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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:
Janissary Music

In the 18th century, Janissary music became all the rage in Europe. Janissaries were the men who guarded the sultan of Turkey. They had wonderful bands that included instruments that sounded very exotic to European ears: cymbals, triangles and bass drums. When Janissary music caught on in Europe, many composers, including Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven, started using those instruments in their music.

Music heard in this episode:
Beethoven: Turkish March
Mozart: Abduction from the Seraglio Overture
Weber: Abu Hassan Overture
Haydn: Symphony No. 100
Beethoven: Wellington’s Victory
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9
Mozart: Turkish Rondo from Piano Sonata in A, K. 331

Other shows this month about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:
About Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Mozart's Operas
Janissary Music

Download this month's activity sheet

About Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
1/27/1756 - 12/5/1791
Born in Austria

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria, where his father Leopold was a violinist and composer. Wolfgang (or Wolferl, as his family called him) was a child prodigy. He composed his first piece of music at age five; he had his first piece published when he was seven; and he wrote his first opera when he was twelve. By the time Wolfgang was 6, he was an excellent pianist and violinist. He and his sister Maria Anna (known as Nannerl) traveled all over Europe performing for royalty.

When he grew up, Mozart moved to Vienna, and tried to earn a living as a pianist and composer. But he had a lot of trouble handling the fact that he was no longer a child prodigy. Mozart was still a musical genius, but after he stopped being a cute kid, people stopped making a big fuss over him. Back then, musicians were treated like servants, but Mozart did not, and could not think of himself as a servant.

Mozart was only 35 when he died. During his short life, he composed in all different musical forms, including operas, symphonies, concertos, masses, and chamber music. Today, he is still considered a genius!

See other composers born in Austria


This Week's Quiz:

1. Janissary music sounds like Turkish music.



2.What is the name of Mozart's opera with a Turkish theme?

The Magic Flute

The Marriage of Figaro

The Abduction from the Seraglio

William Tell

La Boheme

3. Which instrument is especially associated with janissary music?






Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Composed in 1783
Performed by
, conductor
Jeno Jando, piano

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