SONATA FOR GUITAR AND PIANO – in e flat minor | AsteriskedMusic.Com

Sonata for Guitar and Piano in e flat minor

"Guitar," by Junior Libby, taken from [PublicDomainPictures.Net]; this image is in the public domain. This guitar has to be specially tuned in order to play in e flat minor.
“Guitar,” by Junior Libby, taken from [PublicDomainPictures.Net]; this image is in the public domain.
This is a sonata for guitar and piano in e flat minor. While it is somewhat in the realms of minimalism and jazz in terms of style, it follows the basic classical three-movement sonata form. I chose e flat minor because it has a dark, murky, mysterious quality. F Sharp Major is its relative major (which is used in classical sonata form for the countertheme and second movement when the main key is minor), which, to my ear, has a rich, yet frosty sound to it.

Some Notes on “Sonata for Guitar and Piano in e flat minor”

This piece has three movements. The first movement is a sonata allegretto in e flat minor, the second movement is a ternary andante in F Sharp Major, and the third movement is a quick-paced rondo in e flat minor.

First Movement: Allegretto

This movement moves along at a somewhat leisurely pace. The keyboard opens in the tonic key with a simple ostinato. The guitar then enters mimicking the ostinato before launching into the theme. The keyboards maintain a rhythmic countermelody before shifting to the countertheme.

The countertheme is slower and is characterized, in the guitar, with relaxed slides, and a shift to an acoustic sound pallet. The piano has already entered into the development section before the guitar is done with the countertheme.

In the development section, the guitar returns to an electronic sound pallet in between keyboard solos that explore a few different keys with the theme and countertheme.

The recapitulation is a bit truncated and is really more of a continuation of the thoughts posed by the theme and counterthemes, rather than a full-blown recapitulation.

Second Movement: Andante

This is arguably the best part of the piece. It is in the relative F# Major. This movement is much less rhythmic and much more melodic than the other two movements. It is somewhat modal with a few chromaticisms and whole tones thrown in. The guitar uses an acoustic sound pallet. The theme of this movement is reminiscent of the countertheme of the first movement.

This piece follows a ternary form. The “B” section is a development section, but while the theme explores itself a bit here, it doesn’t go too far off afield. The returning “A” theme is a variation on the original theme with a slightly more lively texture.

Third Movement: Rondo Vivace

This movement returns to e flat minor with a main theme that is reminiscent of the main theme in the first movement, but it is much shorter and frenetic.

The keyboard plays the F Sharp Major countertheme rather than the guitar, which plays an accompanying role. The theme is a bit slower than the main theme, but it is not leisurely; it has a moderate pace and emphasizes rhythm over melody.

The first return of the main theme is actually a brief development section. The main theme explores a few different keys before going in the “C” section.

The “C” section is materially different from the rest of the movement. It is somewhat reminiscent of the countertheme of the first movement. It is a brief development section, as well.

The recapitulation returns to e flat minor, and, rather than going into a final “ABA” format, it simply combines elements of the theme and countertheme in what could be considered an extended CODA.

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