Online Journal

Key: A major
99 bars

Bar What Happens Comment
1-4 Subject based on tonic chord only. The subject is built entirely on the notes of an A major chord. There is no attempt to introduce any other harmony – Shostakovich is deliberately frustrating the ‘expectant’ ear
5-8 RH countersubject. LH real answer in dominant. The countersubject and subject interlock rhythmically so there is a note on every quaver of the bar, forming perpetuum mobile figuration. Like the subject, the countersubject is built entirely on the notes of the dominant chord (E major).
9-10 Episode, which takes the music from E major (IV), through a D major (V)/A major (I) cycle. Again, Shostakovich is frustrating the ear by using an A major chord to precede the subject’s tonic entry at bar 11, rather than by setting up a dominant.
11-14 RH (treble) counterpoint, hovering around C-sharp and A. Middle part (alto) countersubject in LH (bass) subject in tonic.  
15-20 Episodic material, remaining diatonic, and moving through repetitions of E major and b minor until This music is thematically related to the subject but does not form part of its tonal argument.
19 A major and b minor  
20 A major/E major progression (twice) preparing for an entry of the subject in the Chordally, this is the same as an imperfect cadence (I-V-VI), and, despite that one might have expected a new entry in the tonic, he goes to
21 relative minor (f-sharp). the submediant minor.
25-28 C-sharp minor: Modified subject in treble, similarly modified countersubject (CS) in bass. Note how the rhythmic figuration of the countersubject in the alto is compacted from the original subject; similarly, the bass line is a compaction of the original countersubject.
29-32 Bicinium (until bar 51). RH ‘link phrase’; its rhythm and shape come from the original subject. LH single-line accompaniment, based on original countersubject.  
33-36 Repeat of bars 11-14 without soprano, in the tonic key. Again, Shostakovich prepares the A major entry with a tonic chord in the preceding beat rather than using a dominant
37-40 RH tonal answer in dominant. LH countersubject.  
41-42 As bars 29-30, but a sixth lower.  
43-44 Derived from bars 31-32, but chromatically altered to modulate into F major.  
45-46 Episodic material establishing F major.  
47-50 Subject in F major, beginning in LH on beat 1, but continued in RH at beat 3.  
51-54 Treble: Counterpoint; Alto: Countersubject in B-flat major (IV of F major); Bass (new entry): Real answer in B-flat major.  
55-57 Episode in E-flat major. Rising figuration increases sense of excitement, taking the harmony through
58 C minor/major a juxtaposition of major and minor modes that play on chordal relationships.
59-60 Chromatic reinforcement of E-flat major.  
61 Enharmonic change: D-flat major is the flattened leading note of E-flat major. C# major is the dominant of f-sharp minor, which is the relative minor of A major.  
62-69 Subject and episode over dominant pedal point.  
67 More chromatic oscillation between chords (see also 58): E major, e minor, C major…  
70 …A major. Imitative (quasi-canonic) subject entries at the octave  
72 RH modified subject, moved up the triad by an inversion  
76 Bass: Subject in D, truncated. Almost a stretto
79 Treble: Subject in A major  
83 -88 Episodic writing. C major 1st inversion…A major…C-sharp major…F-sharp major/minor  
89-90  Note unprecedented alto crotchet movement  
90-91  Implied cadence into E major  
91-92 …and back to A major  
93 Crotchets return (as in 89-90), over brief dominant pedal  
94-95 Repetition to flag ending: repeat of 92-93  
96-99 Diatonic, triadic A major ending.  

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