Document Type



As asserted by Ethan Haimo in a 1990 article, Joseph Haydn’s Piano Trio in A-flat major, Hob. XV: 14 (1789-90), comprises his first use of a chromatic third relationship between movements of an instrumental work, with a I—flat VI—I tonal plan. This harmonic strategy, immediately taken up by Beethoven in his Piano Trio in G major, Op. 1 no. 2 (slow movement in E, VI) and his Piano Sonata in C major, Op. 2 no. 3 (slow movement in E, III), quickly became a conventional feature of early 19th-century tonality.

Such third-related shifts in Haydn’s instrumental music occur earlier than 1790, especially in his string quartet Minuet-Trio movements, often built around a parallel major-parallel minor pairing of keys and their relatives. For instance, in Haydn’s String Quartet in F major, Op. 50 no. 5 (Der Traum), third movement, Haydn effects a chromatic third modulation in two stages: touching briefly upon the parallel key (f minor) in the trio, then moving immediately to its relative major, A-flat (i.e. flat III of F major). As for works written after 1790, the Minuet and Trio of the Emperor Quartet in C major, Op. 76 no. 3, demonstrates the opposite strategy: after beginning the trio in the relative minor, Haydn shifts modally to its parallel key, A major, as the passage develops (VI of C major). As demonstrated by the above-mentioned quartet movements and others drawn from Opp. 74, 76, and 77, such two-stage chromatic third shifts at the formal level and this procedure’s affinity with modal mixture, provides a new paradigm for understanding remote modulations, both in the late Classical period and beyond.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.