Op. 2 No. 1 Part two

So, the next step in this Sonata would be the second theme. On the score, it looks like this:


And it sounds like this:

Some of you already heard: it’s not really a new theme, but the rocket

kind of upside down. The technique is not sensational in itself, it’s coming from counterpoint, something we will look at soon, as Beethoven uses it later on ( it is deadly cool stuff, counterpoint). To play the motive upside down is called melodic inversion, not a very chocking name since to invert means placing something upside down.


To take the first theme and fibble it around to make a second theme out of it is, again, much more in the style of Joseph Haydn than Mozart.
However, the best thing with this passage is the incredible contrast Beethoven manages to have between two themes that are build from the same motive. While the first theme sounds energetic, with a nervous drive, the second theme reminds me a little of a passage in The Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby:

“Where dooo they all come from…” hm. As I write this I find that I really want to re-record that part, making it more espressivo, sadder…

As a bonus, there is some counterpart in that part of the song


The codetta…I just love it. It’s a scale in A-flat major, just flowing from the top of the piano to the bottom. It’s like a youthful statement of love for the piano and the wonderful sound it makes from top to bottom. After the nervous and irregular phrases, it also has a liberating feeling to it:

When you play this on the piano of those times (which were generally five octaves in range) the hands would be at the very end of bottom and top of the keyboard at the same time. This is a first sniff of something Beethoven would do to the extreme later on.


We have now come to the end of the Exposition, with first theme, second theme and codetta. To continue, one will have to get to know the Sonata form to follow. And that you can do here.

2 thoughts on “Op. 2 No. 1 Part two

  1. What a great idea! To make it sadder. Wow. That’s really a thoughtful idea. Perhaps if the sforzando is not so piercing and abrupt – but within the context now of the ‘piano’ dynamic.

    Someone said that the key of f minor itself may have been suggested by listening to music of CPE Bach. That Sturm und Drang you talked about. I think this is the part where it enters. It becomes rather frenetic and sad at the same time.

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