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Music Exorcism (Essay Sample)


Discuss the ways in which musical exoticism is used to define and characterize figures both in
Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio, an opera with story and characters, and in his Violin
Concerto No. 5, Mov. 3, an instrumental work. The excerpts from the opera contain both
European and Turkish characters. How does the music used for each character distinguish them
from each other in terms of dramatic and musical exoticism? In his 5th Violin Concerto, How
does Mozart use musical exoticism? Why might he have made the decision to include this
music? What would it have signified to his audience?

Music exoticism Name Institution In the eighteenth century, transcultural composing became popular among artists in Europe with some of the songs produced during this time exhibiting a Turkish, Spanish-gypsy or other distinct eastern culture. European cultures specifically termed the Turkish style as sexually promiscuous and violent as depicted by their fierce dramas and music. Thus, the stereotypic ideas with which the Europeans understood the Turkish music styles were largely depicted in the European exotic music. In the exotic music, the composers used chief characters to portray a distinct foreign artistic characteristics (Bellman, 1993, p. 33). Popular among such exotic music are Mozart’s ‘The Abduction from the Seraglio’ and the Violin Concerto No. 5, Mov. 3. The two invoke and imitates a Turkish Janissaries to provide a unique musical style. In composing of the two arts, Mozart expresses the various stereotypic ideologies which the Europeans expected from Turkish music. In letters to his father and sister, Mozart describes the ‘The Abduction from the Seraglio’ in two major divisions. First, he describes the whole overture to only have 14 bars and only modulating between the piano and the forte (Weiss, 2002, p. 133). On the other side, the Turkish Janissaries only sets in during the forte and would modulate through all the keys. The first chorus is a stereotypic European opera to be sang by Cavalier, Fischer, Osmin, and Adam Berger, while the second chorus in Turkish styles majorly taken by Stephanie. The Second chorus of the opera is preceded with a monologue and an arietta coming in after Osmin’s part. The OsmIn’s rage is comic to correspond with the incoming Turkish music, and the Turkish janissaries are reserved to the great gullet of cavalier. Mozart expresses the stereotypic understanding of Turkish music as violent, comical, quick, and random(Weiss, 2002, p. 134). He further explains that, the Turkish interlude would not send anyone to sleep even to those who had not slept the whole night. The description resembles the stereotypic understanding of the Turkish music by the Europeans who found the music to be violent, loud and not played in whole tunes. The orchestra strings give an evident percussion sound as opposed to the European forward orchestra strings. Mozart expresses high enthusiasm and expectations in impressing Emperor Joseph Singspiel (Rice, 2013, p. 200). In other letters to his father he describes the new song as a composed on many generic elements and styles as those found in the earlier established Ensfuhrung with an added Turkish romance. The emperor’s sarcastic response describing the song as too beautiful and with far too many tunes explains that the European musical styles were lighthearted and less violent. The exotic Turkish music style in further enriched with the consistent flow of melodies in harmony with European styles (Weiss, 2002, p. 134). Similar to the ‘The Abduction from the Seraglio’ libretto, Mozart’s violin concerto No. 5 harbors a high degree of differences between the European and Turkish music. Even without a designated players or occasion, the violin concerto provides a distinct characterization of the two styles. In the first phase, played in the A-major, starts with usual orchestral strings which is furiously shattered by the violin. The slow tempo is then restored and the listener catches up with the slow and murmuring melody which interludes and settles back to the original tempo. The interplay of the styles develops gradually to make a well recognized operatic style. In the finale section the Turkish exoticism is clearly identified through the use of piano sonata which he plays in A-major. The k-331 A-major tune invoke and imitates the largely popularized Pashas’ music. Unlike in the finale, the opening has stereotypic and conventional orchestral play (Locke, 2011, p. 228). In general, the violin concerto can be described as a vigorous although, Mozart pulls a few surprises through incredible harmony between melodies. He juxtaposes the musical styles between Europeans and Turks music through; a slow soothing and relaxed but incongruously played violin in the beginning. The Turkish style is preceded by a perplexing tempo which develop ov...
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