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Thread: Difference between Mozart and modern music

  1. #1
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    Difference between Mozart and modern music

    How do we define the Theory used by Mozart, as opposed to modern music, in which almost anything goes?

    For example, I'm fairly sure that Mozart didn't use 11th chords.

    I'm also pretty sure his key changes followed certain rules, such as only modulating up a fifth or fourth.

    He also used very standardized cadences.

    The more detailed you can be, the better. Also, any links that may further answer this question.

  2. #2
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    You'd need a book or two to answer this question properly, but it would be worth studying this description of the Classical period (Mozart's era):

    http://musiced.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi...xt%3DClassical

    Note that it followed the Baroque era (Bach etc) and preceded the Romantic era (Wagner etc). Beethoven was a transitional figure between Classical and Romantic.

    The Baroque and Classical eras are often known as the "Common Practice Period", when composers tended to follow (and define and develop) the same set of rules, beginning with Counterpoint:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counterpoint

    As well as those rules about harmony and progression, there were formal elements to do with motivic development and recapitulation. (The same kind of things represented in shortened and simplified form in a typical AABA pop song.)

    When you talk about "modern" music, that could of course mean anything!
    Eg, 20thC art music mostly abandoned all the rules of previous classical music, because they regarded that system as exhausted.
    However, jazz and popular music continued (and continues) to follow many of the same principles: ie functional harmony - chords harmonised in 3rds and following progressions in major or minor "keys". Mozart would recognise a lot of modern pop music as following similar harmonic rules to his - albeit somewhat simplified and maybe less strict. He just wouldn't recognise the sounds employed (in particular amplified instruments of course). He would probably find it "noisy" or "discordant", but that would be mainly down to the timbres and textures employed, not the chord types.
    OTOH he would not recognise the music of Stockhausen or Steve Reich as following his tradition at all; he would probably not hear it as "music" at all. (Even if they used an orchestra, it would be a different kind of orchestra as well as totally different compositional rules.)
    He might even raise his eyebrows in shock if he heard a late Romantic composer like Richard Strauss, who had taken the rules of Mozart's period about as far as they could go.

    Jazz and pop/rock also use rhythm in more complicated ways than Mozart did. Mozart may never have heard African or Indian music, but if had he'd probably think our 20thC (and 21stC) popular music had more in common with that than with his European harmonic music. He might also hear resemblances to folk music.

    It's true that one significant harmonic difference is - despite our continued fondness for keys - the blurring of the edges of key rules by modal practices. This is exemplified by modal jazz on the one hand, and by blues on the other. (And probably assisted by the modal habits of traditional folk music.) All these things feed into rock, and colour the ancient influences it still retains from previous popular music going back at least a century (ie the history of recorded music).

    But then, as I say, harmony (chords etc) is a pretty small factor in modern pop and rock. Rhythm, timbre, texture, etc, are more important.

  3. #3
    Registered User jimc8p's Avatar
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    This is actually quite a weird question, but I see where you're coming from...if that makes sense. I can't really give a detailed answer, but I think a more general answer is probably more useful anyway.

    Mozart and that kind of classical music is based almost purely on form. It's intricately designed with certain patterns, contours, stresses, releases and symmetries. Its effect is basically an architectural one, that for the most part gives a logical impression of a kind of a very refined temperament..(which is basically what all of the classical era was aspiring to.)

    "Modern music" on the other hand is not based on form in anywhere near that level of intricacy. Form is secondary to tonality and groove, which are created for simple emotive effects rather than logical ones.

    It's a mistake to think of "Classical music" as a higher or purer form of "regular music", (although it does require a lot more intellect to create). It's just a very different musical concept with different effects. I personally find it quite boring even though I can understand it. It's going against the animal in us and I'm far more interested in music which embraces that.

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    Mozart and modern music

    Quote Originally Posted by humanwar View Post
    How do we define the Theory used by Mozart, as opposed to modern music, in which almost anything goes?

    For example, I'm fairly sure that Mozart didn't use 11th chords.

    I'm also pretty sure his key changes followed certain rules, such as only modulating up a fifth or fourth.

    He also used very standardized cadences.

    The more detailed you can be, the better. Also, any links that may further answer this question.

    Actually Mozart, although solidly from classical period, did use much more complex modulations than just dominant and subdominants. Most of his music surprises because often it does become quite complex and chromatic too. Just listen to the introduction of the dissonance quartet (in C Major). Coincidentally I've written an essay about Mozart and modern music check this link http://www.dailywaffle.co.uk/2011/02...-modern-music/

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimc8p View Post
    Why you think that today music require a lot of intelligence than old day music. I am contradicting this statement, in old day people don't have devices like moderen musical devices which help them in making music. So, i wonder it is much difficult to make music in old times.
    Wood shredder

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    Registered User jimc8p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rexreo7 View Post
    I think you may actually be kind of agreeing with what I said. It requires more intellect and training to be able to create music in the classical style than it does in today's popular style. I was talking from more of a theoretical standpoint, but you're right - accessibility to equipment and learning is a huge hurdle, even today. I can imagine a time when user interfaces become so intuitive that all sorts of complex skills become less necessary...including playing traditional instruments or transcribing music.

    http://www.shredder-blades.com/

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    I think the difference is at the present time music is more influenced by "poppish" style, for example, even the chord's progression these days is becoming plain,simple and easy nothing complex, nothing to look upon as challenging.

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    Last edited by Clevshred; 07-14-2012 at 07:00 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimc8p View Post
    Yes now i got your point , you are right.
    Shredder machine

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