Pastorale in C (1815), Biamonti 622

Pastorale in C (1815), Biamonti 622
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Author: Willem
Length: 0:23
Pastorale in C, Biamonti 622.

Though little and insignificant this short jotting from the Scheide-sketchbook (1816) may appear, it does illustrate an important principle, rediscovered only late in the 20th century. The principle is that a composer can create new possibilities by doing less.

The first 4 bars are harmonized with drones on C-G, that's to say, C(I). At the fifth bar the melody reaches a high A, which requires a change of harmony: C(IV). This change of harmony seems to be the central point of the inspiration. Because of the static harmony in the first four bars, the delayed change of harmony works the more strongly when it does occur. In music with a normal level of harmonic activity, this I - IV progression would hardly be noticed at all.

This principle seems to have a parallel in soccer, where it is known as temporization. By playing more slowly, a team creates the possibilty for a sudden quickening of the pace, thus surprising the other team's defense.

Beethoven was well aware of this principle, and many examples of it can be found in his works. Reproduced here by kind permission of Mr. William Scheide.

Biamonti: 622

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