Maurice Ravel, Sonatine: Analysis and Discussion

Sonatine by Maurice Ravel is written in three movements:

I. Modéré (“moderate”)
II. Mouvement de menuet (“Minuet movement”)
III. Animé (“animated”)

Richard Downing introduction and analysis of Sonatine with key fingerings. He makes note of how the piece is so purely Ravel, even as it evokes ideas visited by Debussy and Couperin.

Taking a closer look at the second movement, Mouvement de Menuet, Warren Gooch finds the devil is in the detail with the tonal harmonies. Few of the chords and their progressions are what would be expected in the classical theories that came before impressionism. Most passages go completely unresolved, creating movement and anticipation.

Peter Jost uncovered the secret history of the first movement. While researching the commonly repeated anecdote that the piece was created for a contest where Ravel was the only participant, Jost found that many of the details didn’t add up. He may have found more questions than answers, but it’s an interesting read for anyone who has played or listened to the piece.

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Brian E. Young

I'm a graphic designer (portfolio), classical pianist and artist in Baltimore, MD. I host the Uncanny Creativity Podcast helping to demystify the creative process and creator of Funlooksfun.com, an online shop for apparel and games. Twitter: @sketchee

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