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This paper analyzes the first-movement exposition of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata, op. 110, examining the interaction between form and voice-leading structure, as well as the strange way in which the music gets from the opening tonic to the dominant that closes the exposition. I will start by mirroring the exposition’s formal idiosyncrasies against the two approaches to Classical form that dominate our current understanding of form: formal functions as described by William Caplin and Sonata Theory by James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy. After this I will examine the challenges one faces in approaching the exposition from a Schenkerian perspective. I will start this discussion by examining the analyses by Roger Kamien and Edward Laufer, whose readings of the underlying tonic-dominant motion differ from each other. I will then present my own interpretation, which differs from those of Kamien and Laufer. Finally, I will draw the lines together and show how the voice-leading structure and formal organization intertwine, arguing that the exposition follows the Classical conventions albeit in a highly covert manner, creating a somewhat controversial impression of the coexistence of an unbroken line and articulation through punctuating elements.

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