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Essay on Mozart’s “Dove sono” from Act III of Le Nozzedi Figaro.

Jorge Tabarés García – Theory II, Prof. Lynne Rogers

Measures 1 - 18 of “Dove Sono” are a compound period. Here, Mozart organizes

the musical material so that the first sentence ends in a semicadence, and the second

ends in a Perfect Authentic Cadence. The first sentence comprises mm. 1 – 8, and the

second mm. 9 – 18. Both sentences have a similar structure. Sentence number one is 8

measures in length, and has a presentation (mm. 1 – 4) and a continuation (mm. 5 – 8).

The second sentence also has a four-measure presentation, exactly the same as sentence

n.1, but then the continuation has 2 extra measures. From these extra measures, one of

them is an internal expansion (m. 14), and the other extra measure just occurs as a result

of resolving into the P.A.C. The musical fragment is in Do Major.

Further on, the climax of the period occurs on a “Fa,” m. 15. It occurs in the

continuation of sentence n.2, but more specifically right after the internal expansion is

over. The internal expansion corresponds to m. 14, where Mozart uses an Ascending 5 –

6 sequence (Model). Mozart employs several musical features in “Dove Sono” to create

the climax. Firstly, the climax of fragment is sung by the Soprano, however, the viola

supplies the same pitch “Fa” to the soprano when she arrives to the climax. This way

Mozart is adding more intensity to it. Also, the climax at first is consonant with the

bass. It forms a 6th with the bass, m. 15, 2nd half of beat 1. But, on beat two, (still the

climax) the bass moves to a Si, creating a diminished 5th with the soprano and the viola.

This is a very effective musical feature to foster motion and instability, very adequate

for the situation, since a climax should be a point of maximum motion, opposite to the

beginnings where more stability is desired. Moving on, the climax occurs on the second

half of beat 1, as stated before, which means that it is syncopated. Thus the syncopated

1
climax intensifies the sense of motion, which helps to create this climax. Also, the

composer already creates a “small climax” in this passage, before the real one, on m. 6.

The small climax occurs on the same pitch, “Fa.” It is shorter in duration and has a

weaker effect than the real one. However, the usage of a smaller climax is great to add

on to the intensity of the bigger climax. The listener is not fully satisfied when he listens

to the smaller climax. He is kind of left “wanting more,” thus when the real climax

occurs, he is fully satisfied and perceives much more intensity when it happens.