Beethoven’s Division of the Notes Between the Staves 3

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John Ruggero
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Beethoven’s Division of the Notes Between the Staves 3

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The following example from the second movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata op. 10 no. 3 shows just how seriously he took the distribution of the notes on the staves. In the first example the melody is isolated on the upper staff, suggesting the strong stratification of melody and accompaniment that is essential to avoid muddiness. At the arrow, he keeps the accompaniment on the bass staff even where it requires ledger lines!
op 10 no 3.2 ex 1.jpeg
op 10 no 3.2 ex 1.jpeg (62.59 KiB) Viewed 1095 times
When the passage recurs, however, he suddenly shifts the alto voice to the upper staff because it now must continue on that staff climbing higher and higher in the measures that follow:
op 10 no 3.2 ex 2.jpeg
op 10 no 3.2 ex 2.jpeg (130.27 KiB) Viewed 1095 times
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