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Studies in Music with Text$
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David Lewin

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182088

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182088.001.0001

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Musical Analysis as Stage Direction

Musical Analysis as Stage Direction

Chapter:
(p.19) Chapter Two Musical Analysis as Stage Direction
Source:
Studies in Music with Text
Author(s):

David Lewin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182088.003.0002

This chapter proposes two linked ideas about classical music theater. First, it suggests that each analytical observation about the music-cum-text intends (inter alia) a point of dramatic direction. Second, and conversely, it argues that each intuition we have about the behavior of characters on stage naturally seeks its validation (inter alia) through musical-textual analysis. To oversimplify the matter in a brief maxim: no analysis without direction; no directing without analysis. To demonstrate the relation between musical analysis and stage direction, the chapter examines a short passage from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro. The passage, comprising a solo by Count Almaviva, and a subsequent solo by Basilio, opens the first act trio “Cosa sento!” Most people will observe that the Count has trouble making a firm cadence on the tonic, that the cadence on “sento” is somehow unconvincing, and that the Count must work hard—too hard—to achieve the eventual cadence at the end of his solo.

Keywords:   Mozart, Nozze di Figaro, musical analysis, stage direction, Count Almaviva, Basilio, cadence, tonic, sento, solo

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