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B. Variations

In the film “Amadeus” there are many examples of Mozart’s skill as a performer. Mozart loved to IMPROVISE and he would often take as his starting point a tune well-known to the audience. Pieces of music deriving from a main tune are known as VARIATIONS.

This passage is from a contemporary account of one of Mozart’s concerts:

“Suddenly a loud voice in the audience cried: ‘From Figarol’. Whereupon Mozart introduced the theme of that favourite aria ‘Non piu andrai farfallone’ and produced impromptu, a dozen of the most fascinating and artful variations and this amid roars of jubilation, concluded this remarkable exhibition of his art”.

TASK 1.

A musical game for developing skills of improvisation and variation.

The group sit in a circle and the leader sings a short tune (original or ‘borrowed’). The next person in the circle changes the tune through slowing it down, speeding it up, singing it backwards, loudly, softly, repetitively or any other manner of variation. The variation then passes to the next person in the circle. New melodies may be introduced at any stage. Try to increase gradually the length of the melodies. This game can also be played using instruments.

Here is the melody heard in the film (as a version of a tune by Salieri):

(Figaro describes to Cherubino the new life he will have to lead as a soldier)

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