Alyssa Agro



Download Full Text (1.1 MB)


Alyssa Agro, MUS 303: Music History 2
Faculty Mentor: Professor Carolyn Guzski, Music

After the Baroque Era concluded with the death of Bach in 1750, three central composers influenced the musical world: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Franz Joseph Haydn. These composers became known as the First Vienna School. As a member of this School, Mozart mastered many genres of music, particularly the instrumental sonata. Mozart’s Piano Sonata in C Major, K. 545 (1781) represents the apex of the Classical Era and style. One can see that to compose and perform this piece took great skill. This masterpiece of absolute music--instrumental music that is not intended to be depictive--embodies Mozart’s musical genius. I demonstrate how Mozart’s use of musical elements such as melody and melodic ornamentation throughout this piece contributes to the structure of classical sonata form. Mozart was able to create this piece with great speed and accuracy, possibly a product of the comprehensive educational background he obtained in childhood. With help from his father, Mozart received the opportunity to study many past composers. In K. 545, the application of compositional techniques Mozart had acquired are seen directly in the musical score itself. My analysis reveals similarities among rhythms and melodic motives throughout each movement of the sonata. Mozart took the simplest of ideas and turned them into an enduring masterpiece, one that remains frequently performed to the present day.

Publication Date



Arts and Humanities

Eternally Young and Full of Greatness: Mozart
Off-campus Download