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Mozart's Sonata K331 Essay

1011 words - 4 pages

Mozart's Sonata k331

The first movement of Sonata K331 is comprised of a theme, six
variations and a coda. The theme comprises of 18 bars: four times four
bar phrases with an 'extension' tacked onto the end. Mozart followed
this strict binary theme but this does not mean that the music is at
all predictable; he uses different techniques to bring the best out of
this form, as detailed later. The extension is an example of Mozart
surprising the listener and enhancing the journey to the end of the
theme. Each of the groups of four bars ends with a cadence. This is
periodic phrasing, one of many signatures of 'galant' musical style
(also known as Viennese classical music) that had its emphasis on
pleasing the ear with simple melody than brash counterpoint or
intricate texture.

It would be wrong to assume that the basic 8 bar theme (disregarding
for a moment the 2 bar extension) and it's 6 variations are prone to
lack of continuity- although the form can be clearly heard and there
is distinct difference between each variation, several dominating
melodies and musical ideas run through the piece. The Andante rarely
leaves the key of A major, giving the listener a solid base from which
the melodies spring from and grounds the listener so when Mozart
embellishes and decorates the notes in later variations, the driving
force behind the music are still recognisable.

Continuity can also be judged by the form of the piece. The binary
form theme of 4-bar antecedent followed by four bar consequent lets
each train of melody be absorbed and compared easily. However, on the
other side of the argument, the form could be criticised for being too
predictable- all six variations follow exactly the same 18 bar pattern
with the same pattern of imperfect and perfect cadences (the cadence
formation can be seen below). This could be countered by contrasting
the first movement to the radically different form later in the piece
and by pointing out that the use of the two bar extension was unusual
and Mozart added this primarily to avoid becoming too predictable.

A piece lacking in continuity may also have several ideas that may
only appear for short periods in the piece or not work well together.
However, Mozart uses the same simple melodic ideas throughout this
movement that does provide continuity. He achieves this through using
the melody within different textures and not using much counterpoint
at all.

Next is the question of tonal variety-...

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