Haydn, Mozart, & Beethoven: Studies in the Music of the Classical Period

By Sieghard Brandenburg | Go to book overview

11
Mozart's Key Signatures: A Peculiar Feature of his Autograph Scores

ALBI ROSENTHAL

Mozart's predilection for playing with words, for anagrams and games of various kinds, is well known and well documented. The numerous instances familiar from many of his letters consisting of anagrams, reshuffling letters within a word or words within a phrase, exchanging the first and last words, or two inner ones, usually symmetrically, have their counterpart even in some passages of Mozart's music, e.g. in the last movement of the String Quartet in F, K. 590, where the notes of the Rondo theme, condensed into a pattern of three tones repeated over and over again, become anagrams of each other (Ex. 11.1).

Mozart's musical handwriting has been studied exhaustively by many scholars, such as Ludwig Schiedermair, Georg Schünemann, Alfred Einstein, and several others, above all by Wolfgang Plath in his magisterial analysis of the development of Mozart's script between 1770 and 1780.1

It was, however, Emanuel Winternitz who examined Mozart's handwriting specifically under the aspect of 'homo ludens', in his comprehensive survey 'Gnagflow Trazom: An Essay on Mozart's Script, Pastimes, and Nonsense Letters'.2 He drew attention particularly to Mozart's 'space aura'--his

____________________
1
Ludwig Schiedermair, W. A. Mozart's Handschrift in zeitlich geordneten Nachbildungen ( Bückeburg and Leipzig, 1919); Georg Schünemann, Musiker-Handschriften von Bach bis Schumann ( Berlin, 1936); Alfred Einstein, Preface to 3rd edn. of Köchel Chronologisch--thematisches Verzeichnis sämtlicher Tonwerke Wolfgang Amadé Mozart's ( Leipzig, 1936; also repr. in 6th ( 1963) and 7th ( 1965) edns., with additions and corrections); Wolfgang Plath, "'Beiträge zur Mozart-Autographie II: Schriftchronologie 1770- 1780'", in Mozart Jahrbuch 1976/77, 131-75.
2
Emanuel Winternitz, Musical Autographs from Monteverdi to Hindemith, 2 vols. ( Princeton, NJ, 1955); id., "'Mozart's Paumgefühl'", in Erich Schenk (ed.), Kongressbericht Wien, Mozartjahr 1956 ( Graz and Cologne, 1958), 736; id., "'Gnagflow Trazom: An Essay on Mozart's Script, Pastimes, and Nonsense Letters'", Journal of the American Musicological Society, 11 ( 1958), 200-16.

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