Gratuitous Repetition and Formal Function in Scarlatti's Sonatas

Brian Anderson, University of North Texas

Domenico Scarlatti's music is often deemed incompatible with many modern analytical models. Although Hepokoski and Darcy's (2006) Elements of Sonata Theory cites Scarlatti's sonatas, their focus on Viennese composers complicates how they and other scholars employ the Type 2 sonata as an analytical tool to his oeuvre. I combine the aforementioned formal methods with theories of phrase rhythm and hypermeter (Rothstein 1989, Schachter 1998) to show how a basic phrase lies beneath many of Scarlatti's gratuitous repetitions, which Dean Sutcliffe (2003) refers to as vamps. I claim that vamps represent expansions of the basic phrase and therefore exist outside sonata space. This claim clarifies Scarlatti's formal rhetoric and demonstrates the viability of sonata theory as a vehicle for understanding his music.