2011 Student Research Conference:
24th Annual Student Research Conference

An Examination of Humor in the Classical Piano Sonata
Ian K. Classe
Dr. David McKamie, Faculty Mentor

Humor in music depends upon an engaged, educated listener who expects to hear (or not hear!) certain things. In the Classical Period, Mozart and Haydn were masters of humorous tricks and effects in their music, delighting and pleasing the informed listener. Works such as Haydns Surprise Symphony No. 94 and Mozarts A Musical Joke depend on that which is unexpected or satirical. In the nineteenth century, few composers mastered the art of humor in music as well as Ludwig van Beethoven. In his piano sonatas, Beethoven used humor to avoid convention and to surprise the listener. In his Piano Sonata in G Major, Opus 31, No. 1, Beethoven uses humorous techniques such as unexpected dynamic changes from soft to very loud, abrupt modulations to distant keys, and interrupting or sustaining rhythms to create a delightful effect.

Keywords: music, Beethoven, humor

Topic(s):Music

Presentation Type: Performance Art

Session: 1-3
Location: OP Performance Hall
Time: 8:30

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