New PDF release: A Left Hand Like God: Study of Boogie-woogie

By Peter J. Silvester

ISBN-10: 070432685X

ISBN-13: 9780704326859

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Extra resources for A Left Hand Like God: Study of Boogie-woogie

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22 A potent expressive shock of this sort may be heard at the outset of the Adagio from the Piano Sonata in F Major, K. 332. The first two beats of the melody make a graceful, if ordinary move: the opening B-­flat rises to its third scale degree D, elaborated with a turn figure and seemingly poised to ascend to F. But this innocent business of ornamentation is instantly transformed into breathtaking expressivity on the very next beat. 9 Piano Sonata in F Major, K. 332, ii, bars 1–­2 and agogic (greatly extended in duration) and contextual (appearing at the change of bass and harmony)—that shocks the decorum of the phrase.

This has a clarifying effect at first (in that it clears the D out of the system while stopping the violin runs), then turns out to be only the advance staging of an augmented-sixth arrival on the dominant of D minor. But what makes this entire passage unforgettable are those violin scales—moving up then down, rising in half steps along with the bass and winds. Who would have thought to profile this drama of rising half steps against an interior pedal by filling each chromatic step with the banal utterance of an ascending or descending scale?

We hear brass on the stentorian octaves D and A; winds on the full chords; upper strings syncopating against the basses’ implacable half notes, the last of which sustains beyond the upper voices. 3 The half-­step motion of the bass line is also crucial to the overall effect. ) allows the fifth in the strings to work its own stark horror, while avoiding a parallel octave with the upper voice. The first inversion also makes for a less stable form of the dominant, which in turn attenuates the more standard effect of regal declamation of tonic and dominant.

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A Left Hand Like God: Study of Boogie-woogie by Peter J. Silvester

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