Analysis of the First Movement of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 31 in Ab-Major
Bars 28-34: Second Subject in E flat major. The second subject consists of a passage of different character, extended to six bars. The bass of Bar 28 is repeated at Bar 29, and also (with one note altered) at Bar 30. It begins and ends in the dominant key.
The primary tone is approached either by a rising arpeggiation or an initial linear ascent, two voice-leading procedures which Schenker described as representing a "retardation" or "delaying at the very outset of the piece." A dramatic example of upper-voice arpeggiation to the primary tone is the opening section of the Marcia Funebre from Beethoven's Piano Sonata in Ab major, Op. 26, analyzed by Schenker in Free Composition. Beethoven uses non-tonic settings of the primary tone to create tension at the opening of a movement. It has also shown how the emphasized primary tone is exploited both as a motivic element within a single movement and as means of linking different movements of a composition. It is clear that there is growing recognition among music theorists and historians alike that Schenkerian analytical procedures can contribute to the study of musical style. Nevertheless, much work remains to be done.
Essays on Music, trans. Susan H. Gillespie, ed. Richard Leppert (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), 567.
Spitzer, Music as Philosophy: Adorno and Beethoven’s Late Style, 82.