MUSICTEACHERS.CO.UK VOLUME 2 ISSUE 8, FEBRUARY 2001  
Online Journal

ANALYSIS

Movement 1

Andante grazioso
Key: A major
Structure: Theme and six variations (with coda added to the sixth)

Variation / Bar What Happens Comment
Theme 1-4 The main motif, ending (with an imperfect cadence) on a dominant chord of E major.  
5-8 A repeat of the previous phrase, which deviates in bar 7 to bring the phrase to a close with a perfect cadence in A major. The melody is presented prior to variation development in its simplest form. This first section is divided into two short phrases which form a classic antecedant - consequent pair.
9-12 RH develops the dotted idea from bar 1.  
13-16 Repeat of bars 5-8 with a slight change of cadence in bar 16 to finish on a softer, feminine perfect cadence.  

17-18
A two-bar extension of the previous phrase; the melodic shape of bar 15 is repeated up a third, closing with a stronger perfect cadence in the tonic A major.  
I / 1-4 The theme is decorated in the RH with mostly semitonal appoggiaturas. The LH fills in with sparse chords outlining the harmony, which is the same as in the original theme.  
I / 5-8 The character is suddenly changed with a switch from piano to a bold forte. The RH outlines the rising thirds of the original, but with appoggiaturas on the fourth quaver of bars 5 and 6. The texture suddenly thickens; the LH semiquaver pulse and the sudden change in dynamics heightens the dramatic effect. The immediate change from p to f was seen originally only at the end of the theme in bar 17-18. The rhythmic drive of the semiquavers in the RH in the previous four bars is maintained by the LH here. Decoration is added on a smaller scale by features such as the trill in the RH in bar 7.
I / 9-18 The same development techniques used in bars 1-4 are used until bar 17, where the texture reverts to that of bars 5-8.  
II / 1-4 The RH again outlines the shape of the theme, decorating it with trills and joining up the falling perfect fourths between successive bars of the original with scalic demi-semiquavers. The original legato of the theme is broken up by staccato articulation. Whereas in Variation I the semiquaver momentum started first in the RH before transferring to the LH, the opposite occurs here, and the semiquavers are played as triplets, making for a busier texture. This is increased by the use of RH trills.
II / 5-8 As in Variation I there is a sudden increase in dynamics. The semiquaver triplets are taken over by the RH in falling arpeggio figurations that clearly spell out the harmonic progressions. The LH punctuates this with rising octave leaps; acciaccaturas are used to further liven the texture.  
II / 9-18 The music uses the same developmental techniques (as in bars 1-4) until bars 17-18, where the RH arpeggiation from bars 5-8 returns.  
III / 1-4 The key changes from A major to a minor and the LH takes up an Alberti-style figuration. The RH initially plays a flowing line that moves mostly by step, outlining the original theme in shape, based on the notes on quavers 1 and 4 in each bar. Bars 3-4 wander somewhat from the original theme, but retain the same overall harmonic movement; however, slight changes can be observed such as the absence of an F in the harmony at the start of bar 3 and the lack of chord IV on the third quaver of the following bar. The key change to a plaintive minor provides an effective change of atmosphere and mood. Whereas the third bar of the original theme contained an F-sharp in the bass and an E in the inner part, this harmony cannot be replicated here in a minor version since F natural against E would sound distastefully dissonant.
III / 5-8 A repeat of bars 1-4, modified to retain the original harmonic scheme, leading back to the tonic. The RH interest is increased by its playing in octaves instead of as a single line. This is the first time that the theme has been explored in an octave other than the original.
III / 9-12 The RH more vaguely imitates the shape of the theme. The RH in bars 9-10 (and LH in bar 10) often alternates between a note and its immediate neighbour. The harmonic scheme sees some subtle changes, such as the transient hint of a move to d minor produced by the C-sharp in the LH at bar 9.3. Also, in the second half of bar 11, the expected dominant seventh harmony is replaced by a diminished seventh. The imperfect cadence in bar 12 is altered so that the dominant chord is approached chromatically from a diminished seventh based on D-sharp. The extended alternation between a note and its neighbour is a development of the same feature in the very opening of the theme, where the melody starts on C-sharp, rises to D and returns to the C-sharp.
III / 13-18 Repeat of bars 5-8 with the RH octaves removed. They are replaced for the affirming phrase in bars 17-18.  
IV / 1-8 A return to A major. The LH crosses over the RH to double it an octave higher, the rising and falling thirds outlining the theme’s shape. The bass notes point out the shifts in harmony, which is the same as the original apart from in bars 3 and 7, where the rising VI-VII-I bass line is replaced by simpler tonic and dominant chords. Also, the expected chord IV at bar 4.3, is omitted. As in Variations I and II the is a sudden change from p to f at bar 5. The use of a bass note only on the change of harmony creates the illusion of a slower harmonic pace. Together with the gentle rising and falling thirds, this gives the variation a graceful poise.
IV / 9-12 The semiquaver movement is taken up by the LH, with the melody in the RH. Chromatic appoggiaturas are added at the mid-point of bars 9 and 10. At bar 11, the RH develops the falling shapes of the original, using falling scales instead of arpeggio-type figures. The use of sforzando in bar 11 occurs here for the first time since the theme.
IV / 13-18 Repeat of the same ideas as in bars 1-8. The variation finishes with a pause, intended to set the mood for the change of tempo in the more introspective adagio that follows.
V / 1-4 The tempo slows to an adagio and the LH takes up a gently-flowing Alberti bass. The RH applies appoggiaturas to the harmony note on the fourth quaver of bars 1 and 2, continuing with the same idea in bar 3. The falling scale at the end of the bar had been used previously in Variation II. In bar 4, each quaver beat is decorated with a turn. Appoggiaturas have been used in bars 1 and 2 of Variation I, but there they approached the harmony note chromatically from below. The extensive use of turns and appoggiaturas shows this to be the most intricately-decorated version of the melody.
V / 5-8 The RH slides chromatically through the characteristic rise of a minor third. The rising scales in the RH in bars 5 and 6, and the repeated notes in bar 7, provide an aria-like quality. The variation is permeated throughout with a vocalise feel through the RH decorations (consider that traditionally, singers used ornaments and embellishments in Da Capo arias). Vocal characteristics can be found elsewhere in Mozart’s instrumental music; for example the slow movement of his piano concerto in A (K488).
V / 9-12 In the first two bars, the RH makes passing reference to the shape of the theme through the E at 9.1, the F-sharp at 9.5 and the E at 10.5. This outline is interpolated with an exploration of wider intervals; notice how bar 9 falls through a fifth, rises a sixth and plummets through a tenth before dashing up through a two-octave D major scale. G-naturals in bars 9 and 10 show a transient modulation to D major. Another harmonic change is the third quaver of bar 12, where the expected D-sharp-based chord (usually in the context of a chord VII in E major) is replaced by a simple A major tonic chord. This is the first time this harmony has been substantially changed.
Bars 11-12 create a forward momentum by condensing the distance between the falling figures from a dotted crotchet in bar 11 to a quaver at the start of bar 12.
 
V / 13-16 Basically, this is a repeat of bars 1-2 followed by 7-8. The falling appoggiaturas on the fourth quaver of bars 13 and 14 are answered by rising chromatic ones an octave higher.  
V / 17-18 A brisk flourish in bar 17 subsides to close the variation in bar 18. Bar 17 starts with the RH weaving decorations around the rising third of the original theme, before flying up an A major scale. The peak of the phrase is in bar 18, with an octave leap onto E followed by falling arpeggios, bringing the music to close at the same pitch as the original theme. Mozart has made a feature of rising scales in this variation (bars 5, 6, 10 and 17). A pause at the end of the variation prepares the next tempo change for the last variation.
VI / 1-4 The time signature changes to common . In bars 1 and 2, the RH uses appoggiaturas in a similar fashion to Variation V and adds acciaccaturas. Bar 3 drives the phrase onward with offbeat chromatically-rising quavers.  
VI / 5-8 A sudden change of dynamics and texture, similar to Variations I, II and V (Variation IV only changed the dynamic level). The RH’s bravura semiquavers are punctuated by thicker LH spread chords. The LH changes to quavers in the next two bars, which combine with the quickening of harmonic pace to bring the section to an emphatic close.  
VI / 9-12 The RH in bars 9 and 10 is reminiscent of the equivalent passage in variation III. The textures used are similar to those in bars 1-8, but the pattern has been condensed into four bars instead of eight.
VI / 13-16 Modified repeat of bars 1-2 with acciaccaturas added to the offbeat RH quavers in bars 15-16  
VI / 17-18 Another sudden change from p to f accompanies bustling semiquaver arpeggiations in both hands. In the second time bar, the perfect cadence does not conclude the music, with a rising A major scale propelling it into the coda.  
VI-Coda / 19-20 The coda starts in a similar way to bars 9-10 of this variation, but rapidly moves on to new material which starts the approach to the end of the piece. On beat three of bar 20 the RH begins a decorated falling scalic motion from E (the dominant)  
21-26 down to B, a phrase which is repeated from 22.3 with the turns played as semiquavers. This time the RH reaches the tonic A. The accompanying progression from 20.3-24 is I-IIb-Ic-VIIc-Ib-IIb-Ic-V-I. This perfect cadence is not emphatic enough to end the piece, so two powerful ones are added with block-chords in both hands.  


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