Who is the better composer? Essay

Submitted By kconiway
Words: 1605
Pages: 7

Who is the “better” composer, Mozart or Beethoven? Begin by exploring definitions of “better” and comparing two similar works by each composer. Most define better as something being superior to another. Who has the better Rondo structure? Who has the better rhythmic structure? Who has better use of special techniques, phrases and dynamics? Who does the listener think composed the “better” song? Piano Sonata, K. 333, Rondo by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Sonate (Pathetique) No. 13, Rondo by Ludwig van Beethoven represent works with many similarities in form and style and will be the works referred to in this analysis. The standard Rondo structure was used for many years before either Mozart or Beethoven composed with it. Originally used as a dance form, in Baroque and Classical music it often became the final movement of a Sonata. This is also the case with both selections being compared today. The structure both works include the basic ABACABA format the first episode going to V or possibly III if the refrain in a minor key. In the Mozart Rondo the refrain begins in Bb major and the first episode or B begins on measure 24 in the key of F major – V of Bb major. This is then followed by the return of the refrain in the opening key. (One point for Mozart he is following the expectations!!) Beethoven also follows expectations by beginning the refrain in c minor and then following with the 1st episode or refrain at measure 29 in the key of Eb major, III in the key of c minor. He also proceeds to the open refrain in the opening key. (Our composers are now tied – 1 to 1.) Mozart appears continues to following expectations by putting the second episode or C section in the key of Eb major, but he has wandered through the key of g minor to get there. Beethoven, on the other hand, takes the second episode or C section Ab major without any wandering in the overall key. (Beethoven is now up by 1 point!) Mozart also breaks expectations by putting a false return to the refrain in measure 91 before truly returning to the refrain in measure 112. The third episode, the second B section, in the standard Rondo form is a return to the material presented in the first episode, but in the tonic key or it parallel key. Mozart returns to the B material in the opening key of Bb major in measure 148, again following expectations, but then follows up with a to the refrain1 again in measure in measure 173. Beethoven begins the 3rd episode, second B section in measure 133, in C major and then moves us back to the opening key of c minor for the final refrain in measure 170, again following expectations. (The score is now – Mozart 2, Beethoven 3.) Both composers add a coda at the end of their Rondos. Mozart’s coda begins in measure 208, with a revisit to refrain theme in measure 214. This theme is now heard a minor third higher than at the beginning but still moves back to the key of Bb major for the closing cadence. Beethoven’s coda begins in measure 178 introducing some new melodic ideas. At measure 203, Beethoven also quotes the opening theme from the refrain, but it is heard a minor 3rd lower. He then works his way back for the final cadence in the key of c minor. Looking at just the form on paper, Beethoven is the “better” composer. Further examination is needed since form is not all there is to composing music. Mozart’s opening rhythm for his refrain is very similar to Beethoven’s. Both asked that the movement be played Allegro. Neither of the composers chose to change meter during the whole Rondo. Mozart interrupted the rhythmic flow in measure 198 with an extended cadenza and Beethoven created the feeling of suddenly slowing down in measure 79 and 80 by lack of quarter note and eighth notes. (Another tie!) Both composers appear equally strong in the rhythmic aspects of the Rondo. The use of special harmonic devices becomes important in smoothly moving the Rondo into new key centers. Mozart’s refrain include 2 half…