In Search of Mozart

The annoying thing about creativity is that it changes its obsessions abruptly and uncontrollably.  I’ve got only two scenes left to write for the novel I’ve been working on for a year and a half, and what does my mind want to do now?  It wants to study Mozart’s work and write music.  (At least it’s cultured, I guess.)  So I spent the last few days working on this little “mini-concerto” for piano and orchestra, Piano Concerto No 0, Opus 67:

I number it ‘0’ because it is meant as more of an exercise than a “real” effort. As you might guess, it was written while studying Mozart’s harmony. In fact, the harmony and voice leading of the first section was almost completely blatantly plagiarized from one of Mozart’s piano concertos. (Figure out which one, if you dare.) But the point of the exercise wasn’t so much to be harmonically original as it was to try playing around with these classical sorts of cadences, inversions, secondary dominants, secondary leading-tone chords, and circle-of-fifth sequences. Most of my music is harmonically super simple, just root-position chords progressing through diatonic triads, such as I-iii-IV-V or I-vi-IV-V (my favorites). I hardly ever use sevenths or inversions or the ugly vii°. I’m not necessarily trying to change my “style”, but I would certainly like to expand it. Who wouldn’t? Plus, I love Mozart, so I’d like to try to understand how he and other master composers keep their chromaticism so beautifully tonic.

Structurally, the above piece is rather lazy. It begins in sonata form, then half-way through the development it section, it repeats and ends. I guess the repeat can count as recapitulation? No? Oh well. I was ready to move on. I’ve never been a sonata-form fan.

While I was working on this piece, I also got some ideas on how to expand my melody generator into a full-blown symphony generator. So I’ve got some programming experiments to try, but they will take a lot of work. So… the Mozart Symphony Generator, coming soon… (we can dream at least)