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Counterpoint in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 March 2008


Counterpoint plays a surprisingly large role in the musical language of Mozart’s Die Entführung au dem Serail. In solo material for the deep bass voice of the character Osmin Mozart suggested contapuntal relationships with other parts to give the vocal line independence from the instrumental bass. In ensemble numbers like Osmin and Blonde’s duet No. 9 the composer strongly suggested a contrapuntal relationship between lines sung by antagonistic characters. In Osmin and Belmonte’s duet No. 2, represented in the sources in a nearly complete sketch, Mozard used numerous contrapuntal techniques in support of the dramatic situation. Though the work was composed right around Mozart’s well-known Bach year of 1782, most of the counterpoint is not particularly Bachian. But the polyphonic textures and contrapuntal thinking mark the work as stylistically connected with the composer’s most mature music. Contrapuntal analysis turns out to be a useful perspective of Mozart’s operatic writing.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press

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