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Music Appreciation: Vanessa Carlton and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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Music is an art form and cultural activity whose medium is sound organized in time. There are few activities in life that utilize the brain, and music is one of them. As a matter of fact, it is scientifically proven that listening to music while studying can improve the way ones brain retains the information and how well it retains that information. I mean how lucky are we that in 1000 CE Guido D’Arezzo made improvements on musical theory allowing society the great benefits of music. I believe my group chose these two pieces for the reason that they were very well composed and elegant. The piano plays a very strong role in making these two pieces come together, yet the piano is used in a different context on either song.

The first piece I am going to talk about is the Piano Concerto No.4 (Full length 13 minute version) by Wolfgang Mozart that my group made our decision upon. The composer of this piece’s name is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was an Austrian composer born on January 27, 1756 in Salzburg, Austria. Mozart was used as child prodigy and was forced to play the piano, in the light of the fact that his parents were big musicians that imprinted the musical footprint inside him. Mozart soon showed signs of excelling in his learnings in an early composition at age five and demonstrated his outstanding ability on the harpsicord and violin and soon later, learned how to play the organ and viola. Some of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s most notable works include “The Marriage of Figaro”, “Clarinet Quintet in A Major, K 581”, “Eine kleine Nachtmusik”, and hundreds of other pieces. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was also a trickster. He was able to play musical party tricks by playing the piano with a cloth over its keys. It is not surprising Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was named one of the greatest composers of Western Music… Unlike any other composer in musical history, he wrote all the musical genres of his day and excelled in every single one. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote 25 concertos during his time in the piano and orchestra instrumental between 1773 and 1791. Though composers like Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, and Brahms are typically thought to be more responsible for dramatic changes for piano concerto form, Mozart laid important groundwork for changes that would happen later on. Mozart put hints and underlying emotions he was experiencing inside in his work. An idea Mozart constantly used in his piano concertos was his idea that the soloist and orchestra were there to work with each other and not against each other. In Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto (Full length 13 minute version), it is scored for string instruments such as; piano, (or harpsichord), and pairs of horns and flutes. The work title of this piece is Piano Concerto No.4. It was composed in the year of 1767 in the month of July. In the light of the fact that this piece was composed in the year 1767, its composer time is classified as classical, as well as the piece style is classified as classical. The instrumentation you can use includes solo: piano, orchestra: two flutes, two horns, and strings. The movements to this piece come in three forms; I. Allegro, II. Andante (G minor), and III. Molto Allegro. Allegro is counted in a ¾ beat, andante (G minor) is counted in a 2/4 beat, and molto allegro is as well counted in a ¾ beat. As most of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Concertos, his Piano Concerto No.4 (Full length 13 minute version) is either in G Major or G Minor. This concerto is in a technical musical term pertaining to the tonal structure of multi-movement compositions, otherwise known as homotonal. Believe it or not, only four other piano concerti by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart are written in the slow movement minor key. This concerto opens in a triple beat, an unusual feature for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to use in his 27 Piano Concerti. Only K.41, K.413, K.482, and K.449 open in triple meter. The first and third movements are based on ones by Honauer and the middle movement is based on one by Raupach. When listening to this song, the strings start out really strong and high pitched, this feature creates a small suspenseful aspect. In the beginning of the piece the flutes and strings take turns trading off in playing, the more loud part, being the strings, and the quieter part, being the flute solo. Then the piece goes into a piano solo with string emblements. Later the piece goes back to woodwind and string playing. The song continues with piano, woodwind, and string playing different parts and sometimes together.

The other piece we decided upon was A thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton. Vanessa Carlton is an American song writer and pianist. Vanessa Carlton was born on August 16, 1980. (Fun fact: that’s my brother’s birthday!!) She got married in 2013 to her husband, John Joseph McCauley III, and later had a child. After high school, she decided to further her education at the School of American Ballet, then she proceeded to go to Columbia University, and finished her education at a Professional Children’s School. Vanessa has been writing and preforming her songs since 2001, a couple months later in 2002 she came out with a hit single called A Thousand Miles. In an interview with Elle.com Vanessa stated that she had started writing this song at the age of 16. It started out as an instrumental piece that she had laying around forever, after a year of thinking about it Vanessa had only composed a small riff part that everybody knows and a couple other parts, but it wasn’t quite in the structure of a full song. When she finally finished the song, thanks to the motivation of a friend, Vanessa was 17. Then the song later went on to reach the top five on Billboard Top 100 in 2002. Though this song was a big hit, Vanessa never got too big or popular in the pop culture, unlike Mozart who was very popular for his time. Vanessa’s song, A Thousand Miles, has a big piano part throughout the song. The piano part of this song is so important that in the music video Vanessa herself rides the piano around town while preforming the song. A Thousand Miles is played with the piano, guitar, and voice ranges G#3-B4. It was originally published in a B Major. A Thousand Miles describes the feelings of anyone who has lost someone they really loved and would do anything to be with that person, and I think that is the message Vanessa was trying to obtain while writing A Thousand Miles.

As I just mentioned, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was very popular for his time. In fact, so popular that he was even allowed to talk back to royalty. Vanessa Carlton is the complete opposite of Mozart, in the light of the fact that she was an early 21st century musician who only had a couple of her songs go hit. In the two pieces I analyzed I noticed how big the piano was in making the two songs come together. Though the piano usage in both was significant, it was used in a different context for different reasons throughout the music. Much like Mozart who began composing at the mere age of 5 Vanessa Carlton began to teach herself how to play “It’s a Small World” on the piano at age 2. In spite the fact of Mozart being used for child prodigy and being forced to play, Vanessa Carlton had it easy. Instead of pursuing herself a piano career she went on to a Ballet School and learned how to sing and dance. She used that talent she gathered at the School of American Ballet and started performing at night clubs and bars to get more experience.

Through this project I have come to appreciate and realize the hard work these composers put into their work. Not always does it pay off either, for instance, Vanessa Carlton worked very hard on an album but in the end it failed to match the commercial success as her other songs. Vanessa Carlton and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart were the same in more than one way, yet, different in so many. In Closing, Vanessa Carlton and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart both had an appreciation for the piano and the way it works. In both of their songs they showcase this appreciation by starting their songs out with a very perceptible piano part, which was a unifying element throughout the song. Vanessa Carltons enjoyment of the piano can be heard in her song, A Thousand Miles, more than Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.4.

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Music Appreciation: Vanessa Carlton and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. (2022, February 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 9, 2023, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/music-appreciation-vanessa-carlton-and-wolfgang-amadeus-mozart/
“Music Appreciation: Vanessa Carlton and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.” GradesFixer, 10 Feb. 2022, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/music-appreciation-vanessa-carlton-and-wolfgang-amadeus-mozart/
Music Appreciation: Vanessa Carlton and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/music-appreciation-vanessa-carlton-and-wolfgang-amadeus-mozart/> [Accessed 9 Feb. 2023].
Music Appreciation: Vanessa Carlton and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Feb 10 [cited 2023 Feb 9]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/music-appreciation-vanessa-carlton-and-wolfgang-amadeus-mozart/
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