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#2029985 - 02/09/13 04:50 PM 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....'
bennevis Online   content
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'...and if you can't, it's probably by Haydn' - so says Howard Goodall in his TV series 'Story of Music' which I'm watching right now on BBC 2. He goes on to illustrate what he means by showing a performance of Dove sono from Le nozze di Figaro, then the third movement from the Serenade for 13 wind instruments and Soave sia il vento from Cosi fan tutte - the last being exactly the same clip I posted here recently for Mozart's birthday (http://youtu.be/6Wi7UsXW1As) .

Do you agree?

P.S. 'Howard Goodall's Story of Music' is a series of six one-hour programs which tries to link the past with today's (pop) music and is refreshingly unstuffy. Warning: may raise hackles.....
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#2029993 - 02/09/13 05:15 PM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: bennevis]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: bennevis
Do you agree?

Maybe, except I usually can't remember Mozart tunes either. ha

I mean not exactly. If I hear it for the first time and just once, my recollection is almost always only a simplified version of it. Even having heard it, I can't recreate his subtle twists and turns.

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#2029994 - 02/09/13 05:21 PM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: bennevis]
pianoloverus Online   content
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I see zero truth in the statement.

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#2029996 - 02/09/13 05:33 PM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: bennevis]
currawong Offline
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I think there's plenty of catchy Haydn - but it makes a catchy one-liner I suppose. smile
Not quite the same, but I often find that the little tunes which pop unbidden into my mind end up being Mozart.

I enjoyed Goodall's series (and book) Big Bangs.
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#2029997 - 02/09/13 05:35 PM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: bennevis]
bennevis Online   content
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It might be interesting to do a straw poll - how many tunes by Mozart can you think of in 10 seconds, and how many by Haydn? Or try one whole minute for both? (Don't forget you also have to remember where they come from).

I'm afraid in my case, Goodall's assertion does have a ring of truth about it - for me, Mozart's melodies (and harmonies) are far more memorable.....but it's also the case that I care much more for Mozart than I do for Haydn.
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#2030000 - 02/09/13 05:44 PM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: bennevis]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Goodall's comment about remembering a tune could mean:

1. If you hear tune how easy is to remember?
2. Which composer is more popular and hence more of his works are played or his works are played more frequently? If one composer is more popular, then one will probably be able to think of more tunes.

1 and 2 are completely different. When I said Goodall's comment was nonsense I was thinking of case 1.

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#2030002 - 02/09/13 05:48 PM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart.... [Re: bennevis]
currawong Offline
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Originally Posted By: bennevis
It might be interesting to do a straw poll - how many tunes by Mozart can you think of in 10 seconds, and how many by Haydn? Or try one whole minute for both? (Don't forget you also have to remember where they come from).
A minute is more realistic I think. smile I raced off to do the 10 second test and got 4 for each, but if you had to write it down (even as "verd" for "with verdure clad" from The Creation) it would use up the time. smile
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#2030007 - 02/09/13 06:20 PM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: pianoloverus]
bennevis Online   content
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Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Goodall's comment about remembering a tune could mean:

1. If you hear tune how easy is to remember?
2. Which composer is more popular and hence more of his works are played or his works are played more frequently? If one composer is more popular, then one will probably be able to think of more tunes.

1 and 2 are completely different. When I said Goodall's comment was nonsense I was thinking of case 1.


I think what Goodall is referring to is not tunes you hear for the first time and then recall soon after, but tunes you already know and can recall without prompting. In other words, he's talking about how memorable and easily 'recallable' the tunes of Mozart and Haydn are, as well as (of course) how many 'tunes' by them you've heard.

Mozart's melodies tend to be long-breathed, aria-like, while Haydn's are more 'riff-like' generally (I'm thinking of the beginning of his E flat Sonata H XVI/52 L.62), though of course there's a lot of overlap, like the slow movement of his 'Surprise' Symphony. But then, I immediately think of Mozart's song with the same notes at the beginning: Komm, lieber Mai, K596 (http://youtu.be/Zjh48SwAeU0).....and it's rather more memorable.
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#2030010 - 02/09/13 06:23 PM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart.... [Re: currawong]
bennevis Online   content
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Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: bennevis
It might be interesting to do a straw poll - how many tunes by Mozart can you think of in 10 seconds, and how many by Haydn? Or try one whole minute for both? (Don't forget you also have to remember where they come from).
A minute is more realistic I think. smile I raced off to do the 10 second test and got 4 for each, but if you had to write it down (even as "verd" for "with verdure clad" from The Creation) it would use up the time. smile


Did you try it for one minute? If so, how many did you get for each (without having to write them down - just tick off with your fingers and toes wink )?
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#2030042 - 02/09/13 07:39 PM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: bennevis]
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Originally Posted By: bennevis
'...and if you can't, it's probably by Haydn' -
Do you agree?



For me, it's probably neither. But I would say that if I remembered a tune by Haydn, I wouldn't know it was by Haydn.
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#2030063 - 02/09/13 08:19 PM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: Damon]
bennevis Online   content
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Do you mean then that for you, a tune by Haydn isn't that distinctive and/or could have been composed by anyone else?
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#2030090 - 02/09/13 09:07 PM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: bennevis]
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I mean that if I recall a tune by Haydn, I would be unable to attribute it to him. I don't know if it's distinctive, I'd have to get back to you after I type "the best of Haydn" into youtube search. shocked
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#2030175 - 02/09/13 11:51 PM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: bennevis]
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Perhaps it's because Haydn isn't performed as frequently as Mozart. Or taught as frequently as Mozart. And also that Haydn's compositional style is vastly different from Mozart. (Wondering why Chrome's spell check is telling me compositional is misspelled?)


Edited by DameMyra (02/09/13 11:52 PM)
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#2030264 - 02/10/13 04:48 AM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: bennevis]
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Interestingly, for Richter it was the other way around. He couldn't properly remember Mozart, and Haydn always at the ready. As it happens, just the other day I was singing one of Haydn's tunes from a piano sonata, and guess who's playing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zu8ARer8hT0

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#2030271 - 02/10/13 05:20 AM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: Ian_G]
bennevis Online   content
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Richter has said that he found Mozart very difficult to play well. But then, he isn't the only great pianist to say that.

It's noticeable that there are many, many pianists who play Mozart but not Haydn, but hardly any who play Haydn but not Mozart. Mozart's solo piano music is considered by some 'experts' to be inferior to Haydn's, yet there are many more recordings (on any medium) of Mozart piano sonatas than there are of Haydn's. The same is true of their respective symphonies too. Haydn wrote far more in both those genres than Mozart.

Some people have postulated that in our angst-ridden age, Mozart's music - frequently ambiguous, tinged with pathos (including when you least expect it) - 'speaks' more to us than Haydn's wit and jollity and unashamed love of the good life.

I was determined to learn all the Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven piano sonatas when in my teens, and spent my pocket money buying complete volumes of those scores. A few decades later, my Haydn volumes remain almost in pristine condition (except for a few pages corresponding to a few sonatas), while the Mozart and Beethoven ones are falling apart.

What are others' own experiences of the relative proportion of Haydn to Mozart in their piano playing (excluding piano concertos)?
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#2030295 - 02/10/13 07:25 AM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: DameMyra]
wr Offline
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Originally Posted By: DameMyra
Perhaps it's because Haydn isn't performed as frequently as Mozart. Or taught as frequently as Mozart.


Yes, that's what I was thinking. I've heard much of Mozart so many times that it becomes a sort of classical Muzak, it seems. It's just ubiquitous. Haydn experiences are quite a bit rarer.

But in terms of sheer memorability, I think I can remember Haydn's tunes just as easily as Mozart's. The music of his that I've heard multiple times seems to stick in memory just as easily as Mozart's.

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#2030296 - 02/10/13 07:34 AM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: wr]
bennevis Online   content
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Originally Posted By: wr


I've heard much of Mozart so many times that it becomes a sort of classical Muzak, it seems. It's just ubiquitous. Haydn experiences are quite a bit rarer.

But in terms of sheer memorability, I think I can remember Haydn's tunes just as easily as Mozart's. The music of his that I've heard multiple times seems to stick in memory just as easily as Mozart's.



I must admit that I wouldn't be bothered if I never heard the first movement of Eine kleine Nachtmusik ever again (even in sprightly HIP), so ubiquitous it has become whenever 'classical music' is mentioned in the media. But then Barber's Adagio for Strings also come into the same category, and not just in war movies.....

What are the tunes of Haydn that stick in your memory?
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#2030299 - 02/10/13 07:48 AM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: bennevis]
wr Offline
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Originally Posted By: bennevis


What are the tunes of Haydn that stick in your memory?


I didn't say I could identify the pieces, just that I remember the tunes. For example, there's a motif from one of his piano sonatas that I can easily bring to mind, but I can't tell you the sonata where it appears.

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#2030300 - 02/10/13 07:53 AM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: wr]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: DameMyra
Perhaps it's because Haydn isn't performed as frequently as Mozart. Or taught as frequently as Mozart.


Yes, that's what I was thinking. I've heard much of Mozart so many times that it becomes a sort of classical Muzak, it seems. It's just ubiquitous. Haydn experiences are quite a bit rarer.
Yes, that's why the premise of the thread, that there is something about the actual melodies that makes one by Mozart easier to remember than ones by Haydn makes little sense. Same for the ability to list works by Mozart compared to those by Haydn. It almost goes without saying that if one hears a melody more frequently it's both easier to recall the melody or recall the name of the piece. I'd guess this is what the broadcaster meant with his remark.

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#2030331 - 02/10/13 08:45 AM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: pianoloverus]
bennevis Online   content
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Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
It almost goes without saying that if one hears a melody more frequently it's both easier to recall the melody or recall the name of the piece. I'd guess this is what the broadcaster meant with his remark.


The context of what Howard Goodall said, was that 'Mozart was a born, unstoppable tune writer', and 'tunes flooded out of him, seemingly at will' grin, whereas 'the process of taking the little cell of a tune, then building on it to create longer units with more interesting features to them, is what Haydn taught the world to do, apparently effortlessly', illustrating this with the slow movement of Symphony No.88.

And I left out the preface to the remark that headed this thread, so I'll now quote Goodall in full: "It pains me to say it, but if you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart. If you can't, it's probably by Haydn."
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#2030341 - 02/10/13 09:04 AM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: bennevis]
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[quote=bennevis]'...and if you can't, it's probably by Haydn' - (http://youtu.be/6Wi7UsXW1As) .

What nonsense. Is there anyone who can't remember the melody to the 2nd movement of the Surprise Symphony?

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#2030365 - 02/10/13 09:50 AM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: bennevis]
Numerian Offline
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You could make the same statement about Beethoven as about Haydn (and maybe Beethoven did learn something from his teacher). They wrote motifs that could be used as architectural building blocks, which could then be constructed into cathedrals of sound. We can all hum the opening notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, which hardly constitute a tune but which are certainly useful and don't become tiresome even though Beethoven used them over and over in the first movement.

Mozart was writing largely for the voice, even when writing chamber music. Later in his life he was becoming interested in the architecture and structure of his larger compositions, but for the most part his music is highly singable, with an emphasis on the 8 bar long line, and a natural sense of where the voice would rest to take a breath. Goodall's argument must be that it is easier for us to remember Mozart's music because we can sing it.

Or, to put this another way, we can remember lots of arias from Mozart's operas, but poor Haydn didn't write many operas and hence gave us less to remember vocally. Also, to give Mozart his due, it is very, very difficult to write good melodies and only a handful of composers really excelled at it (Schubert, Johann Strauss, Sullivan, Rogers, Tchaikovsky, Chopin). Haydn cannot be ranked at Mozart's level when it came to writing melodies, which is no slam on Haydn, considering how gifted Mozart was.

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#2030366 - 02/10/13 09:54 AM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: pianoloverus]
JoelW Offline
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Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I see zero truth in the statement.


Yeah I agree. This is pretty silly.

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#2030376 - 02/10/13 10:09 AM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: Numerian]
bennevis Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Numerian
You could make the same statement about Beethoven as about Haydn (and maybe Beethoven did learn something from his teacher). They wrote motifs that could be used as architectural building blocks, which could then be constructed into cathedrals of sound.

Haydn cannot be ranked at Mozart's level when it came to writing melodies, which is no slam on Haydn, considering how gifted Mozart was.


Yes, I think that is the premise of Goodall's statement. Beethoven was certainly far closer to Haydn than to Mozart in his compositional methods.

As for 'building blocks', I think Sibelius took that to an extraordinary new level in his symphonies a hundred years later....
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#2030457 - 02/10/13 12:25 PM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: bennevis]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: Numerian
You could make the same statement about Beethoven as about Haydn (and maybe Beethoven did learn something from his teacher). They wrote motifs that could be used as architectural building blocks, which could then be constructed into cathedrals of sound.

Haydn cannot be ranked at Mozart's level when it came to writing melodies, which is no slam on Haydn, considering how gifted Mozart was.


Yes, I think that is the premise of Goodall's statement. Beethoven was certainly far closer to Haydn than to Mozart in his compositional methods.
Beethoven wrote many unforgettable melodic motifs including perhaps the most famous in classical music(the opening of his Symphony No.5). So I think Goodall's statement is unclear and not particularly useful. He's talking about a certain kind of melody. The idea that Mozart's melodies would be more recallable because of their musical content(instead of their frequency of performance)seems already have been put to rest in this thread.

It would probably have been better/more useful/more accurate for Goodall to just state that Mozart's melodies tended to be somewhat longer than Haydn's(if, in fact, this is even true)and leave it at that.


Edited by pianoloverus (02/10/13 12:28 PM)

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#2030466 - 02/10/13 12:35 PM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: bennevis]
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Schubert, Mozart, Chopin, Tchaikovsky... these are amongst the very best melody writers I'd say. Who am I missing?

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#2030469 - 02/10/13 12:40 PM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: JoelW]
bennevis Online   content
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Originally Posted By: JoelW
Schubert, Mozart, Chopin, Tchaikovsky... these are amongst the very best melody writers I'd say. Who am I missing?


Gershwin?
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#2030470 - 02/10/13 12:42 PM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: bennevis]
JoelW Offline
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Oh definitely.

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#2030499 - 02/10/13 01:21 PM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: JoelW]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: JoelW
Schubert, Mozart, Chopin, Tchaikovsky... these are amongst the very best melody writers I'd say. Who am I missing?

BACH!!! smile

Even speaking as a "Romantic" (and heck, I'd vote for one of those guys), I think we could make a case that Bach wrote the best melodies of all.

They talk about "5 tool" baseball players, i.e. players who are top-notch on everything.
Bach was an infinite-tool composer.

We were talking about who are the "most rational" and "most emotional" composers, and a fair number of us thought Bach was both. Just about any musical dimension we might think of, Bach is an A++.

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#2030523 - 02/10/13 01:43 PM Re: 'If you can remember a tune, it's probably by Mozart....' [Re: Mark_C]
JoelW Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Schubert, Mozart, Chopin, Tchaikovsky... these are amongst the very best melody writers I'd say. Who am I missing?

BACH!!! smile

Even speaking as a "Romantic" (and heck, I'd vote for one of those guys), I think we could make a case that Bach wrote the best melodies of all.

They talk about "5 tool" baseball players, i.e. players who are top-notch on everything.
Bach was an infinite-tool composer.

We were talking about who are the "most rational" and "most emotional" composers, and a fair number of us thought Bach was both. Just about any musical dimension we might think of, Bach is an A++.


Too bad the stylistic traits of the day didn't allow his melodic gifts to be more tapped into. I wonder how his music would sound had he been born in the 1800's. (not to demean what he DID write)


Also, I'd bet you view Bach to be the greatest composer of all time? Many people fight over who holds that position. (Mozart, Bach or Beethoven)

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