The classical half cadence on the dominant in the exposition that becomes tonicized after a decisive articulation has been noted only in passing by twentieth-century writers. Even fewer have noted the parallel usage of this device in the recapitulation, where the same half cadence serves as a local dominant. To this neglect can be added the general disdain with which earlier theorists like Czerny, Reicha, A. B. Marx, and Riemann viewed what can be called "the bifocal close." Contrary to the collective ignorance about, or disapproval of, the bifocal close, it turns out to have played an important role in the evolution of the Viennese classical style, especially in the music of W. A. Mozart. Perhaps drawing on his experiences in Mannheim and Paris (two centers where the bifocal close was first cultivated), Mozart used the bifocal close in almost 150 movements, which span from his first symphony to his last piano concerto. For Mozart it was a device that afforded large-scale dissonance and structural symmetry. Its appeal was much less for Joseph Haydn, whose rare usage of the bifocal close betrayed a desire to conceal rather than underscore symmetries. As the classical style waned, so did the importance of the bifocal close. Nevertheless, it can be found in several of Beethoven's early forays into piano sonata, quartet, overture, and symphony, and even beyond.
- Copyright 1989 The American Musicological Society, Inc.