The Composer as Master of Development

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Book Chapter

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Department 1

Conservatory of Music


Figure 1 reproduces one of music theory's most famous diagrams, and without a doubt the best-known contribution of Antoine Reicha's monumental Traité de haute composition musicale (1824 - 1826). The grande coupe binarie is among the earliest visual representations of sonata form, conveying an understanding of this model that is in many respects still familiar today: the characteristic disposition of themes, the modulation to a secondary key, the larger formal functions of development and recapitulation — all are present in Reicha's diagram, just as they are in current descriptions of sonata form. [excerpt]



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