Beethoven Stems 2

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John Ruggero
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Beethoven Stems 2

Post by John Ruggero » 05 May 2019, 22:28

Another example from the Sonata op 28 last movement shows Beethoven's poetic use of stemming. When the left hand motive starts the piece, the stems are all up as befits a forthright beginning.
Beethoven Stems 2.jpeg
Beethoven Stems 2.jpeg (111.38 KiB) Viewed 204 times
But when the Rondo theme returns after a titanic explosion, the motive creeps in sheepishly with its stems down! However the following immediate repetitions are back to stems up, since there is no longer a justification for the downward stems.
Beethoven Stems 3.jpeg
Beethoven Stems 3.jpeg (156.67 KiB) Viewed 204 times
And when later in the piece. the explosion occurs again, once again the motive appears at first with its stems down but then changes back immediately. Note stemming of the right hand scale ending on the low ff A with its stem resolutely down to show its great depth below the rest of the texture.
Beethoven Stems 4.jpeg
Beethoven Stems 4.jpeg (119.83 KiB) Viewed 204 times
Beethoven often seems to be using stem direction to show that one thing is "under" another, and also how things interact with each other over large spans of music.
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