was Mozart's music popular with teenagers when it came out?

was Mozart's music popular with teenagers and young people in Europe when it first came out?

1 Answer

  • 1 decade ago
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    Ha! No! Funny idea though...

    I think this question stems from the misconception that all music that's still around today was once the dominant popular genre. You say your parents' music is lame, and it seems only natural that older music was once in vogue as well, and is only kept around by a nerdy group of aficionados. Actually, there has always been a divide between 'classical' and popular music; we simply don't remember the popular music of Mozart's time because there was no one and no way to record it. It prospered in the form of informal 'comedic' musical entertainment and as what we might call 'lounge music' today. Popular music spread orally rather than through notated or recorded forms. 'Classical' music seems unchanged today- still written down and performed like always, even if the sound and style is greatly different - but popular genres now have the benefit of increased musical education (allowing more music to be notated and preserved) and recording technology, while the 'pop' music of Mozart's time had no choice but to continue evolving until it became something completely different- something that some people would argue laid the foundations for modern popular genres.

    So to recap; no, Mozart's music was likely not popular among teenagers, except perhaps those from a wealthy and classy background who were given musical education. In fact, by the simple virtue of recording technology, which makes Mozart's music more democratically accessible, it's probably much more popular with teenagers today than it was then, strange as this sounds. It's possible that if all other things were equal (i.e. teenagers in the late 1700s had CD and MP3 players), the Mozart-era teenagers would have been more predisposed to Mozart than modern teenagers, but who's to say? Maybe they would be all about the Beatles and our teenagers, properly educated, would have greater respect for Mozart.

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