Mozart Facts: Interesting Things You May Not Know

You’ve probably heard of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart before since he’s one of the best composers to ever live, but how much do you know about this iconic musician? Well, we’re going to tell you a lot of cool Mozart facts: interesting things you may not know below, so keep reading to learn all about him! 

He Has Five Names In His Full Name

While we know him mostly as Mozart, his complete name was Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart.

1819 – Portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Image source: Barbara Krafft, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Mozart Born And Died In The Late 1700s

Mozart was born on January 27, 1756, and died on December 5, 1791. He was born in Salzburg, Austria, and died in Vienna, Austria. 

He Was Only 35 When He Died 

As noted above in his birthdate and death date, Mozart did not live very long and was only 35 years old when he died. 

Mozart Loved Animals And Had Multiple Pets

August 12, 2014 – Common starling in Leek Wootton, Warwickshire. Image source: Charles J. Sharp, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Mozart was an animal lover, and he had multiple pets throughout his life including a dog, a horse that he enjoyed riding, a canary, and a starling. 

He Loved Dancing And Billiards

Mozart had other interests beyond music, and he often enjoyed dancing and playing billiards

His Parents Lost Five Children As Infants 

1764 – Leopold Mozart and his children Maria Anna and Wolfgang giving a concert in Paris. Image source: Metropolitan Museum of Art, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

We didn’t have modern medicine in the days of Mozart, so it’s not a surprise that his parents, Anna Maria and Leopold, lost five children as infants. This made his birth and childhood more special since he was the seventh and only one of two who had made it beyond infancy. 

He Started Playing Instruments When He Was Three 

Mozart learned very young how to play instruments, with his sister, Nannerl, teaching him when he was only three years old how to play instruments such as the clavier. His sister was older, and she would become the first music teacher he’d have in his life. It was almost instantaneous that once he began on the clavier, he could blend the various pitches together, much to his amusement.

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He Was Composing Music By Age Five

1763 – Painting of six-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Image source: Possibly Pietro Antonio Lorenzoni, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

What’s crazy is that music came naturally to Mozart, and by the time he was five years old, he was already starting to compose music. Albeit, the music was just snippets and not full compositions, but it was a start and by this time, his clavier playing was nothing short of flawless. 

Mozart Was Baptized Right After He Was Born 

Mozart was baptized just one day after he was born at St. Rupert’s Cathedral, and therefore, he was Roman Catholic. He never changed religion or denounced his Roman Catholic upbringing and stayed a devout Catholic until the day he died. 

His Father Taught Him Academics And Language 

1756 – Leopold Mozart playing the violin. Image source: Metropolitan Museum of Art, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

His father became his teacher for academics and language and began teaching him when he was only five. As a native German, his father also composed music and had written a textbook on the violin the same year that Mozart was born. 

He Traveled Around Europe To Perform When He Was Only Six 

When he turned six, he would begin to travel around Europe with his father and the rest of the family to perform concerts. He was quickly known as a child genius around Europe and performed in London, as well as the Imperial Courts in Munich, Vienna, Prague, and Paris. 

His First Symphony Was Finished At Age 11 

Symphony No. 1 in E-Flat Major, K. 16: I. Molto allegro

Mozart truly had a gift for music, and he completed his first symphony when he was just 11 years old. Symphony No. 1 was completed in 1864, and it was in E-Flat Major. He had it finished while he was on a trip to London with his family. However, he wouldn’t play this live for another year.

Mozart Was 11 When He Contracted Smallpox 

There were a lot of diseases that spread during the time Mozart was alive, and when he was just 11, he contracted smallpox along with his older sister, Nannerl. They both survived their ordeal with smallpox, but he would have some scars from it all over his face until the day he died. 

Mozart’s Photographic Memory Helped Him Become As Talented As He Was 

Mozart had a photographic memory, which meant he would just listen to music and know the composition, being able to recite it. He could listen to music and then rattle off the arrangement, so he didn’t even need to look at the sheet music to memorize it. It’s thought that his ability to listen to music and recite its arrangement is what made him the gifted and talented composer that he was. 

Mozart Was Influenced by Bach 

1748 to 1748 – Portrait by 61-year-old Johann Sebastian Bach by Elias Gottlob Haussmann. Image source: Elias Gottlob Haussmann, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the biggest influences on Mozart was Bach, who was one of the biggest composers of that era.

Mozart Was So Good As a Child People Thought He Was Just a Dwarf

A funny fact about Mozart, he was so good as a child when it came to performing music that people believed he was just a dwarf and was really an adult. He played in front of audiences like it was nothing as a child and was great at composing music so the belief by some was that he was simply a grown man in a small body. 

He Had Written An Opera by the age of 11

Mozart: Apollo et Hyacinthus

Mozart wrote his first opera when he was just 11 years old, which is one of many reasons why people believed he was simply a dwarf since it all came to him naturally at such a young age. 

By Age 15, He Was On The Court Orchestra 

It’s not every day that a 15-year-old could have a job on the Court Orchestra, but that’s exactly what Mozart did. However, this would be at the Salzburg Court where the pay was too low for him, so he ended up leaving that job to get a better paying position. 

Mozart Was a Fan Of Low-Brow Humor 

One thing a lot of people don’t know about Mozart is that he loved low-brow humor and really enjoyed toilet jokes. Scat humor was definitely his thing, and even in letters to members of his family, he would be crude and nasty. The good thing was that his family mostly enjoyed his humor because they also liked scat jokes. 

It’s Thought He Suffered From Tourette’s Syndrome 

Mozart not only had a crude sense of humor, but he also was very vulgar and used a lot of crass language regardless of who he was around. It’s because of this that there is speculation Mozart had Tourette’s Syndrome. He lacked all the abilities to control his language, and it quickly became just a part of who he was, with most of his friends just ignoring his crude humor and language. 

He Met Marie Antoinette When He Was Young 

1908 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Marie Antoinette at Schoenborn Palace in 1762, found in the The Book Of Princes And Princesses by Mrs Lang. Image source: Henry Justice Ford, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

When Mozart went on his European tour with his family, he ended up meeting Marie Antoinette when his family stayed at a summer house in Vienna. A funny part about this was that he slipped and fell in the mansion her family had, and she was the one who helped him back up. The rumor is that he proposed to her during that time, and everyone got a chuckle out of it. 

Mozart Was Married And Had Children 

In 1782, Mozart married Constanze Weber, and they had six children together, although only two of the children would survive. 

He Used His Sense Of Humor To Make Up For His Small Size 

September 29, 2013 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart monument in Vienna. Image source: Vi Ko, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Women often say that a man being funny is attractive and that seems true when it comes to Mozart, who often used his humor to woo women and generally make friends. Being around 5 foot 4 inches tall and having smallpox scars on his face, he wasn’t the most attractive man, so he made up for that in humor. 

Mozart Simply Couldn’t Play The Trumpet 

While Mozart was a gifted musician from a young age and could play the clavier quite well, he was never able to master the trumpet. It was the one instrument that was his weak spot, and it was hard for him to learn how to play it correctly. He also had difficulty in coming up with compositions for the trumpet. However, he did enjoy playing the clarinet and stuck with that throughout his adult years over brass instruments like the trumpet. 

He Wrote a Mass When He Was 12 

Missa brevis in G KV49: Kyrie

Speaking more of how gifted he was as a musician, he wrote a mass when he was only 12 years old. The mass was Mass In G Major, and it was in 1768 that he completed the composition with it being the only one that had a viola. 

He Would Often Call Himself Amade 

Mozart liked to call himself Amade, which is just his middle name shortened a little. It appears he was the only person to call himself Amade since most people would refer to him as Wolfgang Amadeus or Wolfgang Gottlieb. 

Mozart Mocked Latin By Adding “-us” To Words  

As we’ve mentioned, Mozart had a unique sense of humor, and part of this humor was to add “us” to the end of various words because he liked to mock Latin. For example, at times he would sign his name Wolfgangus Mozartus when asked for an autograph. Given what his birth name really is, it made sense he would sort of acknowledge his real name at a certain point in his life. It wasn’t until he died that the “us” in his real name really took off and became more well-known. 

He Was Part Of The Freemasons 

The Magic Flute, K. 620 - Overture

Mozart was part of the Freemasons and joined the organization in 1784. He was a big fan of the values the Masons held dear and even composed some of his work based on these values. Two popular works he produced that had inspiration from the Freemason values included Dir Seele Des Weltalls and The Magic Flute K.620. 

Mozart Knew More Than 10 Languages 

As we’ve said, his father taught him language, but by the time he was an adult, he knew more than 12 languages altogether. Mozart knew English, Italian, French, and German very well but could also speak other languages semi-well such as Turkish, Dutch, Spanish, Latin, Polish, and Czech. For someone who only lived a little over three decades, he was basically a prodigy when it came to language and nearly everything else. 

He Traveled To Multiple Countries 

Mozart may have been fluent in so many languages because he traveled a lot, and by the time he was 18, he had been to multiple countries. He left Austria for a time and went to The Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy, The Czech Republic, and even Slovakia. However, he would end up back in Austria and had a quaint place in Vienna that he would stay until the end of his life. 

Mozart Was Actually Kicked Out Of a Job 

Mozart lost a job by literally getting kicked out, which happened when he was let go from his job given to him by Prince Hieronymus Colloredo. Prince was his first sponsor, and the two would often get into arguments because Mozart felt he wasn’t being paid enough, and Colloredo had wanted exclusivity to his services. 

His Father Didn’t Like His Wife 

1783 – Constanze Mozart. Image source: Joseph Lange, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A lot of people would describe Mozart’s wife as “dutiful,” but his father definitely wasn’t one of them and wasn’t a fan of hers. His father never liked his wife, and for whatever reason, he felt that she was flighty. 

Mozart And His Father Had a Strained Relationship

Mozart and his father had a strained relationship, which might have been because Leopold pushed him so hard as a child to learn and become a talented musician. Many people felt he was controlling of Mozart, and they didn’t like how possessive he was, so it wasn’t until the composer moved to Vienna that he really got away from his father. In fact, when his father died, Mozart didn’t even go to the funeral. 

He Was Incredibly Detail-Oriented 

He was known to be detail-oriented, and he put a lot of time and effort into the sound of his compositions and the compositions themselves. 

Mozart’s Final Piece Was Never Finished

Speaking a little bit more about how detail-oriented Mozart was, he was so much of a perfectionist it took him a while to finish his compositions. That could be why the last piece of music he was working on before he died was never finished. 

He Wrote More Than 600 Compositions In His Life 

Piano Sonata No. 11 in a Major, K. 331: Rondo: Alla Turca

Even though Mozart died when he was 35, within that time he had written more than 600 compositions. This included 21 operas, 15 masses, and 50 symphony pieces. What’s interesting is that he managed to write about twice as much as other musicians during that time period who lived much longer than he did. 

Mozart Loved To Spend Money on Luxury Goods 

One thing about Mozart was that he loved to spend money and would often spend money on luxury goods such as when he purchased a pianoforte for what today would be around $9,000. He also had purchased a billiards table since he loved to play billiards and the cost would be around $3,000 in today’s money. He definitely had a problem when it came to spending money and shopping. 

It’s Still Unknown Where He’s Buried 

A commoner’s grave is what Mozart was buried in, even though he was Mozart and had composed all of this classical music throughout his life. He was thought of as just a common person so his grave wasn’t marked since only those within the aristocracy got this honor. It’s because of this that it’s unknown to this day where he was buried. 

No One Knows Why He Died 

For many years, those who studied Mozart and this time period thought he was poisoned by a competitor in the industry. However, now that belief is thought to be wrong, and they don’t think Mozart died from a poisoning. This means that to this day, the reason he died as young as he did remains a mystery

He Was Thought To Be Depressed During The Later Years 

When Mozart was older, he had to take on loans to pay his bills, which was likely because of his overspending and love of shopping. It’s thought that the financial hole he put himself in contributed to him suffering from depression for a number of years.

Mozart Had Financial Difficulties That Was Starting To Get Resolved Before His Death 

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 27 | Menahem Pressler, Paavo Järvi & the Orchestre de Paris

Mozart’s spending habits plus the war is what led him to have some financial issues, but in the years before his death, he was starting to get out of that financial situation. The two years before he did, he had composed quite a few popular works including The Magic Flute and Piano Concerto No. 27. These popular pieces would bring him more money and the increase in pay helped him get out of his financial hole.

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