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MUSIC101 Lecture Notes - Passacaglia, Ostinato, Ritornello

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David Gramit

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Forms at Play: Theme and Variations; Rondo - Oct. 10
- A sense of form allows comprehension and expectations
- Expectations allow playing with those expectations
- The play can be elegant or it can be comic
- But it demands your active participation as a listener
- Those difference set todays forms apart from their Baroque parallels:
Theme and Variation bears a resemblance to passacaglia or ground bass
Rondo resembles ritornello (in form)
- The styles set them apart clearly
Theme and Variations
How do Baroque and Classical variations differ?
- Note the lighter tone, clearer, elegance
- The structural difference: bass variations vs. melodic variation
- The stylistic difference: emphasis on the decorative and ornamental
- And a concern for a clear overall shape
- Often leads to gradually quicker motion, a contrast in minor, and a return to major
- Most often the last movement (finale) of a cycle
- Like ritornello form, features periodically returning, refraining like material
Unlike ritornello:
- Contrast isnt primarily soloist vs. group
- Instead, melody, harmony and/or texture vary
- Returns of A are in the same key
- So the same harmonic preparation of the sonata re-transition can be relevant here
- Returns are often played with.
- Rondo is one of the most playful of classical forms
Ex. An exact contemporary of Mozart: Francesca LeBrun (from Mannheim, 1756 1791) Rondeau,
from Piano Sonata in F
- Highly unusual for a woman in the 18c to publish music
A B A C D C trans. A B A coda
(a a) etc. (starts in minor)
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