Monday, January 25, 2016

Mozart and Janissary Music

This month on Clef Notes, we’ve been looking at examples of exoticism found in classical music. Many of the examples come from the late-nineteenth and early- twentieth centuries.  Let’s step back a little further in time today and look at Mozart’s use of exoticism in his Sonata No. 11 in A Major, K. 331.

Turkish music was quite popular in eighteenth-century Vienna. This explains Mozart’s decision to label the third movement of his Sonata No. 11 “Rondo alla Turca,” using march-like references to Turkish Janissary bands.

Turkish Janissary Band: Courtesy of 

Can you hear the percussive sounds of a military marching band in the “Rondo alla Turca” below?

Did you know that Mozart’s birthday is Wednesday? Join me for a “Best of Mozart” playlist!

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