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The recognition of topoi, i.e. traditional formulae, is an important means of musical analysis. To illustrate this, the paper discusses the types of the battaglia and the pastoral in Bach’s Cantata Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ, and briefly enumerates different types of allusions to jazz in 20th-century compositions by Stravinsky, Milhaud, Blacher, Tippet, and Zimmermann. Then it raises the possibility of an analysis of topoi in Bartók’s music in four main categories. It considers Bartók’s musical quotations from Bach to Shostakovich; the chorale as special topos appearing in Mikrokosmos, in the Concerto for Orchestra, in the Adagio religioso of the Third Piano Concerto; the topos-like employment of the tritone; and finally the idea of a Bartókian Arcadia in the Finale of Music for Strings, and the integration of bird song in the Adagio religioso.

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