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Mozart's life * Mozart's times * Mozart's music * Mozart's travels *
Buzz, Moz and the Bees by Roch Carrier

Mozart's Music

Mozart wrote a tremendous amount of music in his short lifetime. In fact, he wrote more than many composers who lived to be twice his age. His compositions number well over six hundred, amounting to about two hundred hours of music. Some pieces last less than a minute, others can take more than three hours to perform. Mozart wrote just about every kind of music there was in his time: symphonies, operas, concertos, sonatas, serenades, divertimentos, masses, and much, much more. Perhaps you have heard of The Magic Flute , Don Giovanni or The Marriage of Figaro, some of his greatest operas, or of the serenade Eine kleine Nachtmusik , or the incredibly beautiful Clarinet Concerto.

Mozart is often referred to as the most universal composer. This means that people everywhere, of all ages, can enjoy his music.. Even if you know nothing about music, you can still enjoy most of it at first hearing. It has that magical combination of lightness, joy, elegance and rhythmic motion. Mozart seems to be in touch with each one of us, making our hearts and minds feel things in ways words or pictures cannot. The magical effect that Mozart's music has on us, more than two centuries after his death, has not diminished.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Minuet in G and Trio in C for Piano (K. 1), composed at the age of five in 1761. (Salzburg, Museum Carolino Augusteum.)

Activity: Play along on your recorder to Mozart's Sonata in A theme

Music Listening Guide!

What do you listen for when a piece of music is playing? Here are some ideas to help you :

MELODY � This is the part of the music you can hum, whistle, or sing to yourself. You might call it a tune. Some melodies bounce all over the place, which may make them difficult to sing, but easy to play on an instrument like the violin or piano.

METER � This is the part of the music you can tap your foot to. You will usually find that the main pulses fit into groups of twos, threes, or fours. A march is �in two� (ONE-two ONE-two) while a waltz is �in three.�

TEMPO � This is the speed of the music. The speed may vary from very slow to very fast. Most composers use Italian words to describe the tempo: adagio, for example, means very slow; andante, moderate; allegro, lively and presto, very fast.

DYNAMICS � Dynamics refer to how loudly or softly the music should be played. Sometimes the dynamics change abruptly, sometimes gradually.

TIMBRE � The specific kind of sound each instrument makes is its timbre. A flute sounds different from a violin, even if it's playing exactly the same note. You can mix timbres, just as you can mix colours in painting. If you mix red and yellow, you get orange. If you mix a flute and a violin, you get a particular mixture of timbres.

HARMONY � Underneath the melody are clusters of notes called chords, each of which sound different. These chords can stand alone, or they can support a melody. Some chords sound gentle and pleasant; some may sound harsh or unpleasant. The composer uses these to create the kind of mood he wants at each moment.

 

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