(1) Six Rondos for the Harpsichord or Pianoforte, Opus 3 by English composer Jane Savage was published ca. 1783 by Longman & Broderip. Three of the six rondos are reprinted in Volume 3 of Women Composers - Music through the Ages, "Composers Born 1700 to 1799." Deborah Hayes indicates that these rondos exhibit typical Classical-period characteristics, especially with the tonal or key-area relationships between episodes and rondo themes. What other characteristics do these rondos reveal? Do they exhibit other typical Classical-period characteristics? It is not possible within the scope of this essay to compare Savage's rondos to works by other composers of the Classical-period to ascertain similarities. Rather an overview of characteristics of a rondo will be examined using information from various theorists. Then Savage's rondos will be analysed ascertain whether she composed in this style.
(2) Although the rondo form is generally used as the final movement of a multi-movement
of a symphony, sonata, chamber work or concerto, it was also used in individual pieces
(Berry 122). An example of this use is found in Savage's collection Six Rondos for
the Harpsichord or Pianoforte, Opus 3, which was published soon after Opus 2,
apparently published in 1783 by Longman & Broderip "for the author" (Hayes 127).
Three of the six rondos are presently published in Volume 3
of Women Composers - Music through the Ages, "Composers Born 1700 to 1799"
(3) All three rondos share common characteristics. She uses a seven-part rondo form
(A-B-A-C-A-D-A-coda). The eight measure rondo theme remains relatively the same
throughout the work: at times she subtly alters it through pitch and articulation
variations. In the alternating couplets or digressions and codas, she incorporates a
high degree of integration by developing the basic thematic material, weaving them into
different patterns. She also incorporates tonal contrast, a common characteristic of
(10) The musical narrative begins with the motive in the rondo theme. Particularly important is the melodic motive that emphasizes the pitch e - a dotted eighth note combined with a sixteenth note (followed by a melodic extension) - which leads to the melodic focal point in the rondo theme at m. 6.
Figure 1: mm. 6-7, p. 130
The basic gesture from this motive is repeated at cadential points throughout the rondo in the first episode (B) at m. 16, in the second episode (C) at m. 32 and in the third episode (D) at m. 56.