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Thread: Defining the Rondo form and Mozart's "Turkish" rondo in sonata K 331/300i

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    Default Defining the Rondo form and Mozart's "Turkish" rondo in sonata K 331/300i

    I am pretty new to musical forms of the Classical era. Can someone clarify what a rondo is for me...

    I thought I knew what a rondo was; I understood it as a multi section piece that has a 1st theme (A) and other eipisodes (B,C,D...). What I read was that to be a rondo, after and episode is played, the music must return to the A theme before playing another episode (e.g. A-B-A-C-A).

    But looking at Mozart's famous 3rd movement to Piano Sonata 11, the pattern is said to be A–B–C–D–E–C–A–B–C–coda and that sounds right to me.

    So is my definition of a rondo wrong or is the Mozart movement "alla turca" not really a rondo?

    Thanks!

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by khoff999 View Post

    So is my definition of a rondo wrong or is the Mozart movement "alla turca" not really a rondo?

    Thanks!
    It's not a simple question. In a sense, rondo in the High Classical style is more of a procedure than a form. After all, each of the following is a typical rondo pattern but no two are the same:

    ABACA
    ABACABA
    ABACADAEA
    ABACADABA

    The procedure is: Write a theme in the tonic which is played at least three times with intervening episodes (often in other keys).

    But "rondo" also tends to imply certain stylistic features and characteristics: lighthearted tone, fast tempo, phrase structure based on clear, simple periods, tonal stability, and appearance as the finale of a multimovement work.

    So, the Mozart is not a typical rondo in its formal layout. But it has all of the other usual stylistic features one expects of a rondo in a classical sonata.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Oct-20-2019 at 15:15.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    ....

    But "rondo" also tends to imply certain stylistic features and characteristics: lighthearted tone, fast tempo, phrase structure based on clear, simple periods, tonal stability, and appearance as the finale of a multimovement work.

    So, the Mozart is not a typical rondo in its formal layout. But it has all of the other usual stylistic features one expects of a rondo in a classical sonata.
    Got it. Much appreciated.

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    Senior Member jegreenwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    It's not a simple question. In a sense, rondo in the High Classical style is more of a procedure than a form. After all, each of the following is a typical rondo pattern but no two are the same:

    ABACA
    ABACABA
    ABACADAEA
    ABACADABA

    The procedure is: Write a theme in the tonic which is played at least three times with intervening episodes (often in other keys).

    But "rondo" also tends to imply certain stylistic features and characteristics: lighthearted tone, fast tempo, phrase structure based on clear, simple periods, tonal stability, and appearance as the finale of a multimovement work.

    So, the Mozart is not a typical rondo in its formal layout. But it has all of the other usual stylistic features one expects of a rondo in a classical sonata.
    How would you describe the Rondeau that concludes K498, the Kegelstatt Trio?

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    Senior Member caters's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by khoff999 View Post
    I am pretty new to musical forms of the Classical era. Can someone clarify what a rondo is for me...

    I thought I knew what a rondo was; I understood it as a multi section piece that has a 1st theme (A) and other eipisodes (B,C,D...). What I read was that to be a rondo, after and episode is played, the music must return to the A theme before playing another episode (e.g. A-B-A-C-A).

    But looking at Mozart's famous 3rd movement to Piano Sonata 11, the pattern is said to be A–B–C–D–E–C–A–B–C–coda and that sounds right to me.

    So is my definition of a rondo wrong or is the Mozart movement "alla turca" not really a rondo?

    Thanks!
    I can tell you that Mozart's Rondo Alla Turka is not a simple Rondo form, but rather it is in Sonata-Rondo form. If you do a sectional analysis, this is what you get:

    A-B-A-C-D-E-D-C-A-B-A-C-Coda

    Where:

    • A - First section, starts with a sixteenth note figure
    • B - Second section, Episode 1, Goes to C major before going back to A minor
    • C - Third section, Delineation point, Scales in A major
    • D - Fourth section, Main theme of development, F# minor
    • E - Fifth section, Episode of development, A major
    • Coda - Further development of C section and then a final cadence


    And:

    • Exposition: A-B-A-C
    • Development: D-E-D-C
    • Recapitulation: A-B-A-C


    Sonata-Rondo form is where you have large scale sections that follow your typical Sonata form, but within each large scale section, there are smaller scale sections that get across the feel of a Rondo. And that is exactly the form that Mozart uses for Rondo Alla Turka.

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jegreenwood View Post
    How would you describe the Rondeau that concludes K498, the Kegelstatt Trio?
    Sounds like a "by the book" seven part rondo — four statements of the rondo theme in the tonic key, episodes hitting all the other diatonically related keys: V — vi/iii — IV. The fact that the first episode is in the dominant and it ends with the standard cadencial trill, followed by a codetta based on the rondo theme gives the beginning some of the feel of a sonata form exposition.

    Quote Originally Posted by caters View Post
    I can tell you that Mozart's Rondo Alla Turka is not a simple Rondo form, but rather it is in Sonata-Rondo form. If you do a sectional analysis, this is what you get:

    A-B-A-C-D-E-D-C-A-B-A-C-Coda

    Where:

    • A - First section, starts with a sixteenth note figure
    • B - Second section, Episode 1, Goes to C major before going back to A minor
    • C - Third section, Delineation point, Scales in A major
    • D - Fourth section, Main theme of development, F# minor
    • E - Fifth section, Episode of development, A major
    • Coda - Further development of C section and then a final cadence


    And:

    • Exposition: A-B-A-C
    • Development: D-E-D-C
    • Recapitulation: A-B-A-C


    Sonata-Rondo form is where you have large scale sections that follow your typical Sonata form, but within each large scale section, there are smaller scale sections that get across the feel of a Rondo. And that is exactly the form that Mozart uses for Rondo Alla Turka.
    This is all incorrect. You have misunderstood sonata rondo form. You should get a book on form and find some actual examples of sonata rondo.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Oct-22-2019 at 14:57.

    What greater comfort does time afford than the objects of terror re-encountered and their fraudulence exposed in the flash of reason?
    — William Gaddis, The Recognitions

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    Basil Valentine

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    It's not a simple question. In a sense, rondo in the High Classical style is more of a procedure than a form. After all, each of the following is a typical rondo pattern but no two are the same:

    ABACA
    ABACABA
    ABACADAEA
    ABACADABA

    So, the Mozart is not a typical rondo in its formal layout. But it has all of the other usual stylistic features one expects of a rondo in a classical sonata.
    So we should also know that, as in Charles Rosen's book "Sonata Form," that in classical music, there is no such thing! These "forms" are very vague and general.

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