In the 18th century sectional binary form continued to appear in folk music and in chorales (for example in Bach’s chorale no.38, Straf mich nicht in deinem Zorn). It is most commonly found in arias, and may be understood retrospectively as a da capo form that unexpectedly fails to complete itself. This almost always occurs for dramatic reasons, as in Jonathan’s ‘No, no, cruel father, no!’ from Handel’s Saul, where a lamenting first section in B minor is succeeded by a G major Allegro. Both sections are harmonically closed, leaving the larger structure open; AB is clearly a more appropriate designation here. A more complex example is Iole’s aria ‘My father! ah! methinks I see’ from Handel’s Hercules. In the first section, beginning and ending in C minor, Iole relives the killing of her father by Hercules. The relative major is held in reserve for the second section, in which Iole bids her father rest in peace. Rather than finishing in E♭ major, though, the music clouds over into E♭ minor, implying that Iole’s remembrance of the violent death has invaded her thoughts. The close thus reverts to the mode of the first section and creates some sense of rounded shaping to the whole, if in the first instance for dramatic reasons; there are also some subtle thematic recollections from ...
W. Dean Sutcliffe
Member of Mozart family
(b Augsburg, Nov 14, 1719; d Salzburg, May 28, 1787). Composer, violinist and theorist.
He was the son of an Augsburg bookbinder, Johann Georg Mozart (1679–1736), and attended the Augsburg Gymnasium (1727–35) and the Lyceum adjoining the Jesuit school of St Salvator (1735–6), where he frequently performed as an actor and singer in various theatrical productions; he was also an accomplished organist and violinist. In 1737 Leopold broke with his family and matriculated at the Salzburg Benedictine University, studying philosophy and jurisprudence. He took the bachelor of philosophy degree the next year, with public commendation, but in September 1739 he was expelled for poor attendance and indifference. Shortly after, he became a valet and musician to Johann Baptist, Count of Thurn-Valsassina and Taxis, Salzburg canon and president of the consistory; it was to Thurn-Valsassina that Mozart dedicated his ...
Graham Sadler and Thomas Christensen
(b Dijon, bap. Sept 25, 1683; d Paris, Sept 12, 1764). French composer and theorist. He was one of the greatest figures in French musical history, a theorist of European stature and France's leading 18th-century composer. He made important contributions to the cantata, the motet and, more especially, keyboard music, and many of his dramatic compositions stand alongside those of Lully and Gluck as the pinnacles of pre-Revolutionary French opera.
His father Jean, a local organist, was apparently the first professional musician in a family that was to include several notable keyboard players: Jean-Philippe himself, his younger brother Claude and sister Catherine, Claude's son Jean-François (the eccentric ‘neveu de Rameau’ of Diderot's novel) and Jean-François's half-brother Lazare.
Jean Rameau, the founder of this dynasty, held various organ appointments in Dijon, several of them concurrently; these included the collegiate church of St Etienne (1662–89), the abbey of St Bénigne (...
(b Gainsborough, 1689; d Cambridge, 1768). English mathematician. He entered Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1708, and became a senior Fellow in 1739 and Master in 1742; he was also a Fellow of the Royal Society and Plumian Professor of Astronomy (1716–60). His work on acoustics is contained in Harmonics, or the Philosophy of Musical Sounds (London, 1749/R, enlarged 2/1759) and Postscript … upon the Changeable Harpsichord (London, 1762). The first includes a table showing the rates of beating of tempered 5ths on the various notes of the scale calculated for a series of pitches of performance; the temperaments used are mean-tone and Smith’s own system of equal harmony. It is significant that his approach to the problem of tuning a keyboard instrument was through the judgment of the musician’s ear: he tried out his equal harmony on the harpsichord, and the first organ of the Foundling Hospital, with its system of alternative notes actuated by selective stops, is said to have been built under his direction. In several striking respects he anticipated Helmholtz, who, however, did not know his work....