Brahms - Piano Quintet In F minor

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  • Brahms - Piano Quintet
    • Melody
      • Bars 22-24 is an augmentation of the semiquaver figure in bar 14, but now in the major
      • In bars 88-100 all of the melodies are fragmented into tiny cells in a complex five part contrapuntal texture
        • From bar 92 the fragments from the viola are heard in stretto
      • Apart from the bold rising theme at the start the melodic material is based mainly on motifs of a narrow range which are manipulated in many different ways
      • From bar 92 the viola is heard in a type of close imitation
      • In section C of the scherzo there are varied repeats of A (bars 38-56) and B (bars 57-67) modulating rapidly in the process
    • Structure and Tonality
      • Section A and B of the Scherzo is in C minor
        • Section C of the Scherzo is in C major
      • Scherzo followed by a Trio
        • Added Fugato section
      • Overall structure is Ternary form
    • Harmony
      • Section B resolves obsessively around the dominant
      • The trio leads to a plagal cadence in C in bars 253-254
        • And a tonic pedal bars 254-261
      • Tierce de picardie in C major at the end of the fugato section bar 193
      • The harmony in section B of the Trio is chromatic but anchored to C major by a dominant pedal on G
      • In the first phrase Brahms gradually builds up the notes of a augmented 6th chord that resolves to chord V in the second half of bar 6 over a continuing tonic pedal
      • The root position triads in bars 18-21 are given a modal colour by the minor version of chord V bar 19 and the cadence in bar 21 features chord V without a 3rd
    • Texture
      • Counterpoint is evident in bar 9 where the theme played by the violin and viola is imitated by the piano
      • Fugal texture in the fugato
      • In bars 88-100 theres a complex five-part contrapuntal texture
      • Texture varies throughout from the monophonic opening to the fugal texture starting in bar 67
    • Rhythm
      • Even though a Scherzo was a fast triple time movement Brahms uses both 6/8 and 2/4 metres
      • Section A of the Scherzo is characterised by frequent syncopation
      • Section C uses strong second beat accents.
      • In section B of the trio triplets form cross rhythms with the quavers in the other parts
      • Section B of the Scherzo is a jerky melody where staccato notes are separated by tiny rests
    • Contextual
      • Romantic composer
      • Composed in 1865
      • First written as a string quintet then for piano duet before becoming a piano quintet


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