Dissertation Index

Author: Beaudoin, Paul E

Title: Rhetoric as a Heuristic in the First Movement of Beethoven's Third Sonata for Violoncello and Piano, op. 69

Institution: Brandeis University

Begun: May 1993

Completed: February 2002


Using ideas of classical rhetoric and techniques of traditional musical analysis, this dissertation explores the four major compositional efforts of Beethoven in 1808 with particular emphasis on the Third Vcl Sonata. The Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, the "Ghost" trio and the Vcl Sonata all come to some kind of dramatic halt in the temporal flow very early on in the work. In classical rhetoric, this suspension is called "Aposiopesis." The idea of Aposiopesis has resonances thoughout the works and is particularly evident in the Vcl Sonata. Support for the implementation of rhetorical devices is found in Johann Mattheson's Der vollkommene Capellmeister, a treatise that appears to be important throughout much of Beethoven's working life. The dissertation continues by exploring how these rhetorical devices combine with traditional elements of sonata form to create a heightened sense of musical drama.

Keywords: Beethoven, Aposiopesis, Rhetoric, Johann Mattheson


I. The Compositional Problem of 1808

II. Rhetoric and Musical Discourse

III. Large-Scale Design and Synthesis


Paul E. Beaudoin, Ph.D.
59 Brighton Avenue, #5
Allston, MA 02134

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