Normative Wit: Haydn's Personal Sonata Form
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This thesis approaches Haydn’s sonata-form procedures from the perspective of the eighteenth-century listener, asking, if a moment is allegedly “witty” according to modern analysts, would Haydn's contemporary audience have heard it as such? Eighteenth-century wit has two sides: wit involves an aspect of surprise or deception, a breaking of understood norms; however, wit must also involve an unsuspected congruity, a broader connection created only by breaking the aforementioned norm. Taking this as my starting point, I explore false recapitulations in the Haydn’s music, concluding that this device cannot be considered witty because it did not break an understood convention. I then provide detailed analyses of the first movements of Haydn’s “Military” Symphony no. 100 and String Quartet in D major, op. 33 no. 6, arguing that they are witty not solely because they are disruptive, but because this disruption binds the sonata together in an unexpected way.