Reference Entry

Canon (opera)

Julian Budden and Stanley Sadie

in Oxford Music Online

Published in print December 1992 |
Published online January 2002 | e-ISBN: 9781561592630 | DOI:

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The device of canon – where one voice imitates another, in some more or less exact way – is relatively unusual in opera. Many duets of the Baroque period begin canonically, or embody short examples of canonic writing. A more extended use of canon established itself in operatic ensembles towards the end of the 18th century, chiefly in Vienna, whence it passed during the following century to Italy, where it was usually termed ‘falso canone’, since it never proceeds beyond the entry of the last voice.

The device was much favoured by Vicente Martín y Soler, who included three-voice canons in In amor ci vuol destrezza (1784, Venice) and in his Viennese operas Una cosa rara (1786) and L’arbore di Diana (1787). His example was followed by Storace in Gli equivoci (1786) and by Salieri in La cifra (1789) – which features a canon 9 in 3 – and ...

Reference Entry.  529 words. 

Subjects: Music Production Engineering ; Opera

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