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Narratives of Structural Pacing in Mozart's String Quartets and Quintets

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The sonata and rondo forms of Mozart's chamber music for strings rely on specific temporal-spatial dynamics that evade simple comparison to generic structural models. I rely on an understanding of the dual interaction of “real” and “musical” time, here defined as musical “pacing,” in order to examine the role of temporality in the linear narratives of typical late eighteenth-century forms. The linguistic theory of syntax and paratax proposed by structuralist Ferdinand de Saussure suggests a critical perspective clarifying the interdependent dynamics that define Mozartian forms. Within this structuralist context, the linearity of temporal progression ultimately escapes through music's vertical moment of resolution. The temporal impulse of Mozart's tonal structures both defines and liberates itself through his narratives of musical pacing.

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