Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Phase Outline for the Beethoven Piano Sonata Analysis Project

I thought it might be a good idea to track for you my progress, though it also provides a great benefit to myself. By doing this I can let you in on how the progress is coming along as well as provide some accountability and motivation to actually complete the project (not to mention the benefits of writing out an actual plan of action and keeping in mind how far you've come and how far you have to go).

I figured I should go ahead and detail what I have planned so far in respect to the first few phases.

Phase I consists of doing a sort of introduction to the the first movement of each sonata, listening through it, noticing various formal and harmonic aspects, reading material on the sonata, writing a summary, and preparing a formal diagram. So far I have fully completed 10 of 32 sonatas in Phase I, another 7 are partially completed, leaving 15 that have yet to receive any completion. All in all, I'm about half of the way through Phase I.

Phase II will consist of doing a detailed harmonic analysis on actual paper copy and creating diagrams of the more general tonal areas and interesting harmonic aspects of the first movement. I have completed one of these. These are, understandably, the most time-consuming. Though the one I did complete was a fairly modest and straight-forward movement, it still took me three to four hours to write out the harmonic analysis. Needless to say, this phase will take the most discipline to complete.

Phase III will continue by focusing on the final movement of each sonata. This will be fairly similar to Phase I but with the final movement as the subject. I will listen through, identify harmonic and formal aspects, read associated materials, write a summary of the movement, and prepare diagrams of the formal analysis.

Having said all that, I have to confess that I do feel like I've made fairly decent progress; however, Phase I still has a way to go. And once I've reached this milestone, there will be still be much more before I start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.


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