Mode Mixture and Tonal Relations in Beethoven’s Late String Quartets

Iyad Mohammad

Abstract


.The research analyzes the late string quartets of Beethoven and describes, through the lens of late style, the innovative tonal relations derived directly or indirectly from the principles of mode mixture. To achieve this aim a complex method of systematic tonal, harmonic, formal, and stylistic analyses is undertaken, with special focus on inner- and inter-movement tonal relations. Harmonic analysis in conducted with special attention to its connection to other aspects of musical composition, mainly polyphonic technique and formal structure. The field of examination consists of Beethoven’s last six string quartets Op. 127, 130, 131, 132, 133, 135.
Beethoven’s late string quartets exhibit a wide range of tonal relations, be it within a single movement or between the movements a quartet as a whole. These relations spread from traditional tonic-dominant relations, across tonic- mediant and submediant relations, and leading to relation of the tonic to the lowered sixth, the lowered seventh, the lowered third, and the Neapolitan lowered second degrees

Keywords


Beethoven; String quartet; Late style; Harmony; Tonal relations; Mode mixture

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