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being stated in octave displacements.

The three pieces have very similar tempo markings, as each is basically and Andante, with

minor variations, which seem to imply slight differences in character rather than actual changes

in speed. A common pulse runs through and links all of them, as all move by the quaver, with the

exception of the central sections of 1 and 3, which move by the crotchet, but this is yet another

unifying factor. At transitional or cadential points within the pieces, Brahms alters this rhythmic

pulse, creating agogic accent usually through augmentation, or by introducing hemiolas. This

process both announces a significant formal or harmonic event, such as a new section or a final

cadence, or creates a smooth transition by introducing the new pulse. Brahms does the opposite

of this in the third piece with the use of fermatas, which actually take away any feeling of a pulse,

especially when preceded by a ritardando as in the 6-bar transition. The fermatas temporarily

arrest motion and add to the ambiguity of the succeeding metres.

Op.117 is an example of Brahms’s techniques in creating unity out of diversity. Although

each Intermezzo has individual traits and experiments with ternary form in a different way, all

have a song-like character (inspired by the lullaby idea), and are linked in so many other ways

that it is almost impossible not to consider the opus a ‘multi-piece,’ as Dunsby (1983)

characterized the seven Fantasien, Op. 116.

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