Instrumental recitative: A study in morphology and context, 1700-1808

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Published studies of instrumental recitative are the book by Paul Mies ('Das instrumentale Rezitativ', Bonn, 1968) and article by Herbert Seifert ('Das Instrumentalrezitativ vom Barock bis zur Wiener Klassik' (in 'De ratione in musica' ed. T. Antonicek et al., 1975). The present article first attempts to establish commonalities in the motivic formulae used by composers during the period 1700 to 1808. The next section analyses first the imaginative and aesthetic purposes to which instrumental recitatives were put to use, and then the way in which the established motivic formulae are used in them. The penultimate section identifies instrumental adaptations of the operatic 'obbligato recitative' (which appeared around 1720) and correlates them with the four-part classification of aesthetic purposes, already proposed. Composers concerned are C. P. E. Bach, J. Haydn and Mozart. The final section demonstrates links between three pieces where instrumental recitative traditions were integrated within sonata structures: C. P. E. Bach's Andante from the first 'Prussian' keyboard sonata, Wotquenne 48 (1742); Haydn's Adagio from the string quartet Op. 17 no. 5 (1771); and the slow movement of Mozart's E-flat piano concerto, K. V. 271.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComparative Criticism
Subtitle of host publicationA Yearbook
EditorsE. S. Shaffer
Place of PublicationCambridge
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 1982


  • Instrumental recitative, mimesis, eighteenth century, Bach, Kuhnau, Locatelli, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven Catel

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