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Volume 11 • Number 2

Fall 2004



Metrical Equivalence in Beethoven:
Some Problems in Performance and Analysis

by Tim Carter

The majority of conducting students has been set the problem of how to beat the opening of the last movement of Beethoven's First Symphony, op.21 (see ex.1a). Here a slow introduction (24 , Adagio) leads to the Allegro molto e vivace (24 ). The introduction consists of fragments of rising scales extending by degrees (a third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh) with in effect a notated accelerando; this leads to the octave scale (in the new tempo) at the beginning of the first subject. There are two main issues in mm.6–7: first, the handling of the fermata on the quarter note (in some editions, an eighth note plus an eighth-note rest); and second, how to give the preparatory beat(s) for the octave scale. The latter problem stems from, and is solved by, the answer to the main question: what is the relationship between the beats in the Adagio and in the Allegro molto e vivace?

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