extensions seem to release accumulated tension, but at the same time, create more by causing
imbalance and counterbalance, delaying the final cadence in the tonic key.
Brahms’s characteristic technique of transferring accents to the weak parts of the bar
dominate these pieces as well. If one does not see the score, it is difficult to judge which beat
numbers 2 and 3 start on, and even more difficult to guess that they do not start on the first beat.
This is also the case for the central section of No.1. Here, the right hand moves in 3/4, the left in
6/8, and the fourth beat contains both agogic and dynamic accent. Brahms causes displacement
of the first beat by emphasizing the fourth, transcending the folk-like quality of the music (Cai,
1986:388). New harmonies in Section A enter early, one beat before the beginning of the bars,
and late on beat 2 in Section B. Brahms creates tension and hence generates forward motion
through this metric and rhythmic ambiguity. The best example is perhaps the central section of
the third Intermezzo, where the syncopated beginning of the line with a semi-quaver upbeat,
meets with its bass in the first quaver of the next bar. Important cadences are either placed on
weak parts of the bar (for example, final tonic resolution of No. 2 coming on the third beat), or
elided immediately with successive new phrases of modulatory character. An example of the
latter process is found in No.3, at the end of bar 20, where the first cadence into the tonic, an
unstable plagal one at that, merges on the last quaver of the bar with another statement of the
initial theme, this time with subdominant harmony.
Another common feature found in all three Intermezzi is the repetition or imitation of a
theme in a different register. In No. 1, imitation in different registers occurs in both sections, and
at the return of the ‘A’ section, the theme is actually divided between the two hands. Change of
register also includes a varied repeat, as in bars 50-51, where a canon occurs at a distance of two
quavers. Similar imitation occurs in the B sections of No. 2. In the central section of the third
Intermezzo, the chord progressions are distributed up and down the keyboard with the theme