Robert Estrin - piano expert

What Makes Mozart So Special?

The most well-known characteristic of Mozart's piano music

In this video, Robert talks about one of the most compelling characteristics of Mozart's music for piano.

Released on April 8, 2020

    
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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi, and welcome to LivingPianos.com. I'm Robert Estrin and today the question is what makes Mozart so special? Well actually we could have a two semester course on this topic. There are many aspects of Mozart's writing that are truly brilliant, but today we're just going to bring up one point, which is something I'm sure you've heard, but you may not have heard this term before, it's called Alberti bass.

Now what is Alberti bass? To demonstrate, I'm going to play the famous C major Sonata, Mozart K. 545 without playing the Alberti bass. I'm just going to play in block chords in the left hand, then I'm going to show you some variations, and finally end up with the full Alberti bass, and as soon as you hear it, you'll instantly recognize it as something you hear all the time in Mozart's music.

Those are just block chords in the left hand. Now there's a lot of things you could do to fancy it up a little bit, like just alternate like this between the bass note and the top two notes of the chord.

Mozart takes it one step further, and when you hear this iconic sound, you'll recognize it because you hear it in almost every piece of Mozart on the piano written.

Simply breaking the triad into eighth notes or sometimes 16th notes, instead of just playing, brighten it up to the Alberti bass.

And once again, listen to it in context.

There are truly hundreds of examples of Alberti bass, in not just Mozart's music, but it's also a common technique in other classical composers such as Haydn and Beethoven. I hope this has been enjoyable for you. A nice little technique that composers from the classical era used. Once again, Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, your online piano store.
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Robert - host, on April 8, 2020 @10:42 am PST
This technique of broken chords was named after Domenico Alberti who was a singer, harpsichordist and composer who wrote accompaniments with broken chords.
pam loomis on April 8, 2020 @7:37 am PST
Why is it called alberti bass?
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