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Schubert’s Octet D 803, form of movement II

August 5, 2009

An analysis of the form of the second movement of Schubert’s Octet D 803.


Section Bar numbers number of bars Theme Key
EXPOSITION 1-24 24 first subject B flat major (1-24)
25-44 20 transition G flat major (25-27)D flat major (28-31)E flat minor (32)D flat major (33-35)E flat minor (36)D flat major (37-38)F minor (39-44)
45-70 26 second subject F major (45-59)D flat major (60-64)F major (65-66)B flat major (67-70)
link 71-77 7 link B flat major (71-77)
RECAPITULATION 78-90 13 first subject B flat major (78-87)E flat major (88-90)
91-123 33 transition A flat major (91-101)A flat minor (102-107)B minor (108-111)D minor (112-114)F major (115-123)
124-144 21 second subject B flat major (124-138)G flat major (139-143)B flat major (144)
CODA 145-166 22 coda B flat major (145-166)

Points of Note

This is a sonata principle movement.  The proportions of the exposition and the recapitulation are about the same but the amount of time devoted to themes differs: in the recapitulation there is a shorter first subject, a longer transition and a slightly shorter second subject.

The use of keys: there is some emphasis on keys with tonics a third apart.

There is a technically unnecessary transition in the recapitulation.

The question of development: there is no development section in the middle of the movement.  While there is no separate development section, passages which can be labelled transitions, according to a conventional sonata form plan, function as development sections.  The second transition begins and ends in the same key, and is therfore not really a transition at all.  Somewhat paradoxically this is the largest section in the movement and functions as a development section.

Underlying ideas

  • sonata principle
  • use of the expected sonata principle keys at the expected points
  • use of  keys a third apart
  • development incorporated into the exposition and recapitulation in the sections here labelled as transitions
  • no separate development section

Barry Mitchell

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 18, 2009 5:42 am

    complex post. due one unimportant where I bicker with it. I am emailing you in detail.

  2. September 3, 2009 4:56 am

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