Title

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

Presentation Type

Presentation

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

James Randall

Faculty Mentor’s Department

Music

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.