Analysis of Mozart's Symphony No. 41 1st Movement

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Symphony #41 in C major was written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. After Mozart died, the piece was given the name “Jupiter” by the composer Johann Peter Saloman, a composer and concert organizer. It is not certain why, but many believe it was because of its emotional style. Jupiter is the Roman name for the Greek god Zeus- God of all Gods, so therefore, the music represents Jupiter and his power. Later, in 1862, Ludwig Kochel, a writer and composer, published a catalogue classifying all of Mozart’s work, so the piece was eventually named

Symphony No 41 in C Major K551 “Jupiter”.

The piece was completed on the 10th of August 1788. Mozart was born in 1756 and died in 1791. This means Mozart was 32 when he wrote the piece.

Unfortunately, this was the last known symphony Mozart ever composed.

The years 1750-1820 were known as the classical period. Before the classical period was the Baroque period, during which there were many discoveries by scientific geniuses such as Newton and Galileo. People started to see proof that the churches and religious powers were not always correct, and people started to become more interested in the power of reason, or proof, rather than just faith. The Classical period therefore became known as the “Age of Enlightenment”.

There were certain guidelines composers started to follow when developing a piece so people could understand the music easier. If a person did not understand the music, they were often left feeling humiliated by their peers. These guidelines were called Sonata Form.

Mozart uses the guidelines for sonata form, but often bends or breaks the rules.

During the classical period, most music was written for a “standard orchestra, which included two violin parts, a viola part, a cello part, a double bass part, two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two trumpets, two French horns, and two timpani.

Symphony #41 was written for this style orchestra.

Nobody knows for certain why the piece was written, but the main thought was that it was written for a series of public performances that Mozart was planning at the time. Unfortunately, Mozart never got to perform this piece in his lifetime.

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Wolfgang Mozart followed a set of guidelines loosely when creating his music. The guidelines set down came under several headings:







The guidelines for mood were quite simple- large variations.

This meant that a single piece could go from a dark depressing state to happy and joyful. Not only were there contrasts in mood with new themes, but contrasts of mood within a single theme.

Mozart uses both these effects in his pieces. An example is during the first ...

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