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date: 21 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The connection between topics and meter was supported by Wye Allanbrook (1983) with references to eighteenth-century authors representing an old tradition of metric notation in which meter was closely related to tempo, affect, and genre. In the late eighteenth century this tradition was continued by Johann Philipp Kirnberger, who posited a standard tempo for each meter: the so-called tempo giusto. But the tradition of tempo giusto was dissolved by another tradition of metric notation in which time signatures had no tempo significance and no affective implications. While the new tradition enabled eighteenth-century composers to include several topics in one piece, it complicates the task of the analyst by making identification of topics contingent on identification of the composed meter and, in some cases, on analysis of phrase structure. This chapter demonstrates the problem of topical identification in relation to the main theme of Mozart’s Symphony in G minor, K. 550/i.

Keywords: topic, meter, metric notation, affect, genre, tempo giusto, Mozart, Kirnberger

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