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Opus 33 Number 1 in B minor - Analysis

            Haydn's string quartet, Opus 33 Number 1 in B minor, is a shining example of a composer deviating from what the audience expects and stretching the limits to create beautiful, lasting art. The listener expects certain aspects of Sonata form and through his use of subtle changes to this expected form; there is a strong break from convention.
             As one would typically come to expect from Sonata form, we have three main portions. The exposition (mm. 1-37), the development (mm. 38-58), and the recapitulation (mm. 59-fin) make up the entire 1st movement. We will begin with the exposition.
             Typically, an exposition in sonata form will be made up of 2 themes separated by a transitional section (traditionally drives to the cadence of the MC), ending with coda material. The exposition also contains the Medial Cesura as well as the Essential Expositional Closure. The transition between themes in a minor sonata usually modulates to the median key area. .
             At the very beginning of the piece, Haydn gives us a taste of what is to come. He plays with the tonality and has us question whether or not we are in b minor of D Major through his use of ambiguous harmonies such as the cello's playing A naturals against the violas' A sharps in mm. 3 and 7. He has the listener anxiously wondering which is the home key until we cadence in b minor at measure 11. Conventionally the beginning of the 2nd theme is marked by the Medial Cesura, which is placed at the end of the transition. The MC is usually marked by a half cadence or V chord. This is done to give clear definition to the beginning of the 2nd theme and the end of the 1st. However, here is another place we really see Haydn play with our expectations. Haydn rather than giving a clear new theme in mm. 18 simply restates the original theme in the relative major (D Major). He stays in this relative major and ends the Exposition with unambiguous D Major chord progressions eventually finishing with a strong PAC in D.

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