In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • General Research Resources and Works Catalogue
  • Complete Works Editions
  • Facsimile Editions
  • Bibliographies
  • Periodicals and Annuals
  • Letters
  • Documents and Documentary Biography
  • Early Biographies
  • Scholarly Biographies 1856–1921
  • Scholarly Biographies 1921–2005
  • Studies of the Autograph Scores
  • Musical Source and Document Studies
  • Musical Sources and Documents in Specific Countries and Collections
  • Reception History
  • Sacred Music
  • Opera (General)
  • Italian Comic Opera (General Studies)
  • Italian Comic Opera (Individual Operas)
  • Italian Serious Opera
  • German Opera
  • Lieder
  • Symphonies
  • Chamber and Keyboard Music
  • Performance Practice
  • Miscellaneous
  • Music Analysis
  • Collections of Essays
  • Exhibition Catalogues

Music Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
David Buch
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 April 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199757824-0193


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (baptized Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, b. 27 January 1756–d. 5 December 1791) is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers in European music history. The son of Leopold Mozart, a professional musician, Wolfgang was a celebrated child prodigy and developed into a composer who mastered almost every musical genre of his era, composing over 600 works. Despite a vast secondary literature on Mozart and his music, some of the widely accepted “facts” of his life are based on posthumous anecdotes, conjecture, and even outright invention. Some accounts of his compositional practice, the conditions of his life, his finances, and even his death and burial are either demonstrably false or lack convincing documentary evidence. Pronouncements by scholars should not be taken at face value, but rather be examined critically in the light of primary sources. It should come as no surprise that many studies referenced in this article challenge received wisdom about Mozart’s life and works. The studies included here concentrate on original research with a strong evidentiary basis, in addition to essential sources found in other publications.

General Overviews

The following sources include updated and complete coverage of a broad overview of Mozart and his music. Keefe 2003 is a collection of essays, Eisen and Keefe 2006 is a true lexicon, and Landon 1990 is a broad survey that attempts to be comprehensive.

  • Eisen, Cliff, and Simon P. Keefe, eds. The Cambridge Mozart Encyclopedia. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

    Contributors include some forty-nine scholars (chiefly British and American, several of whom are from Cornell University, which has produced Mozart specialists under the guidance of Neal Zaslaw, who also contributed to this volume). Among these are Cliff Eisen on Mozart’s life in Salzburg, Ulrich Konrad on his compositional method, Derek Beales on his relationship with Joseph II, and John Rice on his opera La clemenza di Tito.

  • Keefe, Simon P., ed. The Cambridge Companion to Mozart. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

    A collection of seventeen topical essays by fifteen scholars, providing a general review and contextual perspective. The essays are divided into four parts: “Mozart in Context,” “The Works,” “Reception,” and “Performance.” The discussion of instrumental music stresses harmonic analysis over expressive content and topical character.

  • Landon, H. C. Robbins, ed. The Mozart Compendium: A Guide to Mozart’s Life and Music. New York: Schirmer, 1990.

    Some twenty-eight scholars contributed to this broad survey, including a substantial section on the composer’s music edited by John Arthur and an essay by Wolfgang Rehm on collected editions. The works are arranged by genre in chronological order within each category. Despite the need for updating, this book remains the best and most comprehensive of its kind.

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