Essay on Form and Galant Schemata in Mozart’s Symphonic Minuets

Essay on Form and Galant Schemata in Mozart’s Symphonic Minuets

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My undergraduate dissertation, “Form and „galant schemata‟ in Mozart‟s symphonic minuets,” comprised an investigation into the conventionality of Mozart‟s uses of punctuation form in this body of work, focused specifically on how his uses of what Robert Gjerdingen has termed “galant schemata” function in formal manipulations. I had three main research objectives. First, I wanted to uncover how Mozart‟s use of punctuation form compares with conventional practice at the time, focusing particularly on the techniques he uses in manipulating the “rules” governing it. Second, I wanted to explore how an examination of Mozart‟s uses of Gjerdingen‟s “galant schemata” can enrich and help to inform such a discussion. Here, I was focused upon the typicality of Mozart‟s uses of the schemata, and particularly how they function in formal manipulations. Finally, I wanted to trace how such manipulations develop throughout Mozart‟s output, for example how, if at all, the frequency and complexity of manipulations changes over time. To this end, I grouped the symphonies into three main periods: “early symphonies” (1766-1771); “Salzburg-era symphonies” (1771- 1774); and “late symphonies” (1779-1788).1 This essay is a condensed version of that study, conveying the most salient findings and some of the most interesting examples that arose from it. After outlining the context for the project and discussing the two main concepts upon, which it is based and the close link between them in some more detail, I will provide a general overview of my findings from across this entire body of work before pursuing a more
1
Cliff Eisen, et al., "Mozart," Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online (Oxford University Press), accessed December 15, 2012, http://www.oxfor...


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...riod and it is remarkable how closely this
manipulation relates to that of K. 76 despite the vast chronological gap between them (approximately 15 years). Indeed, the Fonte itself is arguably less structurally complex than many examples from his early symphonies. The minuet falls within Koch‟s fifth formal category and, as such, contains a formal modulation to the key of the fifth in the second reprise, ending with a Kadenz in the key of the fifth (K/V, bar 18). Mozart closely follows this with the thematic return and Koch describes how, conventionally, this either begins immediately “or the melody is first led back again to the main key.”23 Mozart chooses the latter option, and it is here that the formal manipulation arises as, instead of forming the required V-phrase, he uses a tonic Fonte, ending on a I-chord prior to the thematic return (bars 19-22, Example 2).

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