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#1197072 - 05/11/09 02:02 AM Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven
xxmynameisjohnxx Offline
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Registered: 10/27/08
Posts: 625
Loc: San Diego
So for my English class I need to write a compare/contrast essay. I'm planning to do it on Mozart and Beethoven. Does anyone here have any good sources that they might remember where I can get a good start? I of course already have wikipedia and others like that on the individual composer which I can use for the whole essay, but I was wondering if there were any that already compared Beethoven's and Mozart's music so I could get more of a reference.
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#1197077 - 05/11/09 02:13 AM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: xxmynameisjohnxx]
Coolkid70 Offline
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Registered: 03/27/08
Posts: 378
Loc: Irvine, CA
Are you sure you want to do Mozart and Beethoven? To me, it would make a little more sense to compare Mozart and Haydn, since they were friends and favorable critics of each other.

But either way, maybe you should look at an analysis of, say, a piano sonata from each one and try to talk about the style. It might be a little more focused than just looking for general comparisons.
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#1197079 - 05/11/09 02:20 AM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: Coolkid70]
xxmynameisjohnxx Offline
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Registered: 10/27/08
Posts: 625
Loc: San Diego
Well I was thinking Mozart and Beethoven because both of them are very well known to people even not into classical music and are pretty much the two biggest names in the classical period although their styles are incredibly different. I want to do Beethoven because I love Beethoven and virtually everything he wrote, he's definitely in the top of my favorite/most influential composers list. I like the idea of analyzing a single sonata of each, or maybe even analyzing a symphony. That would be good. I'll of course need to spend some time doing a general comparison of the composers but getting specific with the sonata is a great idea, thanks!
_________________________
Chopin: Nocturne No. 15 in Fm. Op. 55 no.1.

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#1197080 - 05/11/09 02:20 AM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: xxmynameisjohnxx]
BruceD Offline
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If this were to be a research paper then you would need to go to various sources about the musical styles of these two composers and base your paper on what you glean from those resources, citing them appropriately as you go.

However, since this is a paper for an English class it sounds to me that it is not a research paper but rather one in which you express your own opinions on the subject; it's the process rather than the product that is the more important. It further seems to me, again, since it's an English paper, that the technical specifics of these two composers' styles is less important than how you handle the exercise of comparing and contrasting their styles, generally.

If you describe the Classical style of writing and the early Romantic style of writing, then you should have material to make your own comparisons and contrasts. If you already have sources on the two composers - and their styles? - then you should have all you need to compare and contrast them.

Regards,
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BruceD
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#1197084 - 05/11/09 02:30 AM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: BruceD]
xxmynameisjohnxx Offline
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Registered: 10/27/08
Posts: 625
Loc: San Diego
Well, you are correct in saying that the main point of the paper is the technical exercise of writing a compare and contrast essay, no the research that goes into it. As a music major though I want to be as accurate and in depth as needed. I have sites on the individual composers, I just didn't know if anyone had anything that was specifically comparing the two already so I could read that. That's all I was asking.
_________________________
Chopin: Nocturne No. 15 in Fm. Op. 55 no.1.

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#1197085 - 05/11/09 02:41 AM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: xxmynameisjohnxx]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: xxmynameisjohnxx
Does anyone here have any good sources that they might remember where I can get a good start?
Hmmm...made out of trees....available in libraries (only just!)....oh, I remember - books!
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#1197087 - 05/11/09 02:45 AM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: keyboardklutz]
xxmynameisjohnxx Offline
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Registered: 10/27/08
Posts: 625
Loc: San Diego
Very funny KBK, I was hoping to check out my school's library tomorrow but I figured that internet sources are just as good for this class and easier to use, :P.
_________________________
Chopin: Nocturne No. 15 in Fm. Op. 55 no.1.

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#1197090 - 05/11/09 02:46 AM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: keyboardklutz]
David-G Offline
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Registered: 01/17/06
Posts: 1244
Loc: London
You need to decide if you are comparing and contrasting their lives, and/or their character, as well as their music. For the music, listening is your best source.

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#1197092 - 05/11/09 02:54 AM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: David-G]
xxmynameisjohnxx Offline
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Registered: 10/27/08
Posts: 625
Loc: San Diego
It'll start with an intro paragraph of their lives, and then I'll go into their music. I feel that the best way to compare and contrast them is the passion in their music. I feel that Mozart composed beautiful, perfect, very free, light hearted music in general...where as Beethoven just poured himself into his music and the broad range of emotions is just huge.
_________________________
Chopin: Nocturne No. 15 in Fm. Op. 55 no.1.

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#1197102 - 05/11/09 03:47 AM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: xxmynameisjohnxx]
David-G Offline
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Registered: 01/17/06
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Loc: London
With respect, I would disagree. There is as much Mozart in his music, as there is Beethoven in his. Mozart's operas, in particular, contain a huge range of emotions. And listen to the G minor string quintet, or the C minor or D minor piano concertos; light-hearted??? Mozart's understanding of humanity, as demonstrated by his operas, is supreme.

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#1197135 - 05/11/09 06:27 AM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: David-G]
pianoloverus Offline
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Jim Hession, a terrific stride pianist, described it like this on one of his videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=934MWKYYQNc

Ragtime is to stride as Mozart is to Beethoven. This is somewhat simplistic but still a very interesting comparison.


Edited by pianoloverus (05/11/09 06:33 AM)

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#1197138 - 05/11/09 06:50 AM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: xxmynameisjohnxx]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13818
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Originally Posted By: xxmynameisjohnxx
Very funny KBK, I was hoping to check out my school's library tomorrow but I figured that internet sources are just as good for this class and easier to use, :P.


Internet sources for classical music are far inferior to books, especially where major composers are concerned. You'll want to have a look at things like Charles Rosen's book on sonata form, "Performance Practices in Classical Piano Music" by Sandra Rosenblum, William Kinderman's book on Beethoven, and Maynard Solomon's biography of Mozart. Also of interest would be Leonard Meyer's "Emotion and Meaning in Music" and Leonard Ratner's "Classic Music: Expression, Form, and Style."

Plus, use the scores as primary sources themselves, especially in cases where two pieces might invite comparison. (For example, Mozart's d minor concerto and Beethoven's C minor concerto - Beethoven admitted to liking the Mozart, and both are each composer's only minor key concerto.)

As we've recently discovered with the thread on Chopin Op. 25#12 and fugues, some internet sources are laughably bad.
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#1197153 - 05/11/09 07:49 AM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: David-G]
rrb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 212
Loc: Bend, USA
Originally Posted By: David-G
With respect, I would disagree. There is as much Mozart in his music, as there is Beethoven in his.... Mozart's understanding of humanity, as demonstrated by his operas, is supreme.


I have some difficulty believing that anyone, even as monumentally gifted an individual as Mozart, who dies in his mid-thirties can have a 'supreme understanding of humanity'.

In regard to choosing Mozart and Beethoven as a suitable subject for a compare/contrast study, I agree with other posters who have pointed out that this is a rather ambitious undertaking. I'm all for 'aiming high', but this is higher than I would myself aim.

Maybe that's, in a nutshell, the wisdom and the curse of relative decrepitude tired
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#1197159 - 05/11/09 08:09 AM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: rrb]
Music Major Offline
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Registered: 07/04/06
Posts: 301
Loc: Tampa, FL
I would agree with "coolkid70" and others here. You may want to consider another comparison. I would also suggest Mozart and Haydn. They lived in about the same time, but their lives were very different. Haydn was very small town country type, and Mozart was big city because of much traveling. I think you will get a better comparison paper from these two.
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#1197166 - 05/11/09 08:23 AM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: Music Major]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13818
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I think a Beethoven/Mozart comparison is fine. Biographically, there's much to be said about the role of their fathers, and each had a career that was a bit less stable than Haydn's.

Both Mozart and Beethoven were concertizing pianists (Haydn not so much), and Mozart and Beethoven found important audiences in Vienna (as opposed to Haydn's stable Esterhazy gig.)

Musically, Beethoven and Mozart represent the "First Viennese School" - to which Schoenberg and his disciples would be compared a hundred years later.

Of course, there are major differences - Mozart excelled in an area which Beethoven did not, and Beethoven's motivic construction is more allied with Haydn's style than Mozart's penchant for "singing allegro" melodies.

Sorry, I better stop before I write his paper for him. (I often shudder to think how much of Piano World has been plagiarized in Music Appreciation courses across the US.) laugh
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#1197218 - 05/11/09 10:13 AM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: Kreisler]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
(I often shudder to think how much of Piano World has been plagiarized in Music Appreciation courses across the US.) laugh


Probably true!


Oh, and to spice the comparison, xx....xx should listen (and read through) some late Mozart piano work, and some of the early Beethoven sonatas. Then he can see the similarities and differences at just about the same moment in time. He can also witness Beethoven poaching a few things from Mozart!
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#1197238 - 05/11/09 10:51 AM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: Kreisler]
sotto voce Offline
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Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Plus, use the scores as primary sources themselves, especially in cases where two pieces might invite comparison. (For example, Mozart's d minor concerto and Beethoven's C minor concerto - Beethoven admitted to liking the Mozart, and both are each composer's only minor key concerto.)

This might be misread as stating that Mozart only wrote one minor-key concerto. Just to clarify, there are two (as David-G mentioned earlier): c minor (K. 491) and d minor (K. 466).

Also, while I wouldn't underestimate the need for doing the requisite research or the need for accuracy in making a sound comparison, Bruce's observation that this is a paper for an English class is worth repeating. The exercise of comparing and contrasting within the form of a skillfully structured essay is a more important consideration than the musicology that drives the content.

Steven
_________________________

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#1197267 - 05/11/09 11:35 AM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: Kreisler]
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Originally Posted By: xxmynameisjohnxx
Very funny KBK, I was hoping to check out my school's library tomorrow but I figured that internet sources are just as good for this class and easier to use, :P.


Internet sources for classical music are far inferior to books, especially where major composers are concerned.


That is very true.
If you want to be a serious musician. Let me rephrase that: if you want to be taken seriously at all, you need become familiar with more authoritative sources.
When I use online sources like "wiki," I tend to use them as a starting point - never as something I footnote or otherwise reference.

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#1197287 - 05/11/09 12:00 PM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: rrb]
Janus K. Sachs Offline
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Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1712
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
Originally Posted By: rrb
I have some difficulty believing that anyone, even as monumentally gifted an individual as Mozart, who dies in his mid-thirties can have a 'supreme understanding of humanity'.

I'm guessing you have not studied Mozart's operas (especially from Idomeneo onwards) in any kind of depth. A pity.
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Die Krebs gehn zurcke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.

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#1197306 - 05/11/09 12:25 PM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: xxmynameisjohnxx]
Otis S Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/08
Posts: 204
This is a great topic. However, it would be difficult to treat it with proper depth in an essay for an English class. A proper treatment of the subject could easily consume an entire book. Therefore, it is important to pick out a few things to focus on with the understanding that you will have to leave out detailed information.

A very comprehensive biography of Mozart is “W. A. Mozart” by Hermann Abert (English tranlation by Stewart Spencer). Wolfgang Hildesheimer and Alfred Einstein have also written highly regarded biographies of Mozart which are shorter. Maynard Solomon has written accessible biographies of both Mozart and Beethoven.

Regarding Beethoven,"Thayer's Life of Beethoven" is a classic biography in two parts. H. C. Robbins Landon has written a good biography entitled "Beethoven: His Life, Work and World".

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#1197347 - 05/11/09 01:34 PM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: Phlebas]
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: Phlebas
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Originally Posted By: xxmynameisjohnxx
Very funny KBK, I was hoping to check out my school's library tomorrow but I figured that internet sources are just as good for this class and easier to use, :P.


Internet sources for classical music are far inferior to books, especially where major composers are concerned.


That is very true.
If you want to be a serious musician. Let me rephrase that: if you want to be taken seriously at all, you need become familiar with more authoritative sources.
When I use online sources like "wiki," I tend to use them as a starting point - never as something I footnote or otherwise reference.


Very true. I use the sources sited in the Wiki as a starting point for my research when needed. As a current college student, I'm not allowed to use the good old Wiki as a source for anything. If it is used, the instructors remove points from the paper.

John
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#1197356 - 05/11/09 01:43 PM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: John Citron]
BruceD Offline
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As others have observed and which, I believe, bears repeating, this is not to be a paper on the analysis of musical styles. Therefore I would suggest that the OP decide on a few pertinent features to compare both in the lives and in the compositions of the two composers in question, that he clearly delineate those limitations in the introduction to the paper, and that he get on with the exercise in comparing and contrasting.

Regards,
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#1197376 - 05/11/09 02:28 PM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: xxmynameisjohnxx]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Originally Posted By: xxmynameisjohnxx
So for my English class I need to write a compare/contrast essay. I'm planning to do it on Mozart and Beethoven. Does anyone here have any good sources that they might remember where I can get a good start? I of course already have wikipedia and others like that on the individual composer which I can use for the whole essay, but I was wondering if there were any that already compared Beethoven's and Mozart's music so I could get more of a reference.


Do not, I repeat, do not use Wikipedia as a source for any kind of class paper. As much as I like Wikipedia for casual browsing, it is not appropriate for this use.

As BruceD pointed out, you basically need to describe the Classical and Early Romantic styles of composition. I recommend you use a Venn diagram to help you visualize the comparisons and contrasts while you do your preliminary work. (some might call it invention)

Good luck! smile
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#1197389 - 05/11/09 02:46 PM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: rrb]
David-G Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/06
Posts: 1244
Loc: London
Originally Posted By: rrb
Originally Posted By: David-G
With respect, I would disagree. There is as much Mozart in his music, as there is Beethoven in his.... Mozart's understanding of humanity, as demonstrated by his operas, is supreme.


I have some difficulty believing that anyone, even as monumentally gifted an individual as Mozart, who dies in his mid-thirties can have a 'supreme understanding of humanity'.

Shakespeare had written several of his most famous plays by his mid-thirties.

But as for Mozart, you only have to listen to the operas.

"Mozart ... was the first composer to perceive clearly the vast possibilities of the operatic form as a means of creating characters, great and small, who moved, thought and breathed musically like human beings." (Spike Hughes)

"Mozart is a great dramatist because the atmosphere, the action, and the character of the drama are all expressed by the orchestra. If the performers listen to the orchestra, know the orchestration, they will know what their characters are doing. The score of Figaro for instance, contains a continuous commentary on the failings, the weaknesses and the anguish of the characters." (Peter Hall)

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#1197426 - 05/11/09 03:39 PM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: xxmynameisjohnxx]
Otis S Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/08
Posts: 204
Here are 3 suggestions for writing an academic essay of this nature:

1. Pick a subject of appropriate scope. A full comparison of Mozart and Beethoven is far too broad for a short to medium length essay. Narrowing the scope is essential. For example, one could write an entire essay on how Mozart's C Minor piano concerto 24, k. 491, influenced Beethoven. If one wanted to broaden the topic, an alternative could be how Mozart's minor key works for piano (e.g. K. 491, piano sonata and fantasy, K. 457 and 475, piano sonata in A minor, k. 310, piano concerto #20 in D minor, k. 466, Rondo in A Minor , K. 511 (this work may have influenced Chopin as well), etc.) influenced Beethoven.

The title and introductory paragraphs should properly delineate the scope of what is in the essay. The essay should not claim to be an overall comparison of Mozart and Beethoven if only a small number of their works (or a small number of incidents in their lives) are discussed.

2. Stick as much as possible to factual information which can be substantiated (e.g. the larger scale that Beethoven introduced for his symphonies, Mozart's greater facility in writing operas, his faster rate of composing pieces, Beethoven's expansion of the development and coda sections in his sonata form movements). Subjective statements such as the one earlier in this thread that "Mozart composed beautiful, perfect, very free, light hearted music in general...where as Beethoven just poured himself into his music and the broad range of emotions is just huge." detract from the essay and (as this thread indicates) are likely to cause disagreement.

3. The essay should be properly researched with good bibliographic references and citations.

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#1197605 - 05/11/09 09:19 PM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: Otis S]
Schubertian Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 937
Loc: Dallas, TX, US
OtisS' suggestions are very good - as are many others here.

I think it might be interesting to focus on the political and social upheavals witnessed during these 2 lives - Mozart was not only the consummate musician from an early age but was comfortable with royalty - music had a certain role in aristocratic society in Paris and Vienna - how did this change after the revolution?

Beethoven - also a great virtuoso - was clearly uneasy in society - he represents a new type of artist with a new message - closer to romanticism - closer to the artist of the 18th century such as Beaudelaire - what was the role of music after the revolution?
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#1197715 - 05/12/09 12:14 AM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: Schubertian]
BruceD Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
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Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: Schubertian
[...]Beethoven - also a great virtuoso - was clearly uneasy in society - he represents a new type of artist with a new message - closer to romanticism - closer to the artist of the 18th century such as Beaudelaire - what was the role of music after the revolution?


If you mean Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), he was a 19th century poet, not 18th century. Even Beethoven lived into the 19th century.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
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Estonia 190

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#1197744 - 05/12/09 01:37 AM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: xxmynameisjohnxx]
lisztonian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/07
Posts: 266
If I had a project like this, I would find it quite interesting to compare and contrast a composer from the baroque era with one from the romantic. Leaves much material open to write about.
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#1197749 - 05/12/09 01:47 AM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: Otis S]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
I've heard it said that Mozart is "spirit" while Beethoven is "heart."

That could be a starting point for you.
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#1197759 - 05/12/09 02:09 AM Re: Comparing and contrasting Mozart and Beethoven [Re: eweiss]
xxmynameisjohnxx Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/08
Posts: 625
Loc: San Diego
I was originally thinking of doing Bach to Beethoven or Chopin, but seeing as how I've put this off till last minute, it doesn't need to be to long in length, and I am already somewhat familiar with the lives of Mozart and Beethoven, this one is the most accessible comparison to me. If I were writing this for a music history or theory class I would probably choose Bach to Chopin or something like that.

And thanks for the comment Eweiss. Seems like something I could look into.
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