TMB Strategies in Haydn's Sonata Movements

Samantha Inman, University of North Texas

While Joseph Haydn's penchant for recomposed sonata recapitulations is well known, the literature lacks close examination of choices involving the trimodular block (TMB), a three-part expansion technique featuring apparent double medial caesuras (Hepokoski and Darcy 2006). This presentation uses three case studies to focus on two questions: which modules of the TMB lie within the secondary theme zone (S), and how does this intersection impact the content of the recapitulation? In Keyboard Trio Hob. XV:24/I, the tonal flaws of TM1-2 delay establishment of the dominant key until TM3. Rather than replaying this process of destabilization, the recapitulation omits TM1-2 entirely, a common strategy in Haydn's output that encourages equating TM3 with the true secondary theme. The recapitulation of String Quartet Op. 50, No. 2/I unusually brings back all three modules of the exposition's TMB. This repetition combined with the tonal stability of TM1 favors hearing the entire TMB as a multi-part S-zone. The exposition of Symphony No. 79/I likewise features a TMB equivalent to S, but multiple foiled attempts at achieving convincing closure shift attention away from the start of the TMB to the PAC delayed until the very end of the exposition. The recapitulation omits TM1 to move more quickly into the evaded cadences of TM2 and TM3. Haydn's decision to use one, two, or all three modules of an exposition's trimodular block in its recapitulation thus depends on both tonal stability and rhetorical emphasis of individual units, exemplifying his masterful derivation of form from content.