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Thread: How to define a movement in Baroque music?

  1. #1
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    Default How to define a movement in Baroque music?

    I always see a very short section in Baroque music. For example the picture below, which is from Corelli's trio sonata OP1, No9. That 4 bars music already looks like a movement for me, since it starts with D major, then it ends with V-I perfect cadence in G major.

    Then I saw Stanford University put it in movement 2.
    http://wiki.ccarh.org/wiki/MuseData:...es_by_movement

    And this recording put it in movement 1.
    https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/d...c=W7790_204142

    So, I am just wondering if there is a strict definition on how to define a movement?

    Because I might probably give that 4 bars Adagio an independent movement.

    movement.PNG

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    Looks like my question is too difficult to answer...
    Never mind, I will forget it and enjoy the music.

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    this might be better recieved in the music theory section. I for one have not tackled much of the Baroque Period of Music Theory yet... but your post has have me wonder.

    Though, i do know much of the music has various tempo shifts. Usually are in the same movement. I think it is just what calls for the specific movement, since the chords used wouldn't fit in the tempo of the movement. When this happens they usually point out I: Adagio - Allegro or similar. Sometimes they will leave out the Adagio part in the title and state I: Allegro.

    Usually movements are defined by the composers themselves, since specific qualities can be found through melodies in various tempos

    Adagio is expressive. While Allegro is fast.
    So for the first four measures which are repeated, they are to be played expressively. after that then the performers play them fast.

    I have written a few that are quite varied in time signatures. One of my compositions has 7 shifts... (which has a more contemporary title.) but goes
    Presto - Adagio - Adante - Presto - Allegro - Andante Retardo Lento - Presto Subato Grave Accelerando Presto
    for the most part. It is a wacky one... but the next movement is the same composition all in Adagio

    So it depends on the composer for the placement. Regarding the original where they have it in the different movements boggles me... i will have to listen to both. Since they placement can effect the way people interprit it. :3

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    This thread would make more sense in the Theory Forum. Nevertheless:

    An opening slow movement, sometimes very short, was normal in the old sonata da chiesa (church sonata) genre, whose standard pattern of movements was slow-fast-slow-fast. These usually had organ as the keyboard instrument. Four measures is unusually short. Often the first two movements were intended to be performed without a break.

    Sonatas da camera (chamber sonatas) usually were three movements in the order fast-slow-fast. Sometimes the slow movement was extremely short, especially early on, in the 17thc.

    Both patterns persisted into the classical era. CPE Bach has examples of both. Some of his opening slow movements are more like introductions, in that they don't come to a final cadence, but instead end on the dominant, as in the Sonata in D Minor, W.65/24.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    This thread would make more sense in the Theory Forum.
    I've moved it.

    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    Four measures is unusually short. Often the first two movements were intended to be performed without a break.
    Um.. Brandenberg 3 BWV 1048 - the second movement consists of a single measure with the two chords that make up a 'Phrygian half cadence. If Bach can do it ....

    Also you have the dance patterns in various suites, where each dance makes up a movement, although this is more usually a keyboard form.
    Music begins where words leave off. Music expresses the inexpressible.

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    well, never take Wikipedia too seriously....

    like Taggart says, not all the longer baroque works had "movements". the dance suites were collections of dances, and that was the standard for all instrumental suites. When composers did something different, it was to break the expectations of the standard dance suite

    For me as a player, I keep a real simple definition of a "movement": In the published music, the start of a new movement is usually pretty easy to spot...generally the time feel changes and they actually print something like "II" or "III" on the paper to show you that it is a new movement. In performance, you come to a full stop and let the dust settle before you go on to the next movement, so its pretty hard to miss

    Don't get to "fine a grain" in determining movement boundaries. these are big pieces of time and generally there is a real change in feel from 4/4 to 3/4 or a big change in tempo. In your example, I would play that "first movement" right onto the next and I doubt you would hear that as a new "movement" if I was playing it for you because the tempo and time signature does not change.

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    actually, when I look closely at your example, the tempo does change there, from adagio to allegro, but that isn't unheard of. The prelude/presto in Bach's E major lute suite changes tempo right in the middle and I've seen that in fantasias and other preludes, too.

    I think Edward is right. That section is a short introduction

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nate Miller View Post
    actually, when I look closely at your example, the tempo does change there, from adagio to allegro, but that isn't unheard of. The prelude/presto in Bach's E major lute suite changes tempo right in the middle and I've seen that in fantasias and other preludes, too.

    I think Edward is right. That section is a short introduction
    Actually, I'm agnostic on that. Because of the way the standard sonata schemas are described, some would count something very short like the OP example as a movement, even though to most of us it sounds like a brief introduction to a fast movement.

    Is the OP example from a sonata da chiesa? If so, many would likely regard those four measures as a movement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post

    Is the OP example from a sonata da chiesa? If so, many would likely regard those four measures as a movement.
    yes, I can see that. The brevity of that section makes it hard for me to call it a movement, and that's sounds like the same feeling you have.

    as long as this isn't a question on a midterm exam, I'm calling it an intro

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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    Is the OP example from a sonata da chiesa? If so, many would likely regard those four measures as a movement.
    Yes, it is from sonata da chiesa. Corelli's OP1 and 3 are sonata da chiesa, while his OP2 and 4 are sonata da camera.
    Last edited by athrun200; Mar-04-2018 at 06:15.

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    Since this post starts to get some attention now, I would like to share my own interpretation of this work, sonata da chiesa OP1, No9. I have attached the full No9 with some of my marking, you can refer to the score anytime you want. (4 pages in total)

    Let's begin with the first movement, which I found the most interesting. You can see for the first nine bars (I circled it with blue), the bass keep holding the note G. The music up to here is still some arpeggios, the direction is still not clear yet. Then, the time signature changes suddenly from 4/4, to 3/4, entering a new section (indicated by an open red bracket). Yet, the tempos for these 2 sections are the same, Allegro. After some bass progress, we quickly come to the end of this section (closed red bracket) with a half cadence. Therefore, the audience would anticipate something more coming. Here we are! The opening material comes back here, but this time with the bass note holding in D, the dominant of G, and the time signature change back to 4/4. Since the bass D note is held for so long, my ears somehow perceive it as D major key already. That's why I think mvt1 ends here.
    OP9_Page_1_mvt1.jpg

    Let's look at the second page now. The beginning 4-bars little piece is the main discussion topic of this post. It starts with a D major chord. It seems it starts with D major key. However, the note C sharp never appear throughout the 4 bars. Therefore, I perceive it as G major key, and it ends nicely with perfect cadence after 4 bars. For me, this piece functions as a transition from the previous movement to the next movement, bridging the previous D major chord to the G major chord in the next movement. Nevertheless, I will still call this 4-bars section mvt2. Since the musical materials from this 4 bars are not reused in anywhere else.
    Then comes the start of mvt3 (blue open bracket). It has the same time signature but different tempo with mvt2. There's nothing special about this movement, so I will just briefly talk about the opening chord and ending chord. It starts with the tonic chord in G major and ends with perfect cadence (Please refer to next page for the ending of this movement).
    OP9_Page_2_mvt2_3.jpg

    After the end of the previous movement, the time signature and tempo changed to 3/2 and Adagio respectively. It is very clear that it is a new movement, mvt4, starting from the green bracket. This movement starts with a relative minor key but ends on G major key.
    OP9_Page_3_MVT4.jpg

    Movement 5, Allegro. This movement contains what Capeditiea mentioned as tempo shifts. After several tempo shifts, it comes to near the end of this movement, where the first repeat sign for this movement appears. The chord just before that repeat sign is a V in the key of G major. So, it doesn't end yet. Again, there's a 4-bars little section towards the end. Although this 4-bars section is very similar to that of mvt2, I will say the 4-bars little section is just the ending of mvt5.
    If you compare this 4-bars little section with the previous 4-bars section in which I called mvt2, you will notice that one has a repeat sign and one without it. It is also one of the reasons why I think the 4-bars section after mvt1 is a new movement. The repeat sign during Baroque period means: improvise upon the second time playing it. To me, this is an indication that Corelli treats this 4 bars seriously, making it more likely to be a separate movement instead of attaching to either the movements before or after.
    OP9_Page_4_MVT5.jpg

    Of course, these are all my own interpretation. Discussions on any of the points mentioned are welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by Taggart View Post
    ]Um.. Brandenberg 3 BWV 1048 - the second movement consists of a single measure with the two chords that make up a 'Phrygian half cadence. If Bach can do it ....
    Thanks! I will definitely check this out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nate Miller View Post
    these are big pieces of time and generally there is a real change in feel from 4/4 to 3/4 or a big change in tempo. In your example, I would play that "first movement" right onto the next and I doubt you would hear that as a new "movement" if I was playing it for you because the tempo and time signature does not change.
    I think movement 1 on page 1 of my attachment can serve as a counter example to your time signature point. Even there's a change in time signature between the contrasting sections, the they are still within movement 1.

    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    Actually, I'm agnostic on that. Because of the way the standard sonata schemas are described
    Would you mind to elaborate more on the standard sonata schemas part? What does the 4-bars piece lack in terms of the sonata schemas that you mentioned?

    This piece by Corelli is by far the most interesting Baroque work I have ever heard of.

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