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date: 21 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the relationship of the lament topic to various form-functional contexts. After explaining that this topic is inextricably linked with a schema defined essentially by its bass voice, the study considers how the intrinsically sequential harmonic content of the schema lends itself well to expressing the formal sense of “being in the middle.” It further demonstrates that the schema can also participate in creating a formal ending, a cadence, and can even be used in an initiating formal context, which may engender the perception of a “formal dissonance,” a conflict between intrinsic and contextual functionality. The pervasive descending bass line of the lament schema, while appropriate for baroque compositional practice, jars somewhat with classical practice, such that the lament topic becomes a touchstone for highlighting stylistic differences among earlier and later works within the eighteenth century.

Keywords: lament, topic, schema, formal function, cadence, formal dissonance, intrinsic functionality, contextual functionality, baroque, classical

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