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Re: Coursera Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Sundew #2147927 09/10/13 09:50 PM
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@Sam S: Beethoven knew Bach's Well Tempered Clavier from a pretty early age.

Before Mendelssohn, the WTC was one of the few pieces of Bach that most musicians knew. But other works circulated in hand-written copies among composers. Mozart knew the motets and probably some other vocal works thanks to Baron von Swieten. His acquaintance with those pieces probably influenced his Mass in C minor.


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Re: Coursera Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Sundew #2150131 09/14/13 03:47 PM
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Who else is doing the first assignment? Which sonata have you chosen, and why?

I'm puzzled by one aspect of the assignment. It seems like the things we are bring asked to examine are easier if one reads music and can examine the score. For example, I can't tell just from listening whether music has modulated, and if so, if it has modulated to a nearby or faraway key. But the course says reading music is not required. I don't know if I could do the assignment if I had to rely only on what I can consciously hear and name in the music.


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Re: Coursera Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Sundew #2150201 09/14/13 05:46 PM
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Same here. I don't know how I would answer if I couldn't look at the score. Even with the score I'm not much good. The key change stuff is still hard for me, as is identifying the themes in the music, let alone describing how one sonata movement is different from that in another sonata.

I've been listening to Sonata 1 in F minor, and Sonata 3 in C major, trying to think of similarities and differences to Sonata 7. I chose those two just because I like them. (I'm not submitting the assignment for credit but just thought I'd try it to see what I could come up with).

So far, I've come up with little in terms of the things he discussed re Op.7.
-All three of the sonatas have 4 movements.
-sonatas are written in different keys
-sonata 1 and 4 have a 'minuet' like 3rd movement but Sonata 3 has a 'scherzo' like 3rd mvt which sounds quite different.
-Sonata 3 sounds light and playful to me, but I can't explain exactly why. Whereas Sonatas 1 and 4 don't.

I really don't know how to find the themes and repetitions and consider the different forms in that way. Much of the Prestissimo of Sonata 1 (4th mvt) sounds urgent and breathless to me (except for the lovely light part that doesn't), but I don't know how to describe the 4th mvt of Sonata 4.

Have to listen to the 1st and 2nd mvts again.

here is a site i'm finding helpful--looks like there is info about Sonata 1 and 4 as well as 3 (and several others...)

http://worldofbeethoven.com/op-2-no-3-part-one-new/op-2-no-3-part-two-new/

Last edited by Valencia; 09/14/13 06:56 PM.
Re: Coursera Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Sundew #2150690 09/15/13 05:30 PM
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I've chosen sonata op 10 no. 3 because it's been a particular favourite and on my target list for some time. I'm now planning to present the Largo E Mesto for the May ABF Recital.

The first assignment is peer based so I haven't relied much on reading or analysis to answer the questions. The two largo movements differ by one being in ABA form and the other being a close variant of sonata form and, of course, their key compared to the first movements, one the major sixth (C major versus E flat) and the other the tonic minor (D minor versus D major). My other similarities and differences can be found from the briefest of listens and a keen eye on the track listings.



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Re: Coursera Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Sundew #2151435 09/16/13 03:43 PM
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Phew, assignment submitted! The grading rubric asks for at least three points of similarity and three points of distinction, which I've covered. It also asks for the assignment to be "persuasive and clear," which I can only hope I've achieved!

After several listens to both sonatas, I did a slap-dash consultation of the scores looking for themes, main sections, and rough indications of starting and ending keys for movements and sections.

Valencia, I've been thinking about starting a thread about identifying keys. Would you be interested?


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Re: Coursera Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
PianoStudent88 #2151625 09/16/13 08:14 PM
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I've submitted mine too (Opus 2 no. 3 was my pick), but with some trepidation. It was hard to know how much to make of the assignment. On the one hand, I didn't want to make my answer too simplistic, but I also didn't want to write for pages because that seemed a bit much (though certainly possible!). I figured that whoever would be reading it should be spared too much verbiage, so I tried to make it concise but fairly straightforward (also keeping in mind I have no idea how much musical knowledge the peer assessor will have). I fretted about it more than I should have. What can I say, I want the certificate when it's all over!

Really looking forward to the next lecture. I'm enjoying them a lot. Can't wait until he gets to Opus 109, my absolute favorite!

Re: Coursera Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Sundew #2158049 09/26/13 12:56 PM
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I have been taking the course and enjoying it tremendously.
Jonathan Biss' lectures are excellent. The presentation is great; the lectures are broken down so that you can listen (and read along with closed captions) for short sections. You can also download the lectures and the notes for them to consult at your leisure.

What has been happily most surprising is the Forum Discussion section. Just like here at PianoWorld there is a tremendous range of experience and talent from other course takers and a fantastic amount of information sharing. The topics are excellent with a lot of viewpoints expressed--I may add with a lot of maturity and no backbiting nor nasty behavior.

There are assignments that are not onerous and are really based on what you have learned from the lecture and support material.

The first assignment asked for a comparison of differences and similarities in a couple of sonatas. This is fine but because there are so many variable levels of music experience (and the knowledge of the English language) amongst the others there has been quite a range of replies ranging from exhaustive analytical essays to just a skeletal list of 3 similarities and 3 differences with no additional comments.

There is a system of peer assessment in place that requires everyone who submits an assignment to assess three other submissions.

This has led to some misgivings among submitters. The assessments picked for you are entirely random; you may be asked to assess an 800 word answer that lists the answer criteria and then goes on to a full harmonic analysis of all the movements. Or you may have a 25 word skeletal answer to assess. But you cannot choose the type of answer that you wish to assess. Some have felt totally unable to fully assess an exhaustive answer and some have just marked everyone with the maximum because they think that this course is really just about getting people to listen to the music and enjoy the experience of it and as long as an answer is not about something completely off topic nor plagiarism then the maximum mark is OK.

I have very much enjoyed the assessment process and looked at and peer assessed 100 other answers. Yea, I got carried away but I really enjoyed reading them from a long involved explanation from an obviously sophisticated listener to someone whose first language was not English and because of that had an extremely charming way of expression that was totally heartfelt.

Because of the randomness of the peer assessment my own experience being assessed let me down. Like this message itself I tended to write at a bit of length and in a personal anecdotal manner with lots of feelings and expression. One of my assessors said that I had submitted a lot of "the material that was not on topic" and I think that because of that did not mark my answer with what I believe I should have gotten as a grade. I am not worried about this I am not doing the course for the certificate but for the experience and I believe that since there are more assignments to be submitted I will get the grade that I think that I deserve in the other assignments.

I make a lot of contributions to the forum topics, have opened a couple of threads myself and am listed as one of the top 25 contributors in the listing. ( I am actually a little annoyed at this ranking process because I spend far too much time looking for my particular listing both on the list and in each individual contribution where other can vote a positive or negative decision about the individual post they have just read. I am trying to cure myself of this time waster.)

So I have gone on far far too long about the course but for me it has been a really great experience and I look forward to more of them from the Curtis Institute, from Coursera the course people and from other sources on the Internet.

Last edited by BWV846; 09/26/13 12:58 PM.

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Re: Coursera Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Sundew #2158071 09/26/13 01:30 PM
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i have been enjoying this class too and cant believe its week 4 already. I couldnt watch wk3 videos because of internet problems but will catch up. I did read the transcript. Bliss is really good. My assignments are minimal and reviews likewise due to time constraints and my minimal in-depth knowledge, which , thanks to the class itself, is improving! Did run into a bit of back lash re a comment I made taken the wrong way. Must keep my dry british humor to myself! Still the music iswhy I am following along, not to form lasting relationships. Makes me appreciate PW all the more. 2nd assignment seems much more demanding! Must listen through again.


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Re: Coursera Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Sundew #2158105 09/26/13 02:27 PM
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I'm suddenly behind also. Haven't listened to the third lecture yet, let alone the fourth, and I gather there's an assignment due this week (or by Monday night?).

Am taking a long busride today, hopefully I can get caught up. Ostensibly I'm going to my college reunion, but I may just hole up in my hotel room and work on Coursera. (I'm also taking a Statistics course, and I'm behind in that also. Oy!)

I haven't participated in the discussion forums at all (*). I find it all a bit overwhelming, which is sort of ridiculous considering how much time I spend on discussion forums (PW, cough cough). But I will try to have a read-through of some of what people have been talking about.

I was really intrigued by a comment someone made about the first assignment -- that in doing assessments he could tell people who had gone to the score, and he thought the assignment was really about just listening, and saying what you could about the sonatas from what you heard. Which is really interesting. It both has me thinking "I couldn't say very much without the score" and also thinking "Interesting -- listen more."

I haven't seen my assessments for my homework yet, but I'm trying not to stress about it. I wrote honestly, the value of the assignment is largely in the doing of it, any good feedback I get will be gravy, and any less than helpful feedback I'll just extract if there's anything useful, and otherwise ignore.

(*) No, wait, I've posted once, in reponse to someone who was being a j*rk about the quality of the assignments he had assessed.


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Re: Coursera Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
PianoStudent88 #2158109 09/26/13 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by PianoStudent88

Valencia, I've been thinking about starting a thread about identifying keys. Would you be interested?


Hi PianoStudent88--Sure any time you want to do this I would be interested. However maybe wait until you are not so busy with your other assignments! As for the Beethoven assignment, it is to listen to one if Hayden's final 3 sonatas:

Sonata in C major Hob XVI:50
Sonata in D Major Hob XVI: 51
Sonata in E-flat major Hob XVI: 52

Write 2 paragraphs on how Hayden's late in life conception of the sonata differs from beethoven's. (4 valid points of difference).

Write 1 paragraph on how you respond to these distinctions when listening (2 points of experience).

Re: Coursera Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
PianoStudent88 #2158132 09/26/13 03:09 PM
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Interesting comment about going to the score vs. mostly listening. I'd be much more in the dark without the score, as I'm primarily a visual sort of learner. My teacher once did a brief ear training exercise with me, and it was awful. He kept having to simplify it so I could get at least one right answer! I can identify a V-I (dominant-tonic) cadence pretty well, but anything other than that I can't readily recognize except for obvious key changes.

For this week's assignment, I'm going to listen and follow the score(s). I think I'll be doing the C major Haydn, as it's the only one I've ever actually heard before.

I must've gotten really nice assessors. I had two people review my last assignment, and both gave high scores and very nice comments about my work. One person even included a smiley face in his/her comments. smile

Re: Coursera Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Sundew #2158136 09/26/13 03:24 PM
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I fell flat early on because of time constraints. I'm still listening to the lectures. But no assignments. I could beat myself up for not doing more. But, there is only so much of me to go around. As it is, yesterday we mowed the entire property and practicing took a backseat. I pay a lot for lessons. I hate going in unprepared. So, something had to give. I chose putting the Grieg recital listening and commenting ahead of the Beethoven course.


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Re: Coursera Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
dynamobt #2158141 09/26/13 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by dynamobt
I fell flat early on because of time constraints. I'm still listening to the lectures. But no assignments. I could beat myself up for not doing more. But, there is only so much of me to go around. As it is, yesterday we mowed the entire property and practicing took a backseat. I pay a lot for lessons. I hate going in unprepared. So, something had to give. I chose putting the Grieg recital listening and commenting ahead of the Beethoven course.


dynamobt, i'm not actually doing/submitting the assignments. I too mostly just listen to the lectures. If I have time I may give a listen to a Hayden sonata and see if I can imagine responses to any of the questions he is asking on the assignment. I have a feeling this assignment would be hard for me, given i still have trouble identifying the different parts of sonata form on listening.

Re: Coursera Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Sundew #2158145 09/26/13 03:58 PM
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I've been listening to and enjoying the lectures, but I haven't done any assignments either. I have little use for a "course completion certficate". In any case, I prefer Charmin.


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Re: Coursera Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Sundew #2158152 09/26/13 04:20 PM
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I find that doing the assignments makes me engage with the course material at a deeper level, and solidifies my understanding. Then if I get interesting feedback from the assignment, that's a nice extra, but not essential. It's not about the certificate for me.


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Re: Coursera Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Sundew #2159893 09/30/13 12:58 AM
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I've submitted the second assignment. I fear I have committed a serious amount of waffle pointing out the most facilely obvious of differences, half of which I only know from the score and can't even hear. Well, even realizing that and starting to wonder if there are deeper differences represents learning for me. So, mission accomplished.


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Re: Coursera Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Sundew #2166108 10/14/13 01:06 PM
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Piano student I have just finished the course and I did all 3 assignments! What an amazing course- I liked Beethoven a lot before now I LOVE Beethoven and he is now my ultimate favourite composer ( it was Chopin)- the Hammerklavier- wow!!!! Opus 109- wow!!!!
I have never loved a course as much as this one in my whole life ( and I have done a wide range of loads of different subjects)- it has been a turning point for me.
I'm sad it's ending but some of us started a Google group!

Re: Coursera Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Sundew #2245262 03/12/14 10:05 AM
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This course is starting tomorrow. If you are interested: https://www.coursera.org/course/beethovensonatas

Also, I found this great deal: http://www.amazon.com/Virtual-Box-Set-Complete-Beethoven/dp/B00A1BC3B2


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Re: Coursera Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
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I'm going to watch some of the lectures this time around.


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Re: Coursera Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
scorpio #2245614 03/12/14 08:28 PM
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I'm registered for this -- I signed up ages ago and received confirmation, but had been expecting a reminder email from Coursera as the start-date approaches. That didn't happen (I did check my spam folder) -- so: THANK YOU for the reminder!!


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