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Modulation

in
Classical Music
From piano to string quartets
by
Jaime Kardontchik
3rd edition - November 2016

2016 Jaime E Kardontchik. This is an open-access book distributed under the terms of the
Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial - No Derivatives 4.0 License, which
permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided the
original author and source are credited.

1
Preface

The previous editions of Modulation in Classical Music used only examples taken from
piano works. The 3rd edition adds the analysis of string quartets, with detailed examples
taken from string quartets by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. From 100 pages the new
edition grew up to 162 pages. Clearly, I could not issue the new book as a mere 3rd
edition. Hence, the new added subtitle: Modulation in classical music From piano to
string quartets.

The material included in the previous editions remained practically unchanged, except
that I added a section on the augmented triad and I modified the treatment of the
Neapolitan chord. Readers of my previous editions raised two main objections: the first
one, that I had clumsily hidden the use of the Neapolitan chord in an example of a
Beethovens sonata in Chapter 1 (Figure 1.34) only to reveal later in Chapter 2 that it
was indeed a Neapolitan chord. I corrected this in the new edition. The second objection
was the naming itself: some readers preferred to call it the German 6th. I added a
comment on nomenclature in Chapter 2, during the treatment of the Neapolitan chord.

Note for teachers interested in using the book as a textbook or as supplementary


reading: The book is highly modular. If you are short on time you can choose to skip
either Chapter 2 (piano) or Chapter 3 (string quartets). If you do not like Python you can
skip Chapter 4, and consider my use of the statements chords and keys as a short-
hand to avoid drawing full music staffs. However, the computer-generated graphs will
still give the students a birds eye view of the overall modulation architecture of the
piece. Looked at as a textbook, I considered the inclusion of full-solutions to all the
examples as a must: The solutions can be found in the Appendices to Chapter 2 and
Chapter 3.

Finally a note about style: You might find Chapter 3 (string quartets) as highly verbose
and with many explicative additional notes. Piano staff is easier to read, because
usually one staff carries the melody and the other the accompaniment. In a classical
string quartet you have four equally-important players and this makes the writing and
the reading of a string quartet score more challenging to the student.

November 2016

2
Contents

Chapter 1: The theory


Abstract 5

Introduction 6

The grammar of classical music 7

1.1 The major keys 7


th
1.2 The 7 chord 11
1.3 Creating expectations 14
1.4 The minor keys 17
th
1.5 The 7 chord for minor keys 20
th
1.6 The 9 chord 21
1.7 A detailed example of chords and modulations: A Haydn sonata 23
1.8 Additional items in the toolbox of the musician 30

Chapter 2: The practice piano works

Abstract 38

Introduction 39

2.1 My first assignment 39


2.2 Scarlatti Sonata in F minor K. 481 42
2.3 Bach, Well Tempered Clavier, book 1, Prelude No 5 44
2.4 Bach, Well Tempered Clavier, book 2, Prelude No 1 45
2.5 Haydn, Sonata in D Major, Hob XVI, No 37 47
2.6 Haydn, Sonata in E flat Major, Hob XVI, No 52 48
2.7 Mozart, Sonata in F Major, K. 332 The Neapolitan chord 49
2.8 Mozart, Sonata in G Major, K. 283 54
2.9 Beethoven, Sonata in F# Major, No 24 Op 78 56
2.10 Beethoven, Sonata in E Major, No 30, Op 109 57
2.11 The augmented triad 61
2.12 An intriguing puzzle in Beethovens Sonata No 31, Op 110 65

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2.13 Conclusion 72
2.14 Appendix: All the chords and all the keys 73

Chapter 3: The practice string quartets

Abstract 105

Introduction 106

3.1 Haydn, string quartet No 60 Op 76 No 1 in G Major 106


3.2 Mozart, string quartet No 21 K 575 in D Major 120
3.3 Beethoven, string quartet No 4 Op 18 No 4 in C minor 129
3.4 Conclusion 135
3.5 Appendix: All the chords and all the keys 137

Chapter 4: The modulation puzzle


Abstract 150

Introduction 151

4.1 Needed information 151

4.2 The files 153


4.3 The Main file 155
4.4 The MODULATION file 157
4.5 The config file 160
4.6 Python installation 160
4.7 Some thoughts 161

About the author 162

4
Chapter 1: The theory

Abstract

What makes a collection of notes a good piece of music, something


that gets stuck in our brain? Why is it that we keep listening and
enjoying the music of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven composers
long dead two hundred years ago? What makes a piece of music
memorable? What are the rules of the grammar behind the music of
the great masters? If we can understand the rules then we could
also teach them to kids. This chapter explains in plain words (or
tones) the grammar of classical music. The next chapters describe a
practical method that could be used by kids (or any adult interested
in composing good music) to learn the basics (and some more)
directly from the works of the great composers of classical music.

2016 Jaime E Kardontchik. Modulation in Classical Music From piano to string quartets,
Chapter 1.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative
Commons Attribution - Non Commercial - No Derivatives 4.0 License, which permits
unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided the original
author and source are credited.

5
Introduction
In music the melody is king.

Or is it ?

What makes a collection of notes a good piece of music, something that gets stuck in
our brain? Why is it that we keep listening and enjoying the music of Bach, Mozart and
Beethoven composers long dead two hundred years ago? What makes a piece of
music memorable? Is musical creativity an innate property an ability that some people
have and most do not? Or can be nurtured? If so, what could be taught and how? Is
musical composition different from, say, writing a novel?

Of course, a good composer, as well as a good novelist, has something original to say,
otherwise people would not listen to him/her. But, besides the fact that one uses letters
(consonants and vowels) and the other uses notes, the process of becoming a good
composer (in writing or in tones) is similar: 1) read (or listen to) the works of good
writers (or musicians) and learn from them, 2) study the basic rules of grammar (how to
build a correct phrase and how to move from one sentence to the next) and 3)
experiment and try a lot until you break the barrier and begin producing consistently
good results.

It is a fact that we have been blessed by good writers during the last several centuries
and when we want to suggest a good reading to a young person we do not have to go
back to Cervantes or Shakespeare: there are good enough writers in the 20th century
and today to choose from. Unfortunately, this has not been the fate of the serious
music (the music that we hear in the concert halls).

The premise of this book is that the culprit for this failure in the field of music lies in the
second pillar: the grammar. The grammar of speech has been quite steady for the last
several centuries. Even more, if anything, it has evolved towards simplification and
unification. This has enabled generations of pedagogues to codify it in simple rules and
teach them to the next generations, creating a positive feedback that brought new good
novelists and writers to the field.

The grammar of music went in the opposite direction: it became more and more
complex, with more and more rules to include the diverging compositional caprices of
each and every new composer that became the favorite of the day. As a result, if you
open today a book on modern Harmony (Harmony is the grammar of music), you are
lost immediately in an almost infinite jargon of words difficult to comprehend and
useless to help you in your main objective: composing music or teaching a new
generation of children how to compose music (or how to speak with tones.) We will try
to restore in this chapter the broken link with the classical great composers.

6
The grammar of classical music
1.1 - The major keys
You are probably already familiar with scales. Figure 1.1 shows the scale of C Major. It
consists of seven tones (for convenience we have repeated the first tone at the end,
one octave higher.)

Figure 1.1: The scale of C Major

The first tone of the scale is called the tonic, in this case the tone C, and it gives its
name to the scale. This is a very peculiar way to build a scale. It was invented (or
perfected) by musicians around the 18th century as a good compromise that offered
both enough simplicity, on the one hand, and flexibility, on the other, to build (compose)
complex works of music. If we look at a keyboard, notice that there is no key between
the E and F and similarly between the B and C at the end. The distance between them
is a minimum. This distance is called a semitone or half-tone. The distance between
all other consecutive notes in the scale is double: 2 semitones or, simply a whole tone.
For instance, the distance between the D and the E is 2 semitones, because looking at
the keyboard we see that between them there is another note (a black key in this case).

Since there are 12 tones in an octave (7 white keys plus 5 black keys), we can build 12
major scales in the same way keeping the same distance between tones as in the scale
of C Major. For instance, Figure 1.2 shows the scale of D Major:

Figure 1.2: The scale of D Major

Notice that we have kept the same relative distances between successive tones. For
instance, the distance between the 3rd and 4th tone (F# and G, respectively) is again
one semitone, as it was in the scale of C Major. If you are going to write a long piece
based on the scale of D Major (or, musicians will say: based on the D Major key) adding
a sharp sign every time that an F or a C appear becomes a tedious matter, so we just
put the sharps signs at the beginning of the staff at their correct position, a notation
meaning that, from now on, any time you see an F or a C in the score we really mean

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F# and C#, respectively. Figure 1.3 shows the same scale in D Major using this short-
hand style:

Figure 1.3: The scale of D Major in short-hand notation

Notice the apparent similarity of the D Major scale (compared to the reference C Major
scale) when one moves the sharps to the beginning of the staff. Using this shorthand
notation (putting the sharp or flat - signs at the beginning of the staff), it is easy to
write down the 12 possible Major scales: Each one begins with a different tone (one of
the 12 possible tones) and is modeled on the C Major scale. They are all shown in
Figure 1.4 and Figure 1.5 and in an order that has become standard in music: In Figure
1.4, we begin with the C tone (C Major scale) and we progress in jumps of 5ths adding
one sharp at a time to get the scales of G Major, D Major, , C# Major. The scale of C#
Major has 7 sharps. We can also go back in 5th intervals and begin adding flats instead
of sharps. In this case we get the scales of F Major, Bb Major, Eb Major and Ab Major,
as shown in Figure1.5.

Figure 1.4: (from top to bottom): Major scales in C, G, D, A, B, F# and C#

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Figure 1.5: (from top to bottom): Major scales in F, Bb, Eb and Ab

But why stop here? Why not move another 5th and add another flat to get the Db
Major? But we already created 12 scales based on the 12 keys of the keyboard. It does
not seem logical that we would get a new different 13th Major scale. And as we will see
immediately, this intuition is correct. Figure 1.6 (top) shows this new scale in Db Major.
Figure 1.6 (bottom) shows the previously created scale in C# Major.

Figure 1.6: top: the new scale in Db Major. Bottom: the scale in C# Major

If we compare tone by tone these two scales, there is no difference whatsoever


between them. For example, the first tone in the scale of Db Major is Db. The first tone
in the scale of C# Major is C#. But C# and Db are one and the same key in the
keyboard! One could say that using 7 sharps to create the scale of C# Major is more
clumsy and difficult to read than using only 5 flats to create the scale of Db Major. This
is why some musicians prefer to compose in the key of Db Major instead of the key of
C# Major. It is a matter of individual choice and taste.

Musicians have summarized in a graphic way, called the Circle of Fifths, the property
that we fall back into an existing scale if we try to add more flats. The Circle of Fifths is
shown in Figure 1.7.

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Figure 1.7: The Circle of Fifths for the Major Keys

Notice that if we jump clockwise around the circle, adding a flat after the key of Ab Major
in order to get the Db Major key, we fall instead into the key of C# Major: we do not get
a new scale neither we go off a cliff. Similarly, if we jump counterclockwise by a 5th
and add a sharp after the key of C# Major, the new key, G# Major, happens to be
identical to the existent key of Ab Major.

There is nothing magical or divine in this Circle of Fifths. It is just a nice diagram that
summarizes how to build 12 similar Major scales based on the scale of C Major. Again,
by similar we mean that the intervals between successive notes in the scales are
similar to the corresponding intervals in the scale of C Major. Why jump by 5ths? Why
not use any other interval for the jump? Why not begin with the scale of C Major and
jump only a 2nd interval to begin a scale in D Major adding only one sharp? Because it
wont work: you will not get a new scale similar to the C Major scale. If you want to get
all the 12 major scales by adding each time just only one sharp (or, if you decide
instead to go the other way and add instead flats), the only way to obtain similar scales
with similar intervals between their notes - is to go in jumps of fifths.

One could now begin composing music based on a single key. For instance, Figure 1.8
shows the first sentence of Mozarts piano sonata in C Major.

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Figure 1.8: Mozart piano sonata in C Major, K 545, 1st movement

If you ever played the piano you surely played this sonata. What do we mean when we
say that a piece of music is written in the key of C Major? Simply: that the melody (and
its accompaniment) uses only the seven tones found in the scale of C Major. Figure 1.9
shows another example, this time in G Major, from Beethovens piano sonata Op 49 No
2, which, most probably you played as well.

Figure 1.9: Beethoven piano sonata Op 49 No 2, 2nd movement

Why is it so important to build a piece of music on a single key? What is wrong if we


begin a melody with a few tones belonging to the scale of C Major, continue it with
several tones belonging to another key, say, E Major and then finalize the melody by
adding some tones belonging to yet another key, say, Bb Major? Experience tells us
that it just does not sound nice: the melody line begins to fade and we get instead
dissonances, too many. A melody is like a sentence in a common language. If you want
people to be able to follow you when you speak, you have to build your sentences
correctly, following the grammar of speech. Similarly, if you want people to listen to a
melody, it has to have a good structure. In music, it usually means having the melody
written in one key (In these examples and in what follows, we do not differentiate
between the melody proper, usually written in the treble staff, and its accompaniment,
usually appearing in the bass staff).

1.2 - The 7th chord


A melody is like a sentence in common language. What if we want to make something
more complex, like a speech? How, do we combine many sentences? How do we avoid

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becoming repetitious and dull? Well, if we always talk in the seven notes of C Major we
will end up losing the attention of our audience. In classical music this is done in two
interrelated ways: First, we built an expectation that something is going to happen. And
then we move to another key to continue our story. In music this is called modulation.

We create the expectation that something is going to happen by using the 7th chord.
Each major key has a combination of four tones that is unique to the key and you will
not find in other keys. Before entering into the explanation of the feeling of expectation,
let us first explain how to build this chord. We will explain how to build this chord in the
key of C Major. The procedure of building the 7th chords in the other keys is exactly the
same. The simplest explanation of how to define (or build) this chord is graphical. Figure
1.10 shows again the scale of C Major with some other continuation tones in the next
octave.

Figure 1.10: how to build the 7th chord in the C Major key

The 7th chord is built by choosing the 5th tone of the scale (in this case the G) and piling
up on top of it three tones selected by skipping each time one tone of the scale. The
bottom tone of the chord, in this case G, is called the root of the chord. The resulting
chord is shown in Figure 1.11.

Figure 1.11: the 7th chord of the C Major key

We call the chord as the 7th chord because if we align all the sounds of the scale
between the root of the chord (the G in this case) and its top (the F) we get 7 tones (see
Figure 1.12)

Figure 1.12: There are 7 tones between the root of the chord (G) and its top tone (F)

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For the same reason, we call the B tone the 3rd of the chord, or simply the 3rd, we call
the D tone the 5th of the chord, or simply the 5th and although it might sound
confusing we also call the F tone the 7th of the chord, or simply the 7th (this may be
confusing at first look, because the whole chord is called the 7th chord, but depending
on the context in which it is used it will be clear when we refer to the 7th as the tone on
top of the chord or the 7th as the complete chord itself).

The same procedure is used to build the 7th chord in all the other keys. Let us take, for
example, the key of E Major. Figure 1.13 shows the scale of E Major with some added
tones in the second octave:

Figure 1.13: How to build the 7th chord in the key of E Major

Figure 1.14 shows the resulting 7th chord in the key of E Major.

Figure 1.14: the 7th chord in the E Major key

The 7th chord is unique to a key. Why do we say this? Let us take, for example, the 7th
chord of the C Major key (Figure 1.11, repeated here to have it at hand):

Figure 1.11: the 7th chord of the C Major key

Why do we say that this chord is unique to the key of C Major? Well, on one hand it has
an F without a sharp: hence this chord cannot belong to any Major key that has sharps.
Notice that all the keys that have sharps (G Major, D Major, etc.) include at least the F#
in their scales. Hence, the F without a sharp cannot belong to any of these keys. On the
other hand, this chord also includes a B: this rules out all the keys that have flats (F, Bb,
Eb and Ab), since all of them use the B flat (Bb) tone instead of the B. In summary, you
can never see this chord in any other major key, except the key of C Major.

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Once we defined how to build the 7th chord in the key of C Major it is easy to write down
the 7th chord in all the other keys. Figure 1.15 shows, for example, the 7th chords in the
keys of a Bb, F, C, G and D Major.

Figure 1.15: The 7th chords in the keys of Bb, F, C, G and D Major

Since the 7th chords will be used to move (modulate) from one key to another within
the same piece, it is better this time to put them together under one key, with the sharps
and flats included as necessary, so you get used to their appearance. This is shown in
Figure 1.16.

Figure 1.16: The 7th chords of the Bb, F, C, G and D keys

We showed before that the 7th chord in the key of C cannot appear in any other key.
The same is true for all the other 7th chords. For instance, let us look at the 7th chord of
D Major (the last chord in Figure 1.15 or 1.16). It has a C# tone. Hence, we can rule out
all the keys with flats and also the keys of C and G that do not have a C# tone in their
scales. What about the other keys that have sharps, the keys of D, A, E, B, F# and C# ?
Well, we also see that this chord has a G tone: This rules out the keys of A, E, B, F#
and C# that have a G# tone in their scales. Hence, the only key where this 7th chord fits
is the key of D Major.

Notice that when trying to find out to which key a 7th chord belongs to, we only looked at
its 3rd and 7th tones. So, if we really are looking for what is the simplest chord that can
tell us in what key we are (or towards which key we want to move if we want to
modulate to another key in the middle of a piece), we really do not need a chord
consisting of 4 tones: 2 tones are enough: the 3rd and 7th tones of the 7th chord. The 3rd
and 7th tones of the 7th chord are the most important tones of this chord. They tell us in
which key we are or, if we wish to continue the piece in another key, they can be used
as indicators of which direction are we heading to.

1.3 - Creating expectations


So, we created a melody and played it in the key of C Major. We liked it and we would
like to retell it to our listeners in a slightly different way. If we tell it again in the same key
it might sound repetitive and the attention of the listeners might recede. Hence, we

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decide to retell it in the key of G Major. How do we move (modulate) from our first
sentence written in the key of C Major to our next sentence written in the key of G
Major? We first create the expectation that something is going to happen by introducing
something unexpected, something that does not belong to the previous sentence, at
least one tone that does not belong to the original key of C Major. But we do not only
want to suggest that change is coming but also point out in which direction we are going
to go. Classical musicians found from their experience that the best way to achieve
these two goals is by using the 7th chord of the new key, in this case the G Major. This
chord has an F# note, that clearly does not belong to the original C Major key. The ear
(and the brain) is a very sensitive device and this F# - that does not belong to the
hitherto discourse - will immediately grab the attention of the listener. And by using all
the four tones of the 7th chord, that are all tones that belong to the G Major key, it will
also signal the direction we are going to, providing a smooth transition to the new key.
Bach shows us the way in, perhaps, his most famous and popular piece: the first
prelude in the first book of his Well-Tempered Clavier (see Figure 1.17).

Figure 1.17: Bach, Well Tempered Clavier, book 1, Prelude 1


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The piece begins in the key of C Major (we do not see any sharp or flat at the beginning
of the staff and all the notes in the first few bars clearly belong to the C Major key.) But
in bar 6 unexpectedly a F# tone appears, repeated four times, once in every beat of the
bar. The F# tone clearly does not belong to the C Major key. But where is the 7th chord?
Well, we usually do not play all the four tones of the chord at the same time: it would be
too rude for such a delicate melody. We play them, instead, one after another (this is
called an arpeggio). If you look at the first beat in bar 6 (include both the treble and the
bass staff) you will find the four tones of the 7th chord in the key of G Major. They do not
have to be in the same order as the chord, D F# - A C, from root to top. In a piece
they are usually not. In our case, the C appears first (in the bass) followed by the D, F#
and A in the treble staff. To be sure that the listener does not miss it, Bach repeats the
7th chord in the second, third and fourth beats in the same bar. And then, in bar 7 we
are already in the new key, the key of G Major. And if you look carefully at bar 7 it is
almost a repetition of the 1st bar of the piece, transposed from C Major to G Major. That
is, it is a retelling of the story with slight nuanced changes, to avoid making it repetitive,
but at the same time, close enough to the original melody to keep intact the core of the
story the composer wanted to convey.

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1.4 - The minor keys
We can create a lot of good music using the twelve major keys and their respective 7th
chords. However, if we would like to convey also dark feelings and extreme emotions
or, quite simply, noble and elevated feelings, writing pieces exclusively in the Major
keys will not do the job: Melodies written in the Major keys are too bright. Hence,
classical musicians also added 12 minor keys. The reference minor key from which all
the other minor keys are derived is the A minor key, whose scale is shown in Figure
1.18.

Figure 1.18: The A minor scale

This scale looks initially similar to the scale in C Major, except that it has a G# instead of
a G, but the relative distances between successive tones are completely different. In the
C Major key we had a relative distance of one semitone between the 3rd and 4th tones
and between the 7th and 8th tones (the last being the repetition of the tonic tone), with all
the other distances being whole tones. Here, in the A minor scale, the semitone
distances are between the 2nd the 3rd tones, between the 5th and 6th tones and we have
an additional semitone distance between the 7th and 8th tones. Furthermore, between
the 6th and 7th tones (F and G#) the distance is three semitones! Quite a different
creature compared to the C Major scale. If you play this scale you will notice
immediately that it sounds completely different from the C Major scale.

All the other minor scales are obtained similar to the Major keys by jumping in
intervals of 5th in one direction to add sharps or in the opposite direction to add flats.
The results are shown in Figure 1.19 for the sharp keys and in Figure 1.20 for the flat
keys.

17
Figure 1.19: The minor scales in A, E, B, F#, C#, G#, D# and A#.

A cross-like sign before a tone, like xG in the last scale in A# minor, means technically a
double sharp: xG =G##. But G## = A. One could have just written an A instead of xG.
But this would have destroyed at least formally the way we define and build the
scale in a key, moving one tone after the other without skipping any tone. Furthermore,
if a composer is writing a melody in the key of A# minor, he would prefer to write down

18
the tone as xG instead of A, because it clearly indicates then to the reader the key he is
using in his piece. An A tone in the written score would appear as a foreign tone to the
key of A# minor (although it is not, and the ear does not care: for the ear an A and a xG
are the same)

Figure 1.20: the minor scales in D, G, C and F minor

A new sign appears in the 7th tone of the scales of C and F minor: it is not a sharp
neither a flat. It is called a natural. The natural before a note means: just play the
plain tone, in this case B (for the scale of C minor) or E (for the scale of F minor). As it
was the case for the Major keys, there are only 12 minor keys. For instance, if we try to
create a new minor key by jumping another 5th and adding a 5th flat, we obtain the scale
Bb minor:

Figure 1.21: the Bb minor scale

But this Bb minor scale is identical tone-by-tone to the scale of A# minor (that uses
seven sharps). As before, it is a matter of individual choice, whether to use the Bb minor
key (with only five flats) or the A# minor key (with seven sharps). The complete set of

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Major and minor scales can be summarized in the generalized Circle of Fifths for these
scales, shown in Figure 1.22.

Figure 1.22: The Circle of Fifths including both the Major and minor keys. Major keys
are drawn in full lines and minor keys are drawn in broken lines.. Major keys are
assigned uppercase letters, minor keys use lowercase letters. Major and minor keys
that share the same number of accidentals (sharp or flats) are abutted together.

1.5 The 7th chord for minor keys


Chords of the 7th for the minor keys are defined and built in the same way that they
were defined for the Major keys. For instance, let us find the 7th chord of the C minor
key that has three flats. We repeat below, in Figure 1.23, the scale of C minor with
some added notes in the next octave:

20
Figure 1.23: The scale of C minor with some added notes in the next octave

As before we select the 5th tone of the scale (in this case a G) as the root of the chord
and we select the three tones marked in Figure 1.23 above the root, skipping each time
one tone of the scale. We end up with the chord shown in Figure 1.24:

Figure 1.24: the 7th chord for the key of C minor

But this chord is identical to the 7th chord of the key of C Major! If we continue
building all the 7th chords for the minor keys we end up with the same result: there are
no new 7th chords: the C Major key (that has no flats nor sharps) and the C minor key
(that has three flats) share the same 7th chord. Similarly, the G Major key (that has one
sharp) and the G minor key (that has two flats) share the same 7th chord, and so on.
Keys that have the same tonic tone share the same 7th chord, irrespective of
whether they are Major or minor.

What can we do if we are in the middle of a piece of music and we want to modulate,
say, from the key of D Major to the key of D minor? Is there a way to provide a clue to
the listener that we are going to switch from a Major key to a minor key that share the
same tonic (or the opposite, from a minor key to a Major key)? Yes, there is: the chord
of the 9th.

1.6 - The 9th chord


The 9th chord is built (or defined) in the same way we built the 7th chord: we continue
adding tones to the scale in the next octave. For example, in the key of C Major the
expanded scale is shown in Figure 1.25.

Figure 1.25: The expanded scale of C Major with the tones selected for the 9th chord

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Figure 1.26 shows the 9th chord in the key of C major.

Figure 1.26: the 9th chord in C Major

We do now the same for the key of C minor. Figure 1.27 shows the expanded scale of
C minor:

Figure 1.27: The expanded scale of C minor with the tones selected for the 9th chord

Figure 1.28 shows the corresponding 9th chord using the selected tones:

Figure 1.28: the 9th chord in C minor

Notice that for both chords we use only tones that are available in their respective
scales. Hence, in the key of C Major the top tone is a natural A, whereas in the key of C
minor the top tone is an A flat. Hence, major and minor keys with the same name (same
tonic tone) can be differentiated by their 9th chords.

The 9th chords are unique and can be used to identify any key, Major or minor. Using
the same analysis we did before for the 7th chords, the 3rd and 7th tones of the chord
eliminate all the keys except two, in this case the C Major and C minor. The 9th tone of
the chord serves to differentiate between the C Major and the C minor keys. The 3rd, 7th
and 9th tones are the most important tones of the 9th chord and together they uniquely
define the key, Major or minor.

7th and 9th chords are the chords used to modulate, to transition, from one key to
another during the course of a piece of music. They provide both the anticipation that
something is going to happen and also the clearest sense of direction where the music
is headed to.

22
It will be instructive to redraw the Circle of Fifths so that instead of abutting together a
Major and minor key that share the same accidentals (sharp or flats), as was done
previously in Figure 1.22, we abut instead together keys that share the same 7th chords.
This is shown in Figure 1.29.

Figure 1.29: The Circle of Fifths with all the Major and minor keys. Major and minor keys
that share the same 7th chord are abutted together.

This figure shows the expected result that, for example, the A Major key and the a
minor key are abutted together (since they share the same 7th chord.) However, at the
bottom of the Circle we get three unexpected results: the letters of the abutted chords
do not match. For example, the Eb Major key is abutted to the d# minor key. The
puzzle is solved if we remember that Eb and D# are one and the same tone: they are
just two different names for the same key in the keyboard. An indeed, although the 7th
chords of the Eb Major key and the d# minor key might appear completely different
(in the first chord you will see tones with flats and in the second chord you will see tones
with sharps) the two chords are identical. Musicians have a name for this: the two
chords are enharmonic.

1.7 A detailed example of chords and modulations: A Haydn sonata


Now that we know all the keys, Major and minor, and all the 7th and 9th chords, let us
look at a simple example of how Haydn used these tools to generate pleasant and
attractive music. Figure 1.30 shows the beginning of a Haydns Sonata.

23
Figure 1.30: Haydn Sonata in E minor, Hob XVI No 34, 1st movement

Before analyzing it, I would suggest that you play it at the piano (or listen to it on the
web) to get immediately the feeling of this sonata.

Immediately, at the beginning of the first bar Haydn writes:

Figure 1.31a: bar # 1 (part)

That is, Haydn includes a F# in the key as a global indication (every F appearing in the
piece should be played as F#) and plays in the bass the tonic chord of the E minor key
(see Fig 1.31b):

24
Figure 1.31b: tonic cord in the E minor key

It does not matter whether all the tones of this chord are played together or one after the
other (in arpeggio form): the brain processes arpeggios and chords in a similar way,
in the sense that they both center the brain in the key of E minor. Putting this chord at
the beginning of the piece is a direct hint to the listener that the piece will be in the E
minor key. Just play it and you will get immediately the feeling that you are in the key of
E minor. But you could find the tones E, G and B in other keys too. For example,
these tones are also part of the scale of C Major. To clarify the matter Haydn
immediately follows with:

Figure 1.31c: end of bar 1 and beginning of bar 2

Remember what the 7th chord of E minor looks like:

Figure 1.31d: the 7th chord of E minor

Hence, Haydn writes down in the last chord of bar # 1 the 3rd and 7th tones of the 7th
chord of E minor (D# and A), the most important tones of the 7th chord, to leave no
doubt that we are indeed in the key of E minor. We emphasized before that the 7th
chords are used to provide the means to move from one key to another. But they also
have another important function: they are used to reinforce the present key. This is the
function that the chord plays in bar # 1.

25
Haydn finishes the task by resolving this chord into the tonic chord of E minor again.
The chords of the 7th and the 9th create expectations. You can feel this when we you
hear them. The brain either by Nature or by learning wants these expectations to be
resolved or come to a rest. The sensation of rest is achieved when these chords are
followed by the tonic chord of the key.

Haydn continues developing the piece in the key of E minor until suddenly in bar # 6 a
foreign tone appears in the bass: A#:

Fig 1.31e: bar # 6

Usually, in classical music the modulations are between neighboring keys, keys that
have almost the same number of flats and sharps and, therefore, whose scales share a
large number of tones. Transitions to faraway keys are seldom encountered. This has to
do with minimizing dissonances that might be unpleasant to the ear during the transition
from one key to the next. Looking at the 7th and 9th chords of the neighboring key of B
minor:

Figure 1.31f: 7th and 9th chords of B minor

We see that the A# in the bass together with the E and G in the treble (see bar 6, at the
end of the first beat) are just the 3rd, 7th and 9th tones of the 9th chord. We also see in
Haydns score that the 9th chord resolves into the tonic chord of B Major!:

26
Figure 1.31g: the tonic chord in the B Major key

Hence, bar # 6 marks the modulation from E minor to B Major. Classical composers
sometimes liked to surprise their listeners by creating the expectation that they were
going to move to a minor key and then suddenly ending up, or resolving in the Major
key with the same tonic tone. Or, perhaps, it was just the spirit of the time to end or
resolve into a positive bright mood. Bars # 7 and 8 are a repetition of bar # 6, but with
spice added to it: bar # 7 begins with an A natural, creating the expectation in the
listener that we are going back to the original key of E minor. But no! The 9th chord of B
minor brings us back immediately to B minor. And the same happens in bar # 8.

Bar # 9 begins suddenly again in the key of E minor: it is a repetition of bar # 1.

Fig 1.31h: bar # 9

Is it permissible to jump suddenly from the previous key of B Major back again to E
minor without a 7th chord enabling the transition? Well, if this creates a nice artistic
effect, why not? It surely does. However, Haydn does not break the grammar rules.
Between the previous section ending in B Major and the new section in E minor he adds
a silence sign with an added fermata (the fermata is the semicircle with a point in its
center added on top of the silence sign). The fermata means: stop following the
metronome and take a deep pause. It is like breaking the piece. Hence, what follows is
technically a separate piece. A separate piece may begin in any key.

The piece continues a few bars in E minor until in bar # 11 we find again a foreign
sound: a G#.

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Fig 1.31i: bar # 11 and beginning of bar # 12

Haydn is also kind enough to emphasize that the following D note is natural, which
technically speaking is not necessary: a pianist would play a D natural with or without
that sign, since the piece was defined such that only the F notes appearing on it should
be sharp. However, by emphasizing that the D note is natural, Haydn is telling us that
he is abandoning the E minor key: the scale of E minor does have a D#. Hence, we are
given two clues that we are abandoning the E minor key: a G# and a natural D.

Looking for a 7th chord of a neighboring key we find one that meets these requirements:
it is the 7th chord of the A minor key:

Figure 1.31j: 7th chord of E minor

Well, this time Haydn has used all the four tones of the 7th chord: the tones of the two
last chords in the treble staff, when put together, form the complete 7th chord in A minor.
And they resolve correctly into the tonic chord of A minor in the next bar:

Figure 1.31k: The tonic chord in A minor

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But not for long! After entering the A minor in bar # 12 with the tonic chord in A minor,
he announces at the end of the same bar that he is transitioning to a new key: a natural
G appears:

Figure 1.31l: bar 12 (and beginning of bar 13)

The natural G indicates that we are abandoning the A minor key. Another indication
appears at the beginning of the next bar (bar 13) where we see both in the treble and
the bass an F#, that clearly does not belong to the A minor key (Remember that a
global # sign was assigned to F at the beginning of the piece, so when we see an F in
the piece you should interpret it as an F#). Are we going back to the E minor key? No,
because in this key the D should be D# and we see clearly in bar 13 a lot of natural D
notes. So, towards which key is Haydn moving? The answer is provided in bar 13 itself:

Figure 1.31m: bar 13 and beginning of bar 14

The complete bar 13 is just a large and expanded implementation of the 7th chord of the
key of G Major. All the notes in bar # 13 belong to the 7th chord of G Major:

Figure 1.31n: 7th chord of G Major

29
And indeed it resolves correctly in the next bar (bar 14) with the tonic chord of G Major:

Figure 1.31o: tonic chord in G Major

The above analysis shows you two things: a) how to read a piece of classical music to
understand how Haydn handled the movement from one key to the next, or, from one
sentence to the next: This could give you some ideas on how to compose your own next
piece of music; and b) that the analysis becomes very cumbersome and tedious if it is
performed on large sections of the piece. The next chapter will show you that there is
another way to do this analysis that is both fast, interesting and gives you a graphical
picture of the overall architecture of the piece, a picture of the forest that is lost here in
the details of the trees.

1.8 Additional items in the toolbox of the musician


Part of the toolbox of a musician is to create not only expectations but also surprises.
So, occasionally you will find in a score, say, a 9th chord of the D minor key followed by
a passage in the D Major key instead. The musician does not have to tell the listener
what is exactly what is going to happen, either a transition to a Major or a minor key. Or,
perhaps, even no transition at all.

Occasionally, you are in a minor key and in a brief passage you want to go from here to
there using a fragment of the minor scale that includes the seventh tone of the scale.
For instance, you are in the A minor key and would like to make a gradual descent from
A to E:

Figure 1.32a: gradual descent in the A minor key using a fragment of the scale

The transition from G# to F has a 3 semitone step and if you play it on the piano (or any
other instrument) you will find that it raises the feeling of being too rough, especially if

30
your piece is more of a melodic character. In this case you can eliminate the edgy
feeling by deleting the sharp, as shown in Figure 1.32b:

Figure 1.32b: melodic descent from A to E in the A minor key.

This does not mean that you moved to another key (say, C Major or F Major): It is just a
short (modified) fragment of the minor scale that does not change the key. You are still
in A minor, and if you would like to transition to another key you will have to use
something more effective: the 7th or 9th chord of the new key. As you can imagine, there
is also a short melodic ascent from E to A that eliminates the rough edges of the G#:

Figure 1.32c: melodic ascent from E to A in the A minor key

But this is quite less often found in the works of the classical composers. Take, for
example, the beginning of the 3rd movement of Beethovens Pathetique sonata:

31
Figure 1.33: beginning of the 3rd movement of Beethovens piano sonata No 8 Op 13

The whole section is in the C minor key. However, in the 2nd half of bar 6 you find a
foreign note: F#. A closer look shows that we have here a strange looking chord:

Figure 1.34: 2nd half of bar 6, bass staff chord

We will return to this chord in the next chapter, after we introduce the Neapolitan chord.
When you hear this sonata you feel at this moment an expectation that something is
going to happen. However, this expectation evaporates in the next bar that returns to
the main key of C minor. Even a more dramatic moment appears in the second half of
bar 12, where we have two strongly accentuated tones that do not belong to the key of
C minor: an E natural in the bass and a B flat in the treble.
32
Figure 1.35: bars 12 and 13

Beethoven inserted here a 7th chord of in the key of F minor

Figure 1.36: 7th chord in the key of F minor

You feel the intensity, as you hear the piece, as if Beethoven is trying to move a
mountain. However, no key change follows and the intensity dissipates in bar 13 in a
subdued melodic scale descent in C minor, like a sign of resignation to an unknown
tragic fate. Beethoven wrote this piece in 1798, at the age of 27, around the time when
the first signs of his deafness appeared.

Oftentimes when you read a score you find suddenly tones that do not belong to the
key, but they are obviously not part of any 7th or 9th chord either and they do not lead to
any key modulation. For instance, take the following beginning from a sonata by Mozart:

Figure 1.37: first bars of Mozarts piano sonata in F Major K 511

At the end of the second bar we find a natural B, suggesting that we are going to leave
the F Major key, but nothing happens next: we are back to F Major as strongly hinted
by the tonic chord in F Major in the bass at the beginning of bar # 3. In bar # 3 Mozart
restores the sound to B flat, as it should be, but immediately adds a G# tone that clearly
does not belong to the F Major scale, but he still remains in the same key of F Major.

33
Nothing would have happened if Mozart would have written the beginning of the sonata
as follows, without the foreign tones:

Figure 1.38: modified Mozarts sonata without the foreign tones

If you play the modified version, it also sounds good. However, Mozarts original
sounds better. What happens? Why Mozart decided to write that way, with the foreign
tones? What does the natural B achieve in bar # 2? If we listen carefully we might find
that it creates some expectation that something is going to happen. Perhaps if we take
a second look at the six semiquavers at the end of bar # 2:

Figure 1.39: six semiquavers at the end of bar 2 with the foreign B natural tone

It would appear that we have here a repeated tone (C) that together with the strong
accompaniment in the bass completes the tonic triad in F Major. If the function of this
repeated tone is just to emphasize the key, what is left from these six semiquavers
when we extract out the C tone is this:

Figure 1.40: bar 2, the six semiquavers without the repetitive C

This is just a broken 7th chord of C Major (the root G is missing). However, if you hear
again the original version of Mozart it seems to create some expectation that something
is going to happen, we are going to transition to something else, perhaps to C Major
(which finally does not). This adds spice and interest to the music.

34
What about the six semiquavers in bar # 3?

Figure 1.41: six semiquavers in bar 3 with the foreign G# tone

Again, we have a repetitive tone (A) that together with the tones in the bass
emphasizes the tonic chord of F Major. Here, the G# (together with the Bb) eliminates
the sensation of repetitiveness to the ear of the A tone by adding some ornamentation,
or slight movement, around this A tone. And if you compare the original version with the
modified one, one can only say that Mozart knew what he was doing: It just sounds
better.

At the risk of trying to figure out what was going on in Mozarts brain when he sat down
to write this sonata, the following is perhaps the skeleton that went through his mind:

Figure 1.42a: what Mozart had in mind

This can be summarized simply as three big tonic chords telling the unaware listener
that he was going to hear a piece in the key of F Major:

Figure 1.42b: what Mozart had in mind

As a final point and to end this chapter on a light note () I include below a composition
of my own: A musical Vignette. I leave to the reader to analyze it, or simply just
enjoy it by playing it or listening to it. A recording of the piece is available at the IMSLP
website [1]

35
36
References
[1] IMSLP, International Music Score Library Project at www.imslp.org

37
Chapter 2: The practice piano works

Abstract

The previous chapter provided the foundations needed to


understand Modulation in classical music. The present chapter
presents a detailed analysis of modulation of large sections of piano
works written by classical composers ranging from Scarlatti and
Bach, and ending with Sonatas by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.
Analyzing a score, trying to understand the intentions of the
composer, is like solving a puzzle. It involves a lot of thinking, true:
finding out the keys and the chords. But it also involves a lot of
intrinsically repetitive actions: documenting the chords and keys and
displaying the gathered information in a way that it can also provide
new insights into the techniques used by the composer. A computer
program written in plain vanilla Python achieves these objectives for
the Modulation Puzzle. Details about the program (or the App, as
a young kid would say) can be found in Chapter 4. Here we will just
explain two commands of this App and then use them all the time.

2016 Jaime E Kardontchik. Modulation in Classical Music From piano to string quartets,
Chapter 2.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons
Attribution - Non Commercial - No Derivatives 4.0 License, which permits unrestricted use,
distribution and reproduction in any medium provided the original author and source are
credited.

38
Introduction
You listened to classical music. You learnt in the previous chapter the grammar of
classical music. Now you want to go to the next step: begin composing music. Your
initial tries will be clumsy and seem to going nowhere, like the initial steps of a baby
child, but the only way to learn something new is by trying, and trying and trying. But a
child left alone to his/her own resources (a la naive Rousseaus style of education) will
probably end nowhere. There are so many good works of art around us, that ignoring
them to stay pure, original and non-contaminated by the ideas of others is wrong:
we can learn a lot from the experience of others. On the other hand, there is always the
risk that listening or looking too much into another composers work will kill any natural
originality in you and develop instead an imitative style that will be a pale image of
another artist. We will try to avoid this in the method I propose below by concentrating
on the techniques used by classical composers, not on their artistic results (their
melodies or whatever makes their music original and different from other composers).
Key in the art of composing a good piece of music is how to connect one sentence to
the next in order to build an integrated work: The technique of modulation.

In order to develop the skills of modulation we will be looking at many works of classical
composers. As we saw in Chapter 1, when analyzing a Haydns sonata, this can
become very soon a tiresome task and quite verbose, which will make the pace of
reading a piece of music and understanding its overall architecture very slow. Well,
there is a way out for this type of seemingly repetitive work: the computer. Kids will love
it! It will be very fast and easy to enter the information and at the end we will also get as
a bonus a graphic image of the architecture of the piece that will contribute to our
understanding of modulation. Without further ado let us go to our first assignment.

2.1 - My first assignment


Your teacher gives you the following score by Bach

Figure 2.1a: My first assignment

39
Your assignment is:

1) Find the key in which it was written


2) Find the beat where the 7th or 9th chord appears and which tones of the chord are
used
3) Deliver the results using a graph

Looking at the score you see immediately that there is a global flat sign on the B, so you
guess that we are in either the F Major or D minor keys. A repetitive D tone in the bass
suggests that the composer had D minor in mind. An indeed, towards the end of the bar
you see a C# in the 4th beat, so you conclude that you are in the D minor key. Since you
are still new in this endeavor you draw on a piece of paper the 7th chord of D minor, to
visualize it and help you find it in the bar:

And, indeed, looking at the 4th beat of the bar you find in the treble staff the four tones of
the 7th. You do not see in this beat a B flat, so we do not have a 9th chord. You enter this
information in the program and ask to plot the results. You get the following plot:

Figure 2.1b: My first assignment

Indeed, all the information you entered about the keys and chords is there. You see a
broken-line rectangle. Remember the convention we used in Chapter 1: A broken-line
rectangle means a minor key and a full-line rectangle means a Major key (see Figure
1.22). Looking at the label on the vertical axis (to the left) you find a D. Indeed, this is
the D minor key. Looking at the horizontal axis label we see that the rectangle begins at

40
bar # 1 and ends at bar # 2, meaning that the bar # 1 was in the key of D minor. Finally,
abutted to the right side of the rectangle you see a vertical pile of five squares: four of
them are drawn with a full line and the fifth on top is drawn with a broken line. A square
drawn with a broken line means a missing note in the chord. We see that the fifth tone,
that would have given us a 9th chord, is missing. The bottom square indicates the root of
the chord and it is in full line, together with the other three squares on top of it. Hence,
the figure tells us that this is a 7th chord and that all the four tones of this chord appear
on the score at the end of bar # 1.

How did you enter all this information in the program? You enter the information about
the chord writing the following statement:

chords(1, 4, [1, 1, 1, 1, 0], D)


This means that in bar # 1 (first number within parenthesis), at its fourth beat (second
number within the parenthesis), you identified a chord. The numbers within the following
brackets, [ ], identify the tones used in the chord. You enter the information about the
tones you find in the chord beginning from its root. If you found the tone you enter a 1. If
the tone is missing you enter a 0. Finally, you identify to which key the chord belongs to:
you enter (between apostrophes) a D. It could be D Major or D minor.

Believe me: if you have to analyze a long section of a piece, entering 1s and 0s is much
faster than entering A, C#, E and G (not to say about entering La, Do #, Mi and Sol, if
you follow the Italian or Spaniard nomenclature). The 0 following the four 1s means,
of course, that there is no fifth note that would indicate a 9th chord.

You enter the information about the key writing:

keys(1, 1, 1, 4, D, m)

41
This means:

The lowercase m indicates a minor key. For a Major key use instead M. The complete
program you just wrote looks as follows:

Figure 2.2: the information you provide to the program

If the section you analyze is more complex you just continue adding chords and keys
statements. The order in which you enter these statements is irrelevant. In the next
section you will see directly the results of a series of analysis of this type of several
pieces by classical composers. Only the plots will be given, but the complete list of
chords and keys statements that generated the graphs can be found in the Appendix to
this chapter.

2.2 - Scarlatti Sonata in F minor K. 481


In all our examples we will only show you the first bars of the musical score we analyze.
With the exception of J. S. Bach, it will usually be a section of the 1st movement of a
Sonata or a String Quartet. The purpose of showing the first bars is simply to help you
identify the piece: you can download the complete score from the IMSLP (International
Music Score Library Project) website [1]. Our first case is a Sonata by Domenico
Scarlatti, a composer born in Italy, but who spent also many years in Spain. He was
contemporary to J. S. Bach, a German composer. Figure 2.3a shows the first few bars
of Scarlattis sonata.

42
Figure 2.3a: Scarlatti piano sonata in F Minor, K 481

The modulation analysis is shown in Figure 2.3b:

Figure 2.3b: Modulations in Scarlattis sonata

This is a simple piece: It began in F minor and then after a short incursion into the A
flat and E flat Major keys it moved to C minor, where it stayed practically all the time (a
short incursion into the G minor key occurred around bar # 20. Pieces that stay for
many bars in the same key are usually of a melodic character: a melody needs space to
fully express itself.

43
2.3 - Bach Well Tempered Clavier, book 1, Prelude No 5

Figure 2.4a: Bach, Well Tempered Clavier, book 1, Prelude 5

Figure 2.4b: Bach, Well Tempered Clavier, book 1, Prelude 5 Modulations

Well, this is quite a different piece compared to Scarlattis sonata. Bachs piece is said
to be in D Major, but besides a few initial bars in this key, this piece moves constantly
from key to key. We finished the analysis when the original theme reappeared in the key
of G Major. This is typical of many pieces of Bach and also makes his music very
attractive. At the risk of being oversimplifying, I would say Bach is all modulation and no
melody. And the results are beautiful to the senses (who said that In music the
melody is king ?).

44
2.4 - Bach Well Tempered Clavier, book 2, Prelude No 1

Figure 2.5a: Bach, Well Tempered Clavier, book 2, Prelude I

Figure 2.5b: Bach, Well Tempered Clavier, book 2, Prelude 1 Modulations

This piece is officially in C Major and, indeed, it begins in C Major. But otherwise, it is
spread all over in terms of keys and it continuously modulates from key to key, as in the
previous piece. It is a beautiful piece, not easy to play and it is also a difficult piece to
analyze (second in difficulties to Beethovens sonata No 30.) As pieces become more

45
complex and the analyzed section is longer, sometimes the small features are hard to
read from the plot. Suppose we would like to take a close look at what Bach is doing
around bar # 15. This is very easy: the plotter is like a modern smart phone, where you
can zoom in everywhere where you want. At a touch of a button we can center on bar #
15. This is shown in Figure 2.5c:

Figure 2.5c: Bach, WTC, book 2, Prelude 1 Zoom in around bar # 15

Hence, we see that at the beginning of bar # 14 Bach used a 9th chord to modulate and
enter into to A minor key (the small broken-line box in black that follows the chord), but
even before leaving this bar he immediately used a 7th chord to transition to D minor
(the box in blue). And then he used a fragment of another 7th chord to move to G minor
(the box in red)

46
2.5 - Haydn Sonata in D Major, Hob XVI, No 37

Figure 2.6a: Haydn, Sonata in D Major, Hob XVI, No 37

Figure 2.6b: Haydn Sonata in D Major, Hob XVI, No 37. Modulations

Well, back to Scarlattis style: a Sonata by Haydn with only a few modulations to other
keys. This is what made Haydns style so solid, pleasant to the ear, with not many rough
edges and predictable.

47
2.6 - Haydn Sonata in E flat Major, Hob XVI No 52

Figure 2.7a: Haydn Sonata in E flat Major, Hob XVI No 52

Figure 2.7b: Haydn Sonata in E flat Major, Hob XVI No 52 - Modulations

This was Haydns last piano sonata, written in 1794, and looking at the modulation
content of this sonata, one could say that Haydn caught the new spirit of the time.
Beethoven published his first piano sonatas in 1795 and he had taken lessons from
Haydn for a brief period of time, dedicating also his first three piano sonatas to Haydn.
Beethoven was a straight A+ student: He did not think that learning from others would
diminish his originality: He admired the works of his predecessors, Bach and Haendel

48
(the latter especially in orchestration), and he was always looking for ways to get and
read their scores and learn from them. (There was no World Wide Web in his time,
Beethoven was not rich and getting a written score was quite difficult then.)

2.7 - Mozart Sonata in F Major K. 332. The Neapolitan chord

Figure 2.8a: Mozart, Sonata in F Major, K 332

Figure 2.8b: Mozart, Sonata in F Major K 332 Modulations

This is a lively sonata that begins in a bright and light mode (F Major) and turns more
temperamental during the development by alternating between the minor and Major
keys of C. A new feature appears around bar 40 colored in green and this warrants an
49
explanation. First, the color: If you look at the Circle of Fifths in Figure 1.22 or Figure
1.29 in Chapter 1, you will only find three colors: Black, red and blue. Notice also that
the way that these colors change cyclically is such that a Major key and its relative
minor (say, D Major and B minor, keys that have the same global number of sharps or
flats) have the same color. Classical composers frequently switch between a Major
mode and its relative minor. Using the same color makes it easy to identify this feature
in a plot. Classical composers frequently switch also between the Major and minor keys
that have the same tonic (or the same 7th chord), for example, between C Major and C
minor. Notice also, especially, using Figure 1.29, that all the keys, Major and minor, that
have the same tonic (or the same 7th chord) have the same color. Again, this is another
feature that makes it easier to follow the modulations and the architecture of the piece
by looking at the plot. So, why do we suddenly have this additional green color? Let us
first zoom-in around bar 40, where this green color appears:

Figure 2.8c: Mozart, Sonata in F Major, K 332 zoom in around bar 35

Figure 2.8d shows Mozarts score around bar 35:

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Figure 2.8d: Mozarts score around bar # 35

We clearly see in bars # 35 and # 36 the 7th chord in the key of Db Major:

Figure 2.8e: 7th chord in Db Major

(In the score we have an F#, but F sharp and G flat are one and the same note.) Hence,
this is what I initially wrote in the program and when I ran it we got the following: a tiny
and very far away fragment in the key of Db Major, as shown in Figure 2.8f, at the
bottom of the plot.

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Figure 2.8f: Mozarts sonata using the 7th chord of Db Major in bars 35 &36

This is highly suspicious: we have a couple of bars in Mozarts sonata in a key very far
away from the keys that Mozart used for this sonata. Classical musicians usually do not
do this: Since keys very far apart do not share many tones in common, usually this
transition would generate an undesirable feeling of sudden disruption and dissonance.
Could we have misinterpreted Mozarts intentions? Is there perhaps another chord,
enharmonic with the 7th chord of Db Major and closer to the keys Mozart was using in
his Sonata? Well, there is in fact such a chord: the Neapolitan chord. It was
alternatively called with slight variations in content - Italian sixth, French sixth or
German sixth. It was a special chord used in minor keys. I will describe it here slightly
differently from the way it is usually described in the books. It is built as follows:

Figure 2.8g: How the Neapolitan chord in the key of G minor is built

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First, we go up one semitone above the tonic of the scale of G minor and this defines
the root of the Neapolitan chord. In our case the tonic is a G, so we choose an A flat as
the root of the Neapolitan chord (Figure 2.8g, left). Then, we choose the 3rd, 7th and 9th
tones of the 9th chord of G minor (Figure 2.8g, right), and we pile them on top of the root
Ab. The result is the Neapolitan chord in G minor, shown in Figure 2.8h. Notice that the
Ab flat tone does not belong to the key of G minor. This is what makes the Neapolitan
chord special.

Figure 2.8h: the Neapolitan chord in the G minor key

This is exactly what we have in bars 35 and 36 of Mozarts score! Why did the Italians
add this unusual chord to the toolbox of the musicians? A possible explanation is that
every tone of the Neapolitan chord is only one semitone away from the tonic chord of G
Major:

Figure 2.8i: the tonic chord of G Major

This leads to a pleasant resolution into the tonic chord of G Major (which is what Mozart
does in bar # 37.) When you play bars 35 and 36 you notice some tension or
expectation (after all, the most important tones of the 9th chord of G appear in it). This
tension is resolved by each tone of the Neapolitan chord moving one semitone each to
the nearest tone of the tonic chord of G Major. If this looks too theoretical, try playing
the following passage at the piano:

Figure 2.8j: Resolution into G Major using the Neapolitan chord in G minor

If the above explanation looks still too complicated to you - let us simply say that this
combination (or resolution) of chords is pleasant and satisfying to the ear and this is a
good enough reason for an artist to use it. One of its uses was in brilliant cadenza-like

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passages during the modulation to another key (this is the case here). It was not used
so frequently in Germany, but from time to time it found its way in Mozarts and
Beethovens scores. We will see later another example in Beethovens sonata No 24.
(We also had an occurrence of the Neapolitan chord in Beethovens Pathetique sonata,
see [Chapter 1, Fig 1.34], which should be read as a Neapolitan chord in the G minor
key.) Hence, we added the Neapolitan chord to our toolbox. How did we add it? In a
way similar to the one used to add a 7th or 9th chord:

Notice the use of the name neap instead of chords, the later reserved only for 7th and
9th chords.

2.8 - Mozart Sonata in G Major K. 283

Figure 2.9a: Mozart, Sonata in G Major, K 283

The modulation analysis is shown in Figure 2.9b:

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Figure 2.9b: Mozart, Sonata in G Major, K 283 Modulations

This is another beautiful piano sonata by Mozart that has some lively fast jumps
between the three keys of A, D and G Major between bars 35 40, zoomed-in below in
Figure 2.9c:

Figure 2.9c: Mozart, Sonata in G Major, K 283. Zoom-in around bars 35-40

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2.9 - Beethoven Sonata in F# Major No 24 Op 78

Figure 2.10a: Beethoven Sonata in F# Major No 24 Op 78 first movement

Figure 2.10b: Beethoven Sonata in F# Major No 24 Op 78 Modulations

This sonata followed Beethovens famous sonata Appassionata, coming after a lapse
of four years. The Neapolitan chord appears briefly around bar # 25, again within a
brilliant cadenza passage leading to the key of C# Major. Its first movement has
beautiful long melodies, which may be the reason why Beethoven stayed firmly
anchored in two main keys, F# and C# Major, for long periods of time, so that the lyric

56
content could best find its expression, with only brief incursions into other keys involving
usually brilliant and fast passages.

2.10 - Beethoven Sonata in E Major No 30 Op 109

Figure 2.11a: Beethoven Sonata in E Major No 39 Op 109 first movement

This Sonata belongs to the so-called late period set of sonatas by Beethoven. It was a
very difficult piece to analyze. The results are shown in Figure 2.11b.

giv

Figure 2.11b: Beethoven Sonata in E Major No 39 Op 109 Modulations

As in all previous examples, the detailed chords and keys assignments are given and
sometimes explained in a verbose style - bar by bar and beat by beat in the Appendix. I
57
would suggest the reader to have also a score in hand to follow the assignments. To
make it easier to compare the written assignments with their graphical representation,
here come three plots with zoom-ins in smaller sections of the piece:

Figure 2.11c: Beethoven Sonata in E Major No 39 Op 109 bars 1-17

Figure 2.11d: Beethoven Sonata in E Major No 39 Op 109 bars 17-45

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Figure 2.11e: Beethoven Sonata in E Major No 39 Op 109 bars 43-60

Perhaps the most difficult part of the modulation analysis of this sonata was in the last
section (Figure 2.11e), between bars 44 to 51, where one enters a world where the
composer seems to be writing simultaneously in two keys. Beethoven decided to finish
this section in E Major, with a variation of the original exposition of the theme in the first
few bars of the piece, also written in E Major. To this end, he insinuates during seven
consecutive bars (between bars 44 and 50) that he is going to modulate to E Major by
writing fragments of the 7th chord of E Major accompanied with an obstinate tone of B at
every beat (B is the root of the 7th chord in E Major. The root of the chord appears as
the bottom square in the plot and you can see that the bottom square is always present
in every beat between bars 45 and 50.) Usually, the root of a 7th chord resolves into the
tonic tone of the key. In addition, the score says that this repeated action occurs under a
crescendo indication beginning with a soft piano (p) and culminating in a forte (f) just
before entering the key of E Major in bar 51 (with the obstinate B in the last three bars
even explicitly accentuated). So we have this obstinate B tone (the root of the 7th chord
of E Major) during seven consecutive bars and at every beat, increasing in intensity until
it finally resolves into the tonic of the E Major chord:

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This obstinate B is accompanied by different fragments of the 7th chord almost at every
beat. On top of this (see the black boxes between bars 45-50, on top of the red-colored
fragments of the 7th chord of E Major), Beethoven modulates briefly three times into the
key of F# minor, using a fragment of the 7th chord of F# followed by a resolution into the
F# minor key. Look at bars 44 and 45, where we deleted all the tones related to the
main key of E Major, leaving only the obstinate B tone that appears in all the bars and
beats in the treble staff (see Figure 2.12):

Figure 2.12: the other theme in the key of F# minor

Remember what the 7th chord of F# minor and the tonic chord in this key look like (they
are shown in Figure 2.13):

Figure 2.13: 7th chord and tonic chord in F# minor

The bass in bar 44 (Figure 2.12) shows the 3rd tone of the 7th chord of F# minor (E#).
Then in the next bar, again in the bass, this 3rd tone resolves into the F# tone of the
tonic chord of the key of F# minor. Now, in the treble: In the second voice (forget the
obstinate B) we have in bar 44 two more tones of the 7th chord of F# minor: G# and B.
The G# resolves in the next bar 45 into A, the latter being part of the tonic chord of F#
minor. One could also say that Beethoven borrows the obstinate B (of the E Major
key) and uses it here also in the double role of the 7th tone of the 7th chord of F# minor
to resolve it in the next bar into the A tone of the tonic chord of this key. This structure in

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the key of F# minor is repeated unaltered in bars 46 and 48. And all the time when the
other (main) voice is continuously singing fragments of the 7th chord of E Major. If you
play these two bars at the piano you will notice immediately the tension generated by
the 7th chord of F# minor in bar 44, especially, the E# in the bass, and how smoothly
this tension comes to a rest (is resolved) in the next bar.

2.11 The augmented triad


Seventh chords, ninth chords and, occasionally, Neapolitan chords: If you want to
analyze a classical piece of music, how the composer moves from one sentence to the
next, or if you want to compose high-quality music in the classical style this is all what
you need to know. However, is there a combination of alternating tones in a scale that
havent we used or seen yet? Let us look at our reference scale in A minor, repeated
again for convenience in Fig 2.14:

Figure 2.14: The reference scale in A minor

We see immediately that we can form a triad chord based on the 3rd tone of the scale as
its root (the C tone in our case), as shown in Fig 2.15: It is called the augmented triad
chord.

Figure 2.15: the augmented triad chord

It is a unique chord in the sense that the distance between the root C and the next tone
E is 4 semitones, or two whole tones, and the distance between the middle E tone and
the upper tone G# is again two whole tones, giving a total distance of four whole tones
between the root and the upper tone. All other 3-tone chords formed using alternate
tones of a scale, major or minor, have a total distance between the root and the top tone
of less than four whole tones: hence the name augmented given to this triad chord.
Similar augmented triads may be found in the other minor scales, again, with their root

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being the 3rd tone of the scale. Play this chord at the piano: it sounds upsetting and
annoying. This is why classical musicians avoided it: being annoying although a valid
emotional human mood was not in the toolbox of the classical musician. Of course,
one could find in a piece of classical music that in a fleeting moment these three tones
may have a close encounter, with some of them appearing in the bass staff and the
others in the treble staff, but these brief encounters do not create a real chord nor was
the composers intention to create a chord. They neither have any real harmonic
connotations, like an indication of an impending modulation to another key.

However,

Let us look at the following passage in Beethovens Sonata No 31, 1st movement:

Fig 2.16: Beethoven Sonata No 31, 1st movement, bars 17-20

A modulation analysis including this passage is shown in Fig 2.17:

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Fig 2.17: modulation analysis for bars 15-25

The detailed analysis of bars 17-20 in terms of chords and keys is given in Fig 2.18:

Fig 2.18: chords and keys in bars 17-20

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All looks fine. However, in the analysis we considered the natural B in the treble staff at
the end of bar 19 as a passing chromatic note, a tone that does not belong to the key
but does not alter the tonality of the phrase (remember the example of Mozarts sonata,
Fig 1.37) But this natural B is repeated three times in the last arpeggio: it does not
appear to be a passing chromatic note. If we combine all the notes in the last half beat
of bar 19 into a chord and all the notes in the first half beat of bar 20 into a second
chord, we get the chords shown in Fig 2.19:

Fig 2.19: last chord in bar 19 and first chord in bar 20

Did these three tones, Eb, G and B meet by chance at the end of bar 19? The way
Beethoven wrote the score seems to indicate that this was not a fleeting encounter
between these tones: they form on purpose a chord and this chord happens to be an
augmented triad chord. And when you hear a recording of the piece, you end up with
the feeling that this combination of tones does not sound ugly or annoying at all (at least
in the way Beethoven put them in the score) and not only this: they lead to a satisfying
resolution into the next chord at the beginning of bar 20. Try the chord combination in
Fig 2.19 at the piano! Well, one could say that one example does not proof anything
and that we should not try to adjudicate a harmonic meaning to it: perhaps it was after
all by chance a one-time encounter of these three tones! But Beethoven does it again in
the same movement in bar 75:

Fig 2.20: Beethoven Sonata No 31, 1st movement, bars 75-76.

Using chord notation, the last beat and a half in bar 75 may be rewritten as:

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Fig 2.21: the last three chords in bar 75

Here we have not only once but twice an augmented triad (E G# - B#) followed by a
pleasant resolution into the last chord. No encounters by chance: we have here, in this
piece, real augmented triads that must be treated as chords and that also seem to play
a modulation role. And they sound good.

2.12 An intriguing puzzle in Beethovens Sonata No 31 Op 110


The second movement of the same sonata, Beethovens Sonata No 31, begins as
shown in Fig 2.22:

Fig 2.22: Beethoven Sonata No 31, Op 110, beginning of 2nd movement

This movement is written in a trio form, meaning that it consists of three parts, where
the first part (whose beginning is shown in Fig 2.22) is repeated after the end of a
second part. We are interested in the analysis of the second part that extends between
bars 41 and 95. Fig 2.23 shows the second part in its entirety, for easy of reference.

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Fig 2.23: Beethoven Sonata No 31, Op 110, 2nd movement, 2nd part

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Before we continue, I recommend that you listen first to a recording of this exceptional
sonata. It encompasses the whole gamut of human emotions, from total despair to
exuberant victory. The second movement is a light needed respire from these profound
emotions.

Frankly speaking, a first look at the score in Fig 2.23, with its numerous and seemingly
random accidentals, makes one wonder if one could make a harmonic sense of this.
What was in Beethovens mind when he wrote this part? The solution to this puzzle is
obtained once one realizes that the pattern of four quavers per bar in the treble staff
consists of only two principal or real notes (by real we mean notes with vital
functionality) with the other two quavers being just ornaments attached to one of the
real notes. Fig 2.24 shows in detail this decomposition between principal and
ornamental notes for the first few bars of the piece:

Fig 2.24: principal and ornamental notes

Notice the pattern of ornamental notes attached to the real note: the first ornamental
note is one tone below the real note, the second ornamental note is one tone above the
real note. With the picture of Fig 2.24 in mind, we can now write down what Beethoven
had really in mind when he sat down to write this piece. The results are shown in Fig
2.25.

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Fig 2.25: What Beethoven had in mind

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There is not a single accidental or out of key tone in Figure 2.25, as we are going to
show shortly. Beethoven went from Fig 2.25 to the final score in Fig 2.23, by adding the
ornaments and converting the quarter notes into quavers, just to get into the fast tempo
mood of the piece. Figures 2.26a and 2.26b show the detailed modulation analysis of
Fig 2.25:

Fig 2.26a: modulation analysis of Fig 2.25

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Fig 2.26b: Modulation analysis of Fig 2.25 (continuation)

For example, if you take all the notes that appear in bars 41 and 42, both in the treble
and bass staff, and put them together one on top of the other, we get the 11th chord in
Ab Major without its root, as shown at the top left corner of Fig 2.26a. What is unusual,
perhaps, is Beethovens extensive use of extended chords beyond the 7th and 9th
chords and the 4-tone Neapolitan. For instance, the tones in bars 41-42 form an 11th
chord. The tones in bars 43-44 consist of the combination of the root of the Neapolitan
chord (Gb) and the 7th, 9th, 11th and 13th tones of the 13th chord of F minor, with the 3rd
tone missing. (Extended chords are defined in the same way as we defined the 7th and
9th chords in chapter 1.)

I should say now that although Fig 2.25 is clearly what Beethoven had in mind, the
harmonic analysis of Fig 2.25, given in Fig 2.26, is not the only possible valid scheme.

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There are some ambiguities in some assignments: My main assumption in arriving at
Fig 2.26 was that Beethoven used repeated patterns when he conceived the different
phrases of this section. For example, the first phrase, bars 41-48 consists of the
following pattern: bars 1 and 2 use a Major chord, bars 3 and 4 implement a Neapolitan
chord, bars 5 to 7 are used for a Major chord and the last eighth bar is used for a
resolution into a tonic Major chord. This pattern is repeated in the second phrase (bars
49-56), in the third phrase (bars 57-64) and in the fourth phrase (bars 65-72), the latter
having a slight variation of resolving into a minor key instead of a Major key. A slight
interruption of this pattern occurs in bars 80-83 where two Major chords are
implemented. But then again the next phrase, bars 76-83, goes back to the same
pattern. Finally, the last phrase, beginning in bar 84 uses initially the same pattern that
at the end is slightly modified to give room (in bars 90-95) for a chord that modulates
back into F minor to allow the completion of the trio, whose third part begins with the
tonic chord in F minor. Also, minor details, like the systematic omission of the root of
the chord at the beginning of each phrase, may be explained by the desire to make
more acceptable to the ear (and the brain) the fast transitions from one key to the next.
For instance, in bars 41-42 the root Eb of the chord is missing because the next two
bars, bars 43-44, are in the key of F minor, whose scale uses instead a natural E.

Figure 2.27 shows the graphical representation of this modulation analysis. It gives you
a better top view of the architecture of the piece (the forest) in addition to the individual
modulations (the trees).

Fig 2.27: modulation analysis of bars 41-95

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You can find the code that generated Fig 2.27, with all the chords, neap and keys
statements, in the Appendix. You can consider Figures 2.25, 2.26, 2.27 and the code in
the Appendix as giving four different views of the same piece. Try to correlate the
chords and neap statements in the Appendix with the corresponding features in
Figures 2.25, 2.26 and 2.27.

2.13 - Conclusion
The examples that we provided can only give a glimpse into the different modulation
styles of the classical composers, or, how they connected together one sentence to the
next to build a complete work of art. I hope that the previous Chapter 1 that provided
the foundations and this Chapter 2 with its numerous examples taken from piano
works will give you enough material to continue on your own solving Modulation
puzzles. The next chapter, Chapter 3, will provide you further examples, this time taken
from String Quartets. You can proceed now to Chapter 3 or, if you wish to begin solving
your own modulation puzzles using Python, you can go directly to Chapter 4, and later
go back to Chapter 3 for the analysis of string quartets.

References
[1] IMSLP, International Music Score Library Project at www.imslp.org

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2.14 - Appendix: All the chords and all the keys

The Appendix contains all the keys and chords statements used to generate the
plots for all the pieces analyzed in Chapter 2. In addition, it contains as necessary
added comments (in red) where the author considered that an explanation would be
helpful to the reader.
All the Sonata scripts refer to the 1st movement, unless otherwise stated .

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Scarlatti, piano sonata in F minor, K 481/L187

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Scarlatti, piano sonata in F minor, K 481/L187 (continuation)

75
J. S. Bach, Well Tempered Clavier, book 1, Prelude 5

76
J. S. Bach, Well Tempered Clavier, book 1, Prelude 5 (continuation)

77
J. S. Bach, Well Tempered Clavier, book 2, Prelude 1

78
J. S. Bach, Well Tempered Clavier, book 2, Prelude 1 (continuation)

79
J. S. Bach, Well Tempered Clavier, book 2, Prelude 1 (continuation)

80
J. S. Bach, Well Tempered Clavier, book 2, Prelude 1 (continuation)

81
J. S. Bach, Well Tempered Clavier, book 2, Prelude 1 (continuation)

82
Haydn, Sonata in D Major, Hob XVI No 37

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Haydn, Sonata in D Major, Hob XVI No 37 (continuation)

84
Haydn, Sonata in E flat Major, Hob XVI No 52

85
Haydn, Sonata in E flat Major, Hob XVI No 52 (continuation)

86
Haydn, Sonata in E flat Major, Hob XVI No 52 (continuation)

87
Mozart, Sonata in F Major, K 332

88
Mozart, Sonata in F Major, K 332 (continuation)

89
Mozart, Sonata in F Major, K 332 (continuation)

90
Mozart, Sonata in F Major, K 332 (continuation)

91
Mozart, Sonata in G Major, K 283

92
Mozart, Sonata in G Major, K 283 (continuation)

93
Beethoven, Sonata No 24 Op 78

94
Beethoven, Sonata No 24 Op 78 (continuation)

95
Beethoven, Sonata No 24 Op 78 (continuation)

96
Beethoven, Sonata No 30 Op 109

97
Beethoven, Sonata No 30 Op 109 (continuation)

98
Beethoven, Sonata No 30 Op 109 (continuation)

99
Beethoven, Sonata No 30 Op 109 (continuation)

100
An intriguing puzzle: Beethoven, Sonata No 31 Op 110
(2nd movement, bars 41-95)

101
An intriguing puzzle (continuation)

102
An intriguing puzzle (continuation)

103
An intriguing puzzle (continuation)

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Chapter 3: The practice string quartets

Abstract

This chapter presents a detailed analysis of modulation as


implemented in three string quartets by Haydn, Mozart and
Beethoven. As you will see, the modulation analysis of a string
quartet is no different from the modulation analysis of a piano piece.
Enjoy it!

2016 Jaime E Kardontchik. Modulation in Classical Music From piano to string quartets,
Chapter 3.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative
Commons Attribution - Non Commercial - No Derivatives 4.0 License, which permits
unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided the original
author and source are credited.

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Introduction
There is a new feature when you look at a string quartet score: In a piece written for the
piano the notes are spread vertically over two staffs, the treble and the bass staffs. In a
string quartet the notes are spread vertically over four staffs: the 1st violin, the 2nd violin,
the viola and the cello parts. We also find a new clef: in the piano we used the G-clef for
the treble and the F-clef for the bass. In a string quartet the viola uses a different clef,
the C-clef, and one has to get used to read also a piece of music in this new clef.

The C clef
Figure 3.1 shows the clefs of the violin, viola and cello. Look at the first bar of the staff.
The violin uses the G-clef: A note placed on the second line of the staff is read as a G.
The viola uses the C-clef: A note placed on the third line of the staff is read as a C. The
violoncello uses the F-clef: A note placed on the fourth line of the staff is read as an F.
The second bar of the staff shows the scale of C Major using the G-, C- and F-clefs.

Fig 3.1: The G-, C- and F- clefs.

You are used to the G- and F-clefs, the treble and bass clefs of the piano. Hint on how
to read the viola staff: Think that you are reading in the usual G-clef (the treble clef in
the piano) and every time you see a note move it up mentally one tone in the scale. So,
in the first bar in the viola staff you see a B? Move it up one tone and read it as a C,
which is the correct tone. At first it will be clumsy, but once you get used to this trick,
reading the viola staff will go as easy as reading the violin or cello parts. Without further
ado, let us go to our first string quartet.

3.1 Haydn, string quartet No 60 Op 76 No 1 in G Major


Figure 3.2 shows the first twenty bars of the 1st movement of Haydns string quartet.
Since this is our first time we meet a string quartet, we will begin (as in Chapter 1) with a
hand analysis of this section. However, we will also use this time the chords and
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keys statements. If you skipped Chapter 2, please review the definition of chords and
keys, given in section 2.1 as well as the definition of the Neapolitan chord, neap,
given in section 2.7.

Fig 3.2: Beginning of Haydns string quartet Op 76 No 1, 1st movement

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Haydn was usually very straightforward in his indications of the tonality of a piece and
the first two bars tell it all:

Fig 3.3: bars 1 and 2

The key signature has an F# sign. And the first chord of the piece is the tonic chord in
the G Major scale. Since the tones G, B and D can also be found in other keys, Haydn
adds a second chord in bar 1: the 7th chord in the G key: D F# - A C. And the third
chord is the resolution of the 7th chord: Haydn repeats the tonic chord in G Major at the
beginning of bar 2. We are indeed in the G Major key. The time signature is not C
(Common time, or 4/4) but Cut time (a C letter crossed by a vertical line), indicating
that from the metronome perspective we should consider that each bar consists of 2
beats, that is, the time signature is equivalent to 2/2, two half-notes per bar. The
significant chords are summarized in Fig 3.4:

Fig 3.4: chord analysis of bars 1 and 2

How would we indicate, using Python, the presence of the 7th chord in the 2nd beat of
bar 1? Simply, as follows:

It tells us that in the 2nd beat of bar 1 there is a 7th chord in the key of G (it could be G
Major or G minor). The four ones in [1, 1, 1, 1, 0] tell us that the following notes of the

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7th chord are found in the script: D F# - A C. The 0 indicates that the E (or Eb) note
is missing, that is, we do not have a 9th chord

After the whole ensemble defines the key, the cello begins now a solo, introducing the
main theme, shown in Fig 3.5:

Fig 3.5: cello staff bars 1-5

Notice the cello notes underscored by the red bracket underneath. We have here again
the 7th chord of the G Major key: D F# - A C. In a piece written for a solo string
instrument (like the Bachs sonatas for violin) this is the usual way used by the
composer to emphasize a key or modulate to a new key: insert the chords as arpeggios
as part of the melody. In terms of chords, the 7th chord appears as shown in Fig 3.6:

Fig 3.6: 7th chord implementation

In Python we would write this information as follows:

The first chords statement tells us that in bar 3, at the 2nd beat we have the tones A
and C of the 7th chord in the key of G. The second chords statement tells that in bar 4
4, at the 1st beat we have the tones F# and A of the 7th chord, and the last chords
statement says that in bar 4, at the 2nd beat we have the root D of the 7th chord.
However, an observer might have a different opinion: Perhaps, this observer will tell us
that we forgot to include one note in the analysis: the last eighth in bar 4 is an F#, which
should also be considered as part of the 7th chord used by Haydn to emphasize the key.
In this way of thinking, the true intentions of Haydn were:

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Fig 3.7: Haydns true intentions

Notice that in Fig 3.7 the eighth E note towards the end of bar 4 was deleted. The
corresponding chord implementation of the 7th chord would then be as shown in Fig 3.8:

Fig 3.8: Chords in bars 3-4 following the interpretation of Fig 3.7

The Python statements corresponding to Fig 3.8 are:

He has a valid point, since the quarter note F# at the end of bar 4 in Fig 3.5 leads to a
natural resolution into the root G of the tonic chord of G Major in bar 5. This makes
sense: Haydn was a very straightforward musician: If he put a 7th chord in a piece we
should usually expect this chord to be followed by a resolution into the tonic chord of the
key: The G tone at the beginning of bar 5 just represents the root of the tonic chord in
the key of G Major. In the final score, Haydn adds a eighth tone E preceding the F# at
the end of bar 4. This E tone does not have any harmonic meaning. However, it does
have a melodic or rhythmic meaning: the 2nd beat in bar 4 repeats the short motif of the
1st beat in bar 4: a quarter note followed by two eighth notes:

At the end of bar 5 we see in the cello part a C#. Clearly a C# note does not belong to
the key of G Major, so Haydn is abandoning the G Major key in bar 5. The piece from
the beginning of bar 1 till the beginning of bar 5 was clearly in the key of G Major, so we
add the following Python statement to conclude the analysis of the first four bars of the
piece:

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This statement says that from the 1st beat in bar 1 to the 1st beat of bar 5 the piece was
in the key of G Major. Figure 3.9 gives all the chords and keys statements
corresponding to the segment we just analyzed, comprising bars 1-5:

Fig 3.9a: chords and keys in bars 1-5

An equivalent graphical representation of the modulation content of the piece so far is


shown in Fig 3.9b:

Fig 3.9b: graphical representation of the modulation analysis of bars 1-5

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Try to correlate every feature that you see in the graph, Fig 3.9b, with the Python
statements given in Fig 3.9a: what is the feature in the graph that represents the keys
statement? What are the features in the graph that represent the four chords
statements?

Let us move now to the C# note at the end of bar 5 that clearly does not belong to the G
Major key. This C# is followed by a D in bar 6:

Fig 3.10: viola and cello parts, bar 5 and beginning of bar 6

These two notes lead us naturally to think that Haydn is modulating to the D Major key.
The chord needed for such modulation would be the 7th or 9th chord in the key of D
Major:

Well, this is what we have in the cello part. In chords and keys notation we have:

The root of the 9th chord (A) is missing, but its most important tones are there. Notice
the convention we usually use: When we see a 7th or 9th chord in a bar, we do not
assume that we already moved to the corresponding key: these chords are only an
indication of a potential move to a new key, but only what we see in the score after that
chord will tell us if we indeed moved to the new key or not. We have to see that indeed
the 7th or 9th chord resolved into the tonic chord of the corresponding key. It does not
have to be the whole tonic chord. In our case, it is just the root of the tonic chord of D
Major (the D tone). Hence, in the keys statement we indicate that the piece entered the
D Major key at the 1st beat in bar 6. But why do we say in the keys statement above that
Haydn stayed in the D Major key only till the 2nd beat of the same bar 6? Because in the
next bar, bar 7, the viola plays a natural C, which does not belong to the D Major key:

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Fig 3.11: score, bars 6 to 11

Are we going back to the G Major key? It does not seem so: at the beginning of bar 8
the viola plays a G#. Looking for a close key with a G# (and a natural C), the first thing
that comes to mind is the A minor key, which has a G# in its harmonic scale. So, do we
have a 7th chord in the A minor key in the score?

Yes, indeed: In the 2nd beat of bar 7 the viola begins playing this 7th chord in arpeggio
format:

Notice that there is one note in the viola part in bar 8 that does not belong to the 7th
chord: the F# eighth towards the end of the 2nd beat. We could say that what Haydn had
in mind for the viola in bar 8 was:

Fig 3.12: What Haydn had in mind

But he replaced the last G# quarter note by two eighths, F# and G#, to repeat the motif
of the 1st beat in the same bar and also to create a smoother transition towards the

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resolution into the tonic chord with a graduate ascent E F# - G# - A using the melodic
scale of A minor. See Fig 1.32c that we repeat here below:

Figure 1.32c: melodic ascent from E to A in the A minor key

Does this 7th chord in A minor resolve into the tonic chord in the key of A minor? Yes: In
the 1st beat of bar 9 we see in the viola part the tones A C. Hence, we write a keys
statement that the piece entered the A minor key in bar 9:

But, why do we say that it stays in the A minor key only for the duration of this beat?
Because the viola plays at the end of bar 9 a quarter note in F# and in bar 10 a clear
and long natural G note: Neither of them belong to the A minor scale, indicating that we
are abandoning the A minor key. Are we going back to the G Major key? Where is the
7th chord of the G Major key indicating this transition? Well, the viola uses the complete
bar 9 to play the 7th chord of G Major (in arpeggio form, of course):

Hence, the long G note played by the viola in bar 10 is just the root of the tonic chord in
the G Major key. Now, the 2nd violin and the cello join the conversation. They reinforce
first the new key by playing the 7th chord of G Major between bars 11 and 12:

And they stay in the G Major key until the end of bar 13, where a C# quarter note played
by the 2nd violin indicates that the composer leaves the G Major key. Hence, we write:

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Fig 3.13: score, bars 12 to 16

The C# tone played by the 2nd violin at the end of bar 13, followed by a long D tone in
the next bar, suggest that the composer is modulating to the key of D Major. And
indeed, the whole bar 13 is an implementation (by the 2nd violin and the cello) of the 9th
chord of D Major:

The 9th chord of D Major is followed by the tonic chord of D Major in bar 14, D F#.
Hence, in the 1st beat of bar 14 the piece enters the key of D Major. However, not for
long, since at the end of this bar we see the viola coming with a G# tone, which clearly
does not belong to the D Major key. Hence, we write:

That is, the piece stays in the D Major key just for only one beat. The viola follows the
G# tone with an A tone in bar 15, which suggests a modulation to A Major or A minor.
Since the viola continues with a natural C (and notice also that the 1st violin joins the
conversation with a natural C quarter note in bar 15), our best guess is a move to the A
minor key. Looking for the 7th chord of the A minor key we find it indeed in the 2nd beat
of bar 14, played by the 1st violin (E, the root), the viola (G#, the 3rd tone) and the 2nd
violin and the cello (D, the 7th tone):

The 7th chord is resolved in the 1st beat of bar 15, where the 1st violin and the viola play
the tonic chord of A minor (A C). The 7th chord of A minor is applied again by these
instruments to reinforce the key in bars 15 and 16:

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At the end of bar 16 the 1st violin plays an eighth in F#. Is Haydn moving to another
key? We do not think so: the 1st violin plays moves from E to A using again a fragment
of the melodic scale of A minor: E F# - G# - A. The 7th chord that was played by the 1st
violin and the viola in bars 15 and 16 is resolved in the first beat of bar 17 in the tonic
chord of A minor (A C). But at the end of bar 17 the 1st violin plays an F# followed by a
long half-note G in bar 17. These are clear signals that the composer leaves the A
minor key. Hence, we write:

Fig 3.14: score, bars 17 to 21

The F# followed by a long G hint at a move to the G Major key. Looking for the 7th chord
in the G Major key that should anticipate this move, we indeed find it in bar 17: Bar 17 is
a whole implementation of this chord by the 1st violin and the viola:

This 7th chord is resolved into the tonic chord of G Major in bar 18 (G B). After this we
do not see any more accidentals. Hence, we write:

We do see twice an implementation of the 9th chord of G Major (without the root) in bars
19 and 21, used to reinforce the key, and we write them down:

The complete modulation analysis of bars 1-21 is shown graphically in Fig 3.15.

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Fig 3.15: Modulation analysis of bars 1-21

Now it is time for you to do some homework.

If we do not have the score of this piece yet, download it from the IMSLP web site [1]
and listen to a recording of this piece on the web. Then, continue the modulation
analysis of the first movement or part of it - until the end of its first part (bar 88). Write
down all the 7th and 9th chords you find using chords statements. Indicate as well the
key in which the piece is at a given moment using keys statements. Hint: around bar
40 and between bars 60-70 you will also find a few implementations of the Neapolitan
chord: use the neap statement. You can compare or check your results with the
authors results, which can be found in the Appendix to this chapter. You can use Fig
3.16, with the complete solution displayed graphically, to orient yourself in the solution
of this puzzle. Looking at Fig 3.16 answer the following question: which keys does the
composer use in this piece? The answer will help you write down from the start all the
7th and 9th chords used by Haydn and have them already at hand when you analyze the
score.

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Fig 3.16: Haydn string quartet, 1st movement. Modulation analysis of bars 1-88

It will help your analysis of Haydns quartet if you know what an appoggiatura is:
Appoggiaturas are ornaments added to a principal note, that look like shown in Fig 3.17
(left) and are meant to be executed as in (right).

Fig 3.17: Left: The appoggiatura. Right: Its actual implementation. For this example,
assume we are in the key of G Major.

Classical musicians used appoggiaturas quite frequently. As written on the left it is


clear, for example, that the G# is just a chromatic ornament and should not be used as
indicator of an impending modulation. Publishers of music scores (and the composers
themselves) were more worried about how performers will play the piece and not on

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how they will analyze it. Hence, on a score you will usually find the appoggiatura directly
as it is actually implemented. This creates a problem if you want to analyze the piece.
You will have to use good judgment to decide whether the G# quarter note (as seen on
the right in Fig 3.17) is an ornament or not. Look at the context: in what key was the
piece before meeting suddenly the G# quarter note? In what key appears to be the
piece after this G# note? Does this G#, together with the notes played by the other
instruments create reasonable chords? Or does it introduce an unpleasant fleeting
dissonance? The latter a fleeting dissonant chord - is a clear indication of an
appoggiatura. You will find many appoggiaturas in Haydns score (that, of course,
appear just after the instructor left you on your own, after finishing his analysis in bar
21.) For example, you will find that the 1st violin, the 2nd violin and the viola play
appoggiaturas in bar 23, as shown in Fig 3.18:

Fig 3.18: Haydn string quartet bars 22-24. Appoggiaturas in bar 23

For the purpose of a modulation analysis the score in Fig 3.18 should be read as shown
in Fig 3.19:

Fig 3.19: Haydn string quartet bars 22-24. Appoggiaturas in bar 23


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However, another observer could re-interpret the score literally: Looking again at Fig
3.18, bar 23, one could interpret it as short-lived modulations away from the main key of
G Major:

(9th chord of A minor, resolving into the tonic triad chord of A minor).

(9th chord of G minor, resolving into the tonic triad chord of G Major). The cellos
function in bar 23 would then be to maintain the listener centered in the main key of G
Major with the long whole G notes, while the other instruments venture briefly into other
keys (musicians would call it a pedal note).

3.2 Mozart, string quartet No 21 K 575 in D Major


Fig 3.20 shows the first bars of Mozarts string quartet No 21, first movement. Have the
score of the quartet from the IMSLP web site [1] and listen to a recording of this piece
on the web.

Fig 3.20: Mozart string quartet No 21 K575, 1st movement, initial bars

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Notice that in bar 3, 1st violin staff, the small A note attached to the whole note G is not
an appoggiatura: This small note is crossed by an oblique stroke, whereas the
appoggiatura is not. Its actual time value is not a half-note: it is an ornament that should
be played very short. Figure 3.21 shows the modulation analysis of this piece:

Fig 3.21: Mozart string quartet, 1st movement. Modulation analysis of bars 1-78

If we compare Fig 3.21 (Mozarts) with Fig 3.16 (Haydns), we do not see at first sight
significant differences in the modulation architecture of the two pieces. A composers
style is not defined by one feature only, in this case the overall modulation architecture.
But if we listen to both quartets we will notice that Haydn had a tendency to use short
harmonic motifs (the harmony is what is makes Haydns music pleasant). Mozart, on
the other hand, uses long melodic phrases (the melodic content is what makes
Mozarts music so beautiful). Mozarts violin sings, like arias in an opera. Haydns
violin does not. Another feature that distinguishes Mozart is the ornamentation, the
way Mozart has to add small movements around the main melody line using ornamental
notes, sometimes so many that you are lost in the whirl of sounds and you end up not
knowing in what key you really are. One such example can be found in this first
movement in the section that begins in bar 47 in the key of A Major and ends in bar 61,
again in the key of A Major, shown for easy of reference in Fig 3.22. We are going to
analyze this segment in detail: it helps in understanding its modulation content.
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Fig 3.22: Mozart, string quartet, bars 47-62

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The overall modulation picture of this segment is shown in Fig 3.23, with some
additional bars at the beginning and end to provide context.

Fig 3.23: Mozart, string quartet, modulation analysis in bars 47-61

For example, from the segment of the score shown in Fig 3.22, bar 47 suggests that we
are in the key of A Major, since we see G# sharps in the two violins and a couple of
times a natural D in the 1st violin. The accompaniment of the viola and cello completes
the chord 7th chord E G# - B D. Hence, we feel confident that we are indeed in the A
Major key. Looking at Fig 3.23, it shows also the modulation content of a few bars
ahead of our initial bar 47. This figure shows the bar 47 was preceded by many 7th
chords in the A key. Hence, this proves definitely that we begin this fragment in the A
Major key. Looking now at the end of the segment in Fig 3.22, the last two bars, bars 61
and 62 are a plain implementation of the tonic chord A C# - E A of the key of A
Major (in arpeggio form). Hence, the segment shown in Fig 3.22 indeed begins and
ends in the A Major key.

Proceeding further we find in bar 49 several accidentals, notes that do not belong to the
scale of A Major, that might indicate a change of key: we see a short sixteenth E# in the

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1st violin and a longer quarter note D# in the viola. Usually in a classical piece of music,
very short notes followed one semitone up by a longer note are just ornaments. Hence,
we ignore the E# accidental: it does not indicate an incoming change of key. However,
the D# in the viola is a quarter note that we cannot ignore. Since we were in the A Major
key, the addition of a D# would move us to the E Major key. So we look for a 7th or 9th
chord in the E key (Major or minor) and indeed we find it in the second half of bar 49:

And indeed this 9th chord resolves in the next bar into the E Major tonic chord:

As shown by the presence of the tones comprising this chord (E G# - B) in the viola,
2nd violin and 1st violin, respectively. However, the 2nd violin has a natural G in the
second half of bar 50 that does not belong to the key of E Major. Hence, in our keys
statement above we indicate that the piece entered the E Major key in the first beat of
bar 50 and left this key immediately: It only stayed in E Major during the first beat of bar
50. Since a natural G suggests that we dropped from E Major to D Major we look for the
7th or 9th chord of D Major and indeed we find it in the second beat of bar 50:

And indeed this chord resolves properly into the tonic chord of D Major in the next beat:
the 1st beat of bar 51:

When we say properly, it means that the 3rd tone of the 9th chord (played by the viola),
C#, goes up one semitone to D (see the viola part), the 7th tone of the 9th chord, G, goes
down one semitone to F# (see the 2nd violin part) and, less important, the short
sixteenth note of the 9th tone of the chord (B) goes down one tone to the A (in the 1st
violin part). Again, the piece does not stay for long in the new key of D Major: we see in
the 2nd violin part, at the second beat of bar 51 a long quarter note natural F, which
clearly does not belong to key of D Major. Hence, in our keys statement we wrote that
the piece stayed in the D Major key only for the duration of the 1st beat of bar 51.

Now we have a problem in bar 51: the F played by the 2nd violin is natural, however, the
1st violin plays twice a short sixteenth C# note in the same bar 51. We guess that this
C# tone being carried by a very short sixteenth note that is followed by a long quarter
D note is just an ornament with no harmonic content. Hence, the natural F and the
absence of any other accidental in the other instruments suggest that we are moving
either to the C Major or A minor keys. Looking at the viola part in bar 52 we see twice

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long quarter notes G#. Hence, we guess that we are moving to the A minor key that has
a G# in its scale. And indeed we find the 9th chord in A minor several times:

Which finally resolve into the tonic chord of A Major in the 2nd beat of bar 53:

Let us remember again what we said in Chapter 1 when analyzing a sonata by Haydn:
classical composers had a tendency to resolve a section in a minor key using the tonic
chord of the Major key with the same tonic tone (for instance, most but not all - of
Bachs pieces in his Well-Tempered Clavier book written in minor keys end with the
tonic chord in the Major key.) This seems to be part of the general philosophy of
classical musicians to end a piece into a bright or optimistic mood.

Why do we say (according to what we wrote in our keys statement above) that the
composer resolved into the tonic chord of A Major in the 2nd beat of bar 53? Well, this
was a tough decision with several roadblocks in the middle: at the end of bar 52 we saw
a short sixteenth D# tone played by the 1st violin that we concluded that it was just an
ornament to the following eighth E at the beginning of bar 53. This was the easy part.

But now in bars 53 and 54 we see many accidental notes, notes that do not belong to
the key of A Major: Do they signal modulations to other keys? Or are they just
accidentals, notes foreign to the A Major key but used for other non-harmonic
functions? In order to shorten the discussion let us posit first what I think that Mozart
had in mind in Fig 3.24a:

Fig 3.24a: What Mozart had in mind when he wrote bars 53-54

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The actual implementation is shown again in Fig 3.24b, but now with all the accidentals
and their actual meaning or functionality:

Fig 3.24b: Actual implementation with the accidentals and their meaning or functionality

None of the accidentals in bars 53 and 54 has a harmonic functionality or modulation


intent. We already introduced in Chapter 1, when discussing a piano sonata by Mozart
the meaning of ornamental notes (see Fig 1.41). These are notes added to impart
some slight movement, sometimes back-and-forth, around the actual real tones, to
avoid a feeling of repetitiveness. In this case, the ornamental notes are called
chromatic or colorful because they do not belong to the key: they are not part of the
scale of A Major.

What about passing notes? Sometimes we want to go from one note of the scale, say,
X, to another note of the scale, say, Y, that is not contiguous to X and we want this
ascent or descent movement from X to Y to be smoother, eliminating large steps. For
this purpose we fill-in the space between X and Y with passing notes. For instance, in
bar 53 the 1st violin wanted to descent from E to D using a more gradual descent. There
is no note in the A Major scale between E to D, they are already contiguous tones in the
scale. But if we want to make the descent even more gradual we can fill-in the space
between E and D with a foreign tone, in this case D#. D# is a passing chromatic note.

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Mozart loved embellishing passages with many chromatic ornaments and chromatic
passing notes. Other classical composers used them too, but not so repeatedly as
Mozart. This is one of the features that enable you to identify from first hearing a piece
as belonging to Mozart and not to Haydn.

What are suspension notes? A suspension note is a note that is prolonged on


purpose and that delays or suspends the execution of the true note to a later time.
Notice that in Fig 3.24a (What Mozart had in mind), the 1st violin plays in bar 53 a
quarter node D. In the final score, this quarter note is converted into a half-note (or
minim) displacing the next C. We say that the half note D, suspends, displaces or
delays the execution of the real or principal tone, C#. Why do we call it real? Because
it is the only tone that has harmonic meaning: together with the A in the viola and the E
in the 2nd violin, it completes the intended tonic chord A C# - E.

Let us continue. At the end of bar 54 the viola does something strange: instead of
staying in the E tone (that is part of the tonic chord of A Major) and repeating the E tone
in bar 55 to get (together with the 1st and 2nd violin) a repetition or reassertion of the
tonic chord on A Major, it begins a chromatic ascent using a E# quarter tone at the end
of bar 54 and ending with a F# quarter note at the beginning of bar 55 that destroys the
nice tonic chord in A Major that we would otherwise obtain. What was Mozarts purpose
in having the viola play an F# quarter note at the beginning of bar 55, instead of an E?
Mozart does not want to settle yet. The violas F# quarter note provides a lead to the
entrance of the cello at the 2nd beat of bar 55 to repeat the F# (the preceding sixteenth
E# note played by the cello is again just an ornament with no harmonic connotation). At
the same time, the 1st violin plays an A# quarter note in the 2nd beat of bar 55 indicating
a coming modulation. Do we have a 7th chord here? Yes:

This is a 7th chord in the key of B (that could lead to B Major or B minor), and this time
Mozart decides to resolve into the tonic chord of the B minor key:

But Mozart does not stay for long in the B minor key. Already in the 2nd beat of bar 56
the 1st violin plays a G# quarter note, which clearly does not belong to the B minor key.
Do we have a new 7th chord there? Yes:

And this 7th chord is resolved into the tonic chord of the A Major key in the 1st beat of
bar 57:

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However, Mozart does not stay long in the A Major key: Beginning at the 2nd beat of bar
57, he begins playing repeatedly the 9th chord of the A minor key:

Notice that beginning at the 2nd beat of bar 57 the viola begins playing a repeated long F
natural tone: an F natural tone is the 9th tone of the 9th chord of A minor (an F# would
have been the 9th tone of a 9th chord in A Major). And then Mozart launches into a
frenzy of chromatic ascent in the 2nd violin, viola and cello parts using 7th chords:

Fig 3.25: chord content of bars 59-61

(One could also interpret the first beat of bar 59 as an implementation of an


appoggiatura by the four instruments, which perhaps makes more sense: it feels like
making a short pause, or rest, before the final attack using the last three chords.)

At the same time, the 1st violin keeps reminding us of the target by repeatedly playing
the root A of the tonic chord of A Major, until he finally enters the key of A Major in bar
61:

The chords shown in Fig 3.25, bars 59 and 60, do not appear in Fig 3.23, since they do
not have any modulation intent. They are treated the same way a simple chromatic
scale would be treated: a plain chromatic scale would not appear on the graph either.
As usual, the complete list of keys and chords statements corresponding to bars 1 to 78
is included in the Appendix.

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3.3 Beethoven, string quartet No 4 Op 18 No 4 in C minor
Fig 3.26 shows the first bars of Beethovens string quartet Op 18 No 4, first movement.

Fig 3.26: Beethoven, string quartet Op 18 No 4, 1st movement, initial bars

Beethovens first six quartets Op 18 were published in 1801, only a few years after
Haydns 60th quartet (1797) and Mozarts 21th quartet (1789), we previously discussed.
It was a difficult mission for a young composer to write a string quartet even more, six
string quartets after the Masters, Haydn and Mozart, had taken the art of the string
quartet to perfection, and, of all places, in Vienna, the home of Haydn and Mozart.

Listen to a recording of this beautiful quartet on the web. You have now all the tools to
analyze this piece on your own. Have the score of this quartet from the IMSLP web site
[1]. You can find a general hint in Fig 3.27, which gives a birds eye view of the overall
modulation architecture.

In case of necessity, you have all the chords and all the keys in the Appendix. However,
try to do your own work without looking at the detailed results in the Appendix. To help
you in this task I include below further hints with zoom-ins of the modulation results in
bars 1-25 (part A of the score, Fig 3.28a), bars 26-41 (part B, Fig 3.28b), bars 42-52
(part C, Fig 3.28c), bars 53-69 (part D, Fig 3.28d) and bars 70-78 (part E, Fig 3.28e).

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Fig 3.27: Beethoven string quartet, 1st movement. Modulation analysis of bars 1-78

Fig 3.28a: Beethoven string quartet. Bars 1-25 (part A in the score)

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Fig 3.28b: Beethoven string quartet. Bars 26-41 (part B in the score)

Fig 3.28c: Beethoven string quartet. Bars 42-52 (part C in the score)

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Fig 3.28d: Beethoven string quartet. Bars 53-69 (part D in the score)

Fig 3.28e: Beethoven string quartet. Bars 70-78 (part E in the score)

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Passing notes or modulation indicators?
It will be instructive to take a closer look at the score, to understand the final modulation
graphs of Fig 3.28. For example, when one looks at Fig 3.28d, part D of the score, bars
53-62, one gets the impression that we are traversing quiet waters: from the beginning
of part D, bar 53, till bar 62 the piece seems to be always in the Eb Major key. However,
if one looks at the score, from bar 58 till bar 62 we see quite a number of accidentals, or
tones that do not belong to the key of Eb Major:

Fig 3.29: Beethoven string quartet, 1st movement, Part D, bars 58-61

Let us begin with the accidentals in bar 59: In the 3rd beat the 2nd violin plays a Gb
quarter note and the cello a natural A quarter note. Are they an indication of an
incoming modulation to another key? Well, together with the 1st violin and the viola they
form a 9th chord in the Bb minor key (without the root), which could indicate a
modulation towards the Bb Major key, which is quite close to the Eb Major key:

Fig 3.30a: 3rd beat of bar 59, 9th chord in the key of Bb minor

However, the next chord, in the last beat of bar 59, instead of being the tonic chord in
the key of Bb Major, is instead the 7th chord of the Eb Major key:

Fig 3.30b: 4th beat of bar 59, 7th chord in the key of Eb Major
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And this 7th chord in the key of Eb Major is indeed resolved into the tonic chord of Eb
Major at the beginning of the next bar, bar 60. Furthermore, a closer look at the 2nd
violin and cello parts in bar 59, shows us that that the Gb and natural A quarter notes do
play a role, but a different one: the 2nd violin is performing a gradual scaled descent
from an Ab in the first beat of bar 59 to a Eb in the first beat of bar 60. Similarly, the
cello is doing a gradual scaled descent from a Bb tone to a G. But we do not have
enough tones in the key of Eb Major for these gradual scaled descents, so we have to
introduce tones that are foreign to the key: The Gb quarter note in the 2nd violin and the
natural A quarter note in the cello are chromatic passing notes. They do not play any
modulation role, even if together with the 1st violin and the viola they create a nice
sounding harmony of a 9th chord in the key of Bb minor (which seems to have been the
purpose of the composer when he put them together vertically, in the same beat.)

Having finished with the chromatic passing quarter notes in bar 59, now the purpose of
the natural E notes played by the 1st and 2nd violins in bars 58 and 61 using shorter
notes (eighth notes) seems clear: they should be just chromatic passing notes.
However, (see Fig 3.31a), in all the three cases where the natural E eighth note
appears it is followed by the tonic chord of the key of F minor!

Fig 3.31a: Is the natural E driving a fleeting modulation into the F minor key?

Perhaps, Beethoven was thinking about moving to the F minor key later on (what it
clearly finally does in bar 62), and he was introducing early hints by using the 3rd tone of
the 7th chord of F minor: (C) E (G) (Bb). The effect is subtle the first two times in

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bar 58, but it is unmistakable at the last beat of bar 61, Fig 3.31b, where the eighth note
E played by the 2nd violin is part, vertically, of the 7th chord of F minor:

Fig 3.31b: last beat of bar 61, 7th chord in the F minor key (implemented in the score
using eighth notes) is followed by a resolution into the tonic chord of F minor

And indeed this 7th chord resolves into the tonic chord of the F minor key at the last
chord of bar 61, marking the transition to the F minor key that we see in Fig 3.28d. In
fact, one could even say that the last three beats in bar 61 are already in the F minor
key, since looking at them one can see that they all implement repeated tonic chords of
the F minor key.

3.4 - Conclusion
We have come to the end of this journey into Modulation in Classical Music. Of course,
the few examples that we provided can only give a glimpse into the different modulation
styles of the classical composers, or, how they connected together one sentence to the
next to build a complete work of art. I hope that Chapter 1 that provided the
foundations and Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 with their numerous examples will give
you enough material to continue on your own solving Modulation puzzles and increase
your interest in listening to classical music and reading the scores: listening and reading
the scores is like reading a good novel. If you want to go further, you have now a tool
(see next Chapter) that will help you learn modulation from the scores and visualize it.

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And, who knows, perhaps begin composing on your own, even in other styles.
Remember: Gershwin was a classically trained musician, and we would not have his
Rhapsody in Blue without his training in classical music.

References
[1] IMSLP, International Music Score Library Project at www.imslp.org

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3.5 - Appendix: All the chords and all the keys

The Appendix contains all the keys and chords statements used to generate the
plots for all the pieces analyzed in Chapter 3. In addition, it contains as necessary
added comments (in red) where the author considered that an explanation would be
helpful to the reader.
All the String Quartet scripts refer to the 1st movement.

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Haydn String Quartet Op 76 No 1

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Haydn, String Quartet Op 76 No 1 (continuation)

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Haydn, String Quartet Op 76 No 1 (continuation)

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Mozart String Quartet K575

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Mozart, String Quartet K 575 (continuation)

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Mozart, String Quartet K 575 (continuation)

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Beethoven String Quartet Op 18 No 4

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Beethoven, String Quartet Op 18 No 4 (continuation)

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Beethoven, String Quartet Op 18 No 4 (continuation)

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Beethoven, String Quartet Op 18 No 4 (continuation)

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Beethoven, String Quartet Op 18 No 4 (continuation)

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Beethoven, String Quartet Op 18 No 4 (continuation)

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Chapter 4: The Modulation Puzzle

Abstract

The previous chapters provided the foundations to understand Modulation


in classical music. Analyzing a score, trying to understand the intentions of
the composer, is like solving a puzzle. Solving puzzles can be very fun and
instructive, both for adults and kids. Good structured puzzles have three
main ingredients: a) the person has to think, b), he/she can enter the
solution to the different questions in the puzzle in an effective and fast way
and c) the complete solution must appear graphically: One can get new
insights by looking at the whole picture and sometimes one can catch a
wrong answer by seeing that a word just does not fit in the puzzle (Think
about a good crossword puzzle). A simple program written in plain vanilla
Python achieves these objectives for the Modulation Puzzle. The details
of the program are explained in this paper. Python is for free and can easily
be installed in any computer. You do not have to know Python to solve
modulation puzzles: just use the program (or the App, as a young kid
would say.) You do not have to be a student to be interested in solving
Modulation Puzzles: you could just be a trained musician interested in
sharpening your skills or a neural computing scientist interested in the area
of MIR (Music Information Retrieval) or in designing a neural network that
extracts and uses the modulation feature to analyze music styles.

2016 Jaime E Kardontchik. Modulation in Classical Music From piano to string quartets,
Chapter 4.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative
Commons Attribution - Non Commercial - No Derivatives 4.0 License, which permits
unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided the original
author and source are credited.

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Introduction
You learnt the grammar of classical music in Chapter 1 and how the great composers
applied the grammar in practice in Chapters 2 and 3. You saw how the author used a
Python computer program (App) he developed to analyze both simple and complex
works. You learnt the two main commands of the App: chords and keys, and you
understood how to read the graphics. Now it is time for you to use the Application.

4.1 Needed information


First you need to add two more bits of information to the file (The file is the place where
you enter all the statements. More will be said about the file later on.) You perhaps
already noticed that the program knows where to place every chord in the plot: at the
first beat of the bar, at the second or so on. For this purpose the program has to know
how many beats there are in one bar. If, for example, there are 2 beats per bar, you
enter this information at the beginning of the script by writing:

config.beats_per_bar = 2
Then, you begin typing the chords and keys statements in any order you wish. What
happens if in the middle of the piece the composer changes the number of beats per
bar (Beethoven does this frequently in his late works)? Every time there is a change in
the number of beats per bar you have to enter a new statement, for example, if at a
given bar the composer changes to 3 beats per bar, you enter:

config.beats_per_bar = 3
And then continue adding chords and keys statements as needed, in any order, for
the following bars.

The second bit of information you have to tell the App is needed by the plotter: The
plotter has to know from which bar of the piece till which bar of the piece to plot. Of
course, the plotter could find this automatically and you could then zoom-in in any
region you want. However, the author considered that, sometimes, you just would want
to plot a particular well defined section. For instance, your teacher gave you an
assignment to analyze the piece between bars 5 and 10 and you got too enthusiastic
and analyzed the piece between bars 1 and 100. You tell the plot what section of the
piece to plot by writing these two statements:

from_bar = 5

to_bar = 10

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You can write these two statements anywhere and in any order, but usually, for
neatness, you write them together at the end of the file, just after you finished entering
your last statements of chords and keys. And these are all the commands you have
to type.

You might wonder why the command that sets the number of beats per bar looks so
complicated? Why do we need the prefix config? Could we just have written:

beats_per_bar = 2 WRONG!

The reasons have to do with Python (and with any other computer language that uses
calls to functions to implement an App). Formally, chords and keys are functions
and every time you write, for example,

chords(9, 2, [1, 0, 1, 1, 0], D)


you are making a call to the function named chords, and the numbers or whatever
else is included between the parentheses - are called the arguments of the function.
The function chords has to know how many beats per bar are in a bar in order to put
the chord at the right place in the plot. So, you have two possibilities: Either

1) you enter this information every time you make a call to this function, and this
means adding one more argument to the function, for instance, if the number
of beats per bar is 3, you enter:
chords(3,9,2,[1,0,1,1,0],D)
chords(3,10,1,[1,1,1,1,0],A)
chords(3,10,3,[0,1,1,1,1],E)
Or,

2) You decide to convert this information (beats_per_bar) into a global variable


and you will never ever have to enter the number 3 every time you call the
function chords (or the function keys that also needs this information.)

Clearly, after you entered the number 3 many times (a composer does not usually
change the time signature very often) you get tired and you will use the second option:
you make the variable beats_per_bar global by adding the prefix config. The
functions chords and keys will look for this needed information (the number of beats
per bar) somewhere else and not in the arguments of the function - and you will never
ever have to enter again this information every time that you call the functions chords
and keys.

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Summarizing: If you had to solve My first assignment puzzle (see Chapter 2), by
yourself the following is all the information you would have to type in the file in order to
solve that problem:

Figure 4.1: All the statements you have to type in order to solve My first assignment

4.2 The files


Of course a file needs some additional information in order to run properly and not only
the information that appears in Figure 4.1. For instance, there are some things that the
system has to know, for instance, where to look for the actual content of the functions
chords and keys. There is no magic: You have to define somewhere what exactly
chords and keys do and how they do it, otherwise Python will not know how to use
chords and keys every time that you call the functions.

Do not panic. You do not have to be a computer expert to solve Modulation Puzzles
and analyze a piece of music. And I would not even recommend you to waste your
music time to learn Python, unless you are a kid: kids will begin anyway to look what is
under the hood and their parents will be delighted to see their children learn music and
a computer language at the same time: Python is very easy to learn and can be used
for any application you can imagine. In what follows I will assume that you are not a kid.
Hence, you will begin with a prepared file that will look as shown in Figure 4.2:

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Figure 4.2: Template of the file to be used for your work

You will use this template and fill-it up with your config.beats_per_bar, chords and
keys statements. You then run the App, as a kid would say.

Figure 4.3 shows a filled-in template example. This filled-in template corresponds to
Beethovens piano sonata No 24, more specifically the first nine bars of its first
movement (we analyzed a larger section of this sonata in Chapter 2). I took this
example, because Beethoven begins this sonata with a time signature of 2/4 (2 beats
per bar) and after only four bars he changes the time signature to 4/4 (4 beats per bar).
Hence, you can see here also the use of the statement config.beats_per_bar twice in
the script.

In Python, what you see in Figure 4.3 is called generically the Main file, but it is given
a specific name that usually has some relation with its purpose. The specific name I
used is: beethoven24.py. You can give to this file any name you wish, as long as you
finish it with the suffix .py. All the files used by Python must end with this suffix.

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4.3 The Main file

Figure 4.3: The Main file: beethoven24.py

How to run the App depends on your computer. It could be as simple as opening a
Command Prompt window, going to the folder where the Main file is and type:

and the following plot, shown in Figure 4.4, would immediately appear:

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Figure 4.4: plot generated by running the App

Look at the plot and try to correlate every feature you see in the plot with a statement
you wrote in the beethoven24.py program. In order to run successfully this App you will
have to put in the same folder two additional files: I called these two files
MODULATION and config (The suffix .py should be actually included in the
names). The file MODULATION contains the code of all the functions used by the Main
file. The Main file uses three functions: two of them you already know, chords and
keys. The third function (at the end of the Main file) is called texts. The file config
contains the definitions of all the global variables used by the Main and MODULATION
files. The purpose of the first two lines of the script:

is to tell Python to use the information contained in these two files when it runs the Main
file. The contents of these files are given next.

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4.4 The MODULATION file

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158
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4.5 The config file

Optional exercise for code-writing enthusiasts: Using the function neap in the
MODULATION file as template, create a new function, called augt, to include the
augmented triad in the toolbox.

4.6 Python installation


And this is all. Of course, in order to run the App you will have to install Python in your
computer. You can download Python for free from the website:

https://www.python.org/

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You do not need the scientific package Numpy. On purpose, I did not use anything in
the scripts that would justify the use of the more complex package Numpy. You can
download just plain vanilla Python.

You might need some initial help to set all the above in your computer. But Python is so
popular that I believe that there are now even commercial hassle-free basic packages
that you can download for free (or almost free) and will do the installation automatically.

4.7 Some thoughts


The author believes that the present teaching of music theory over-emphasizes the
static, vertical, lifeless aspects of Harmony (the study of chords, with all their
innumerable variations of intervals and inversions) at the expense of the time-like, fluid
and dynamical aspects of the music language: the building of sentences and the
transitions from one sentence to the next (modulation).

Solving Modulation Puzzles could become an integral part of the musical education of
young musicians. Of course, I would not suggest giving a kid Beethovens Sonata No 30
as an assignment. But teachers have so many simple and nice classical pieces of so
many good composers (as well as popular folklore music) available to them as an
infinite source for Modulation Puzzles, that finding the right assignments for every kid
would not be a problem. They should also encourage kids to begin building their own
sentences, construct similar sentences in different keys and connect between them
following the simple rules given in Chapter 1. Of course, the use of simple keys - like C,
F and G Major and A, D and E minor - should be encouraged first. Let the kids begin
developing their skills in writing and talking (playing) their own tunes. At first they will
be clumsy but this is the way a child learns to walk and talk.

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About the Author

The author is a Physicist (PhD in Physics) and Engineer in the Silicon Valley, California.
In his free time he enjoys reading books and sometimes playing the piano.

November 2016

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