Repository logo

The morphology of texture and style in the minuet movements of Haydn's keyboard trios.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Haydn wrote approximately forty-five keyboard Trios between 1760 and 1796. About fifteen of them date from his youth and the rest from the later part of his creative life. This study traces the changes in the Minuet-type movements in these Trios, commencing with the early Minuet and trio da capo works in which the Minuet and trio each conform to a binary structure; continuing with the sophisticated composite tri-partite structures of the Tempo di Menuetto movements of the middle-period works; and ending with the late period and the eventual demise of movements with Minuet indications in their titles. As background to the above, the study traces the Minuet from its origins in the dance through to its place in the newly emerging Sonata plan. An investigation into the beginnings of the keyboard Trio assesses the position of the Minuet movement within the Trio genre. Background material also draws on Haydn's socio-musical environment, and the relation of his social and psychological circumstances to his composition of keyboard Trios and, more specifically, to the Minuet-type movement within the Trio. The study raises a number of questions during the course of the investigation, the most important of which relate to the morphological changes in Minuet-type movements and to their gradually declining presence in the Trios. In conclusion, the findings show that although the Minuet movement is generally considered to be the least complex of the movements of the Sonata plan, these movements reflect many aspects of the newly born Sonata form. Additionally, a number of style-characteristics occur with such regularity that they may well be regarded as reliable indications of Haydn's "Minuet style".


Thesis (M.Mus.)-University of Natal, Durban, 1991.


Haydn, Joseph 1732-1809., Theses--Music.