The Medial Caesura and the Two-Part Exposition

James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy

in Elements of Sonata Theory

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780195146400
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850983 | DOI:
The Medial Caesura and the Two-Part Exposition

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An exposition has both a tonal and a rhetorical function; the tonal form is generally the same in all sonatas, which worked out in different sonatas in individualized ways according to localized rhetorical plots and is distinguished from the rhetorical form, which includes personalized factors of design. An exposition may be disposed in either of two rhetorical formats or what they call the two-part exposition, which contains a medial caesura, or the continuous exposition, which is the lack of successful medial caesura. These two are the formats most composers frequently use in the second half of the eighteenth century. Part 1 of the two-part exposition comprises the establishment of the tonic and energized drive to the medial caesura, while Part 2 is subdivided into the secondary-theme zone, which normally concludes with the sounding of the first satisfactory perfect authentic cadence.

Keywords: rhetorical function; sonatas; tonal form; plots; medial caesura; continuous exposition; cadence

Chapter.  15475 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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