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date: 21 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

An eighteenth-century musical topic is a familiar figure, texture, genre, or style that is imported into a new context, where it may interact with other topics and the prevailing discourse of a movement in ways that may spark creative meanings. These interactions are analogous to the processes that produce tropes in literary language. A merger of expressive meanings may produce an effect akin to metaphor, whereas resistance to merger may signal some form of irony. Degrees of compatibility, dominance, creativity, and productivity among topics and tropes are explored in Mozart’s instrumental works, with extended examples drawn from the first movements of Mozart’s Piano Sonatas in F major, K. 332, and D major, K. 576, and the second and fourth movements of his String Quartet in D minor, K. 421.

Keywords: Mozart, topic, trope, metaphor, irony, compatibility, dominance, creativity, productivity

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