Mozart Marriage Of Figaro Analysis

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6. Take a single act from the Marriage of Figaro and, using particular examples, show how Mozart structures the act in terms key, form and texture. How does the opera critique the social order of the time?

This essay looks at the first act of Mozart’s opera buffa ‘Marriage of Figaro’ in detail,

specifically focussing on the key, form and texture used within this act. Alongside this,

the essay will also analyse how the opera as an entirety critiques the social order of

the time.

The story reflects the 18th century social battles between the lower class servants

and their aristocratic masters, dealing with the machinations in their relationships

impeded by rivalries, jealousies and vengeance.

The Marriage of Figaro was written
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(Marriage of Figaro (Mozart) Mini Guide p^^^^). This

leads the pair into a Recitative where Susanna expresses her concern in the typical

speech-like style of a recit.

The phrases start long with a question and answer effect but they progress into shorter

phrases as the tension builds as Susanna and Figaro start to argue.

The chords throughout this piece are all heard in first inversion in order to make shifts

between keys easy, however, each cadence is played in F major. Chords move

through the circle of fifths starting on G and ending with Bb, with chords changing at

the end of each statement on the last syllable. The use of the circle of fifths reflects

the conflict happening on stage, giving the effect of a darkened mood, underlined with a

sudden modulation to D minor.

Figaro begins to lack comprehension which is portrayed through a modulation to A

major, the corresponding false relation. A modulation to D major is heard as Susanna teases

Figaro by saying ‘you are my servant, no?’ and brightens the mood. However, the circle of

fifths is repeated a further time to end with Bb major.

Susanna concludes that she is his intended victim, which leads into another longer

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