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Musicianship

Tutorial Assignment 4

2083179

Written Analysis of Bartk Change of Time from Mikrokosmos


Change of Time (no. 126) from Bela Bartks Mikrokosmos is an up-tempo and lively piano
piece. The major tonality is evident throughout and the piece omits a feeling of scherzo. The
Bb key signature does not refer to F major, rather the Mixolydian mode beginning on C.
Although only 40 seconds long Change of Time is not lacking in content.
There are two sections which are clearly indicated through rhythmic and melodic patterns
and dynamics. The A section from bar 1-20 can be further divided into four-bar phrases or
two sections of 8 bars with a 4-bar development leading on. The melody clearly dictates
this, as do the dynamics forte at bar 1, piano at bar 9, forte at bar 17 as well as sforzandos
on the last beat of each 4-bar phrase apart from bar 12. These are significant as the only
other markings are a crescendo to fortissimo at the coda which also features the lowest
point in register - the piece does not venture lower than C two octaves below middle and G
sitting on top of the treble stave.
At first glance it looks and sounds like the B section begins at bar 17 with the
development through accidentals, however it makes sense to group this phrase in section A
as after it the texture and metre change. Section B is made clear through the change in
texture from homophonic to chords with a syncopated accompaniment. The phrasing differs
slightly two sets of four, three bars, then a four-bar coda.
In A the metre changes every bar using 2/4, 3/4, 3/8, and 5/8 until bar 20 where it remains
in 5/8 through B until the coda where 6/8 is introduced for one bar before returning.
Although B is mostly constant in metre the beat is concealed through the syncopation and
rests. Even with all the time changes in A the first beat of each bar is emphasised by the
heavy chords especially as the piece is marked allergro pesante at the start.
The tonal centre can be identified as C for a number of reasons. The piece begins and ends
with a C major triad and the note is pedalled throughout in fact, the note is present in
every bar of the piece. The three sub-divisions of section A all end on C and bars 4 and 12
end on G these could be interpreted as perfect and imperfect cadences, leading on or
ending sections of melody. The texture in section A is homophonic and the chords move in
synchronisation rhythmically; section B features a syncopated accompaniment to the
chords. The coda is a sustained C major triad underneath alternating C and G octaves,
though the piece overall maintains a chordal style throughout.

Word count: 457