sonata. In it, the inconsistency of the small size of the significance and contrast of the thematic material is felt. In the initial eight-stroke, sharply opposed figurative states are twice shifted. The energetic, strong-willed principle is predominant here. It is expressed by the saturated sound of chords, turning into harmonic figures (measures 1-3, 5-7). The lyrical element gradually leads to a dramatic-sounding four-measure (bars 13-16). In the performance of this episode, it is necessary to shade the tense sounds of syncopated octaves in the melody. The state of excitement passes to a tortuous triol pattern of rhythm-intonation tension, fixing images of the initial eight-stroke, enhanced by dynamic saturation.
The phenomena of figurative contrast appear when comparing the side party with the main one. But at the same time, they also feature the unity of the expressive means of music.