greater in length than the preceding sections. The coda, similar to Op. 117/2, carries motives
from both sections and provides a medium for resolution of the continuous motion and tension
generated through the chromaticism and the diminished harmonies. Tonal ambiguity is far from
being resolved however, as there is once again no strong dominant-tonic motion. Instead, the
cadence is a disguised plagal one into the tonic major, blurred by the diminished arpeggios. In
contrast to the harmonic ambiguity, there is a certain structural symmetry, as the sections are
equal in length, and the phrase lengths (although unsymmetrical) are consistent.
Judging from evidence provided by the manuscripts, although the second Intermezzo was
not at first paired with the previous one (as they appear on different sheets), the fact that it is in
the key of A major, the same key that concluded the first, is probably not a chance occurrence,
and Brahms undoubtedly took this into account when he put them in order. As Dunsby has
pointed out (1983:188), the piece starts with the melodic C-sharp which was the last note of No.
1, and moves to the first downbeat D, a tonal centre which had prolonged the underlying
melodic resolution on E in No. 1 (bar 39 onwards). It also recalls the Intermezzo Op. 76/6 of
1879, which has a similar structure and the same keys, with a middle section in F-sharp minor.
The earlier work, with a more closed form of 8-bar periods, concludes with a coda, containing
material from the B section. The later one has 4 and 5-bar phrases, with a 3-bar transition back to
the A section, which has a slight but significantly varied repeat, reaching a climactic note 2/3rds
of the way through the piece. The opening is also very similar to Op. 116/2, the Intermezzo in A
minor, with its theme consisting of a 3rd followed by a 6th and later an 8th , leading to a half-
cadence at the end of 4 bars (Ex. 2).
Although this piece is more straightforward in its key than the first Intermezzo, a full
sense of tonality is still obscured, as the few tonic chords in root position are placed on weak