cadence into the tonic), and through repetition of a motive from the A section over a changing
bass, it creates tension and hence enhances the final tonic resolution (see Fig. 4).
The third Intermezzo is original in its handling of a ternary from, as each section itself has
a binary structure (as shown in Fig. 4). In fact, each sub-section is repeated, and they are
symmetrical in number of bars. The central section has a rounded-binary form, amounting to 60
bars with repeats, which balances the two outer A sections. This middle section in a third-related
key, A major, is distinctly more chromatic and developmental than the outer sections, bearing
minor inflections due to the C and F naturals. The E-sharps imply submediant harmony (F-sharp
minor) locally, and the subdominant on a larger scale, a key of structural importance in the A
section. The two refrains have summarizing functions as stated above, while the transition
prepares the return of the A section, not only in character, but also harmonically and structurally,
with its two mysterious 3-bar phrases, foreshadowing the 6-bar extended phrase and the coda in
the next section.
Phrase structures vary among the three pieces. No. 1 has 4-bar units, while No. 3 has 5-
bar phrases. The second has irregular phrase lengths in the A sections, the first period being 9
bars, followed by another 13 bars, leading to the second theme. This seems to go along with the
harmonic instability and the developmental character of the initial theme, as the second, more
stable theme (B section) consists of 4-bar phrases. This symmetry is not found in the coda
however, where the return of the second theme transforms into a continuous passage of 13 bars.
Brahms uses phrase extensions at significant moments in the pieces, such as the 5-bar phrase
through use of hemiola at the end of the middle section of No.1, and the 6-bar phrases in No. 3, at
the climax towards the end (bar 91, which actually reinforces the modulation into the minor
dominant) and at the coda, where it allows for the new harmonic progression (very different from
its first appearance before the B section), and an authentically perfect cadence. The latter