Title

Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice: Interpreting Beethoven's Sonata No. 17, "The Tempest"

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

Classical musicians generally believe that that an interpretation informed by theoretical analysis will result in a deeper understanding of the work and therefore a more moving performance. Many theoretical models however, use highly specialized and abstract terminology, and few musicians learn them to the degree that they may prove useful in a performer’s interpretation of a work. Thus there is a gap between theory and practice. The purpose of this research is to provide a straightforward method of analysis that aids a performer first in understanding how a piece of music ‘works’ structurally and then offers a practical way of attaching meaning to the analysis so as to fully realize a work’s affective potential in performance. Drawing upon theoretical models developed by Leonard B. Meyer, Edward T. Cone, and Gregory Karl, I analyze Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 17 (The Tempest,” so named for its dramatic similarities to Shakespeare’s play). Then, through a discussion of listener expectations and musicological components such as the historical setting of the work’s composition, I show expressive possibilities for a performer to apply this analysis. I hope this will provide a pedagogical model for how teachers might explore and deal with theoretical musical elements in plain language with reference to real human experience so that performers might arrive at a meaningful, communicative realization of a work.

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Apr 12th, 2:00 PM Apr 12th, 2:20 PM

Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice: Interpreting Beethoven's Sonata No. 17, "The Tempest"

UC 332

Classical musicians generally believe that that an interpretation informed by theoretical analysis will result in a deeper understanding of the work and therefore a more moving performance. Many theoretical models however, use highly specialized and abstract terminology, and few musicians learn them to the degree that they may prove useful in a performer’s interpretation of a work. Thus there is a gap between theory and practice. The purpose of this research is to provide a straightforward method of analysis that aids a performer first in understanding how a piece of music ‘works’ structurally and then offers a practical way of attaching meaning to the analysis so as to fully realize a work’s affective potential in performance. Drawing upon theoretical models developed by Leonard B. Meyer, Edward T. Cone, and Gregory Karl, I analyze Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 17 (The Tempest,” so named for its dramatic similarities to Shakespeare’s play). Then, through a discussion of listener expectations and musicological components such as the historical setting of the work’s composition, I show expressive possibilities for a performer to apply this analysis. I hope this will provide a pedagogical model for how teachers might explore and deal with theoretical musical elements in plain language with reference to real human experience so that performers might arrive at a meaningful, communicative realization of a work.