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Gradual changes in tempo are brought about by changes in the value of the notes or

through the use of hemiolas, between sections or in the codas. This is clearly the case in many of

the miniatures, such as Op. 117/1 and 3, 118/6 and 119/2 (marked in the Figures). Sometimes,

ritardando is used together with such processes, as at the end of Op. 117/3, where Brahms writes

rit., poco a poco e egualemente, suggesting a proportionate change, which can be achieved only

through a carefully thought out slowing down of each beat. In the same piece, Piu lento follows

the ritardandi as a refrain at the end of the A sections, which seem slower due to augmentation

and the decrease in inner movement of the beats. Brahms also uses fermatas before new sections

to prolong the final beats, implying the arrival of a slightly different tempo, as in Op. 117/1 and 3,

and also in Op. 118/5. Another tempo-related term is sostenuto, suggesting a slower tempo

throughout its duration as in Op. 118/3, bars 71-78, followed by poco a poco in tempo. This must

be different from ritardando, as the term sost is followed by a rit. in 117/2, bars 26-30.

In the miniatures, Brahms creates a continuous forward motion through various metrical

and rhythmic ambiguities, such as offsetting cadential accents by metrical displacements (as in

Op. 118/2), diluting harmonic resolutions with false or partial cadences, and eliding full cadences

with

the

succeeding

phrase

to

lessen

its

force

(Op.

118/6,

bar

55).

Phrase

elisions,

augmentations, with motives and phrases out of phase with the measure or the expected sequence,

add to the tension, creating potential energy and an unavoidable pace, which as Brahms argued, is

inherent in the music. Changes in the texture, articulation and general character of the music

marks the arrival of new sections (best seen in Op. 118/3 and 6; Op. 119/2 and 4), and gives the

feeling of a new tempo, although it is not necessarily so. Brahms does not resolve various

tensions at the same time, and although many events, whether melodic, harmonic, rhythmic or

metrical, take place simultaneously, they are out of phase with each other, making the final

resolution all the more effective. All these techniques enabled him to build up intense constructs

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