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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A study of closure in sonata-form first movements in selected works of W. A. Mozart Batt, Robert Gordon


This study of large-scale closure in Mozart's sonata-form first movements focusses on the structure and function of the closing section in these works, the section that brings the exposition and recapitulation sections to an end. Also taken into account are closural effects of the coda (when present) and the subordinate theme area. Because sonata form in the 18th-century involves a variety of differently-functioning sections such as themes and transitions, the analytical approach adopted centers on matters of form—the ways in which all the various channels of musical structure (primarily rhythm, melody, and harmony) interact to shape a particular piece—and in particular on the form of the closing section. The study is limited to one composer's use of one section in one formal type, thereby reaching highly specific conclusions about this facet of sonata form at a particular stage in music history. Since each section of sonata form has a distinct, unique structure and function, the study aims at identifying these in the closing section, and at contrasting them with the other sections of the form. If closure is primarily generated in the closing section, then there must be particular structures found mainly in that section that are responsible for closure. The majority of Mozart's closing sections are based on a model which can be simplified to aabbcc, where each letter symbolizes one group. The second, fourth, and sixth entries may be either exact repeats or variants of the first, third, and fifth entries respectively. The most common lengths in measures are (4 + 4) + (2 + 2) + (1+1). An example is the Sonata for Violin and Piano in B-flat Major, K. 454, mm. 50-65. Chapter 1 is primarily a survey of previous writing on the subject of closure. Chapter 2 presents a theory that accounts for structure at various levels of Mozart's sonata form. Chapters 3 through 6 contain discussion and analysis of different types of closing sections and movements. Chapter 7 includes a summary of the research undertaken.

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