From Beethoven to Shostakovich: The Psychology of the Composing Process

By Max Graf | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII. Musical Conception

THE MOMENT in which unconscious music figures break through and are seized by conscious activity of the composer's mind--that moment is called: musical conception. From this moment on conscious thinking and conscious forming accompanies the whole composing process. The more this process nears completion, the stronger becomes the part of conscious thinking in the musical creation, until critical thinking alone puts the finishing touches to the tone figures. In the case of Beethoven this meant the final, most minute perfection of the dynamic signatures.

With the greatest care Beethoven perfected the dynamics in the last measures of the variations in his String Quartet in C-sharp minor, opus 131. Observe how Beethoven embellished the dynamics of these last bars:

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