|success. However keep in mind that Einstein in K3 (repeated in K6) clearly stated "the
Canons surely did not originate from Mozart". How either of this two printings came to
have Mozart's name on them I have no clue.
Also in the Hoboken Catalogue of Franz Joseph Haydn's works within the spurious
works is a Violin Duet called "Ein musikalischer Schertz" (Group VI: G4). In the
remarks section is a similiar "Musical Joke" found in the library of Sandor Wolf in
Eisenstadt titled "Duo facile et Curieux pour deux Violons par Mr. Mestrino". The incipit
given of this 29 measure "mirror canon" is identical to that in Koechel under K.Anh
C10.16, Nr.4. Mestrino was a Violin player in Prince Esterhazy's Capelle from 1780 to
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1. It is almost the same right side up as it is upside
2. Widely believed to have been Wolfgang Mozart
although there is speculation it could have been his
father Leopold Mozart or Joseph Hayden
3. 1787 or maybe 1850
To hear a rendition of the piece, click here.
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|How Janice Solved the Puzzle
In another forum today, someone posted about playing Mozart's "Mirror Duet", and
said it was pretty lame because of the constraints put on the composer to make the
music playable upside-down and backwards as well as forwards, the premise being that
two violinists face each other with the music on a table between them and each plays
what is facing him. I "Googled" "Mirror Duet" and actually did get a couple of Mozart
references, but no details at all. Certainly I understand the premise, my question is this,
if Mozart actually wrote such an intriguing little item, how come it took me 15 years to
hear about it, despite the wealth of books on my shelf and consorting with known
Mozartians such as yourselves in this lovely new playground that has been assembled
for us? :)
||Your email address:
|It really was that easy for me to find. I had never heard of the
piece before today. I searched for "upside-down", music, and
cello on Google images and found it that way. The music on this
page is not exactly the same right-side up and upside down. I
don't know if there are more pages to the piece.
At the Kreeger Museum in D.C., on the wall, is a "Scherzo-Duetto di Mozart" for two
violins. A fascinating piece, as the second violin part is upside down on the same ***
below the first violin, and apparently is played like a palindrome! The *** music is
autographed by many famous musicians who played chamber music with Kreeger.
There is no Kochel number on the *** music, and Zaslaw's book "The Compleat
Mozart" lists no duets for two violins. Is this indeed W. A. Mozart's music transcribed
for two violins? Or is is Leopold's? Does anyone know? Thanks very much.
~ Victor Poleshuck
This is one of four duets for violins (published together), definitely misattributed to
Mozart. The K number is: in K3 - Anh.284dd, in K6 -Anh.C 10.16. (Köchel catalogue
lists also works misattributed toMozart, but not all.)
The first three are of unknown authorship, the fourth one is mentioned in the Hoboken
catalogue (of Haydn works), although I don't recall if there is a good reason to attribute
it to Haydn.
These mirror canons are surprisingly popular, considering that there seems to have
been only three editions of it. ~ Margaret Mikulska
Thank you for keeping the quiz a 2nd week...for some reason (probably because the
KIDS had to listen to all of Mr. Rick's ideas)it took longer to find the answers...we're
all PROUD of ourselves-WE DIDN'T GIVE UP!!! Mr. Rick and the Quiz Kids
N.B. I'm PROUD of you too!
I guess I neglected to put it was called table music, just so it could be put on the table
and read by both. Since everything then was hand written it saved expense and time.
Imagine how clever the composer had to be to write a musical palindrome like that.
I am on my way to my piano, though I know nothing about music!!!! Judy Pfaff
lol My first Google search I typed in "music that can be read from both sides" and that
led me to the Table Music searches, and then "Tafelmusik", and so on. I never did type
in "Upside Down Music" or it might have made it quite a bit easier for me. At one
point I'd suspected Schubert, Handel, and even Bach of being the composers and of
course that led me nowhere. Mozart was a guess based on an article on "Table Music
for Two" that I found - though the music posted on the site was different from the
sheet that you had for the quiz. Nicole Blank
What an interesting quiz though! I played (and still sometimes play) the flute since 4th
grade as well as a few years I spent doing piano and I have to say I never studied sheet
music in so much depth. It's funny, some quiz answers come right away and others
never quite make it there.
I don't have a final answer yet though I've spent several hours browsing through the
works of Mozart & Haydn, one of whom I suspect wrote this upside down music.
Since Mozart's birthday is Jan. 26, I lean towards him although I know both men
played tricks of one kind or another. Meanwhile, I wanted to share with you some very
silly and complex musical notations I found on the internet. One is called "FAERIE'S
AIRE and DEATH WALTZ". Another is "ATUSHI OJISAMA and IJIGEN WALTZ".
The latter can be found at http://www.well.com/user/bryan/atushi.html.
The music reads right-side up and upside down. It is called Table Music because two
people playing Violins or Cello can share the same piece of music lying on a table
between them. These pieces are also called Retrograde Inversions, Retrograde
Inversion canons, Crab Canons and Mirror Canons. This page was the most
comprehensive I read on the subject and from here I learned that the clef at the top of
the music is a clue to the inversion. The site is: www2.nau.edu/~tas3/canonanatomy.html
I can't comfirm this, not can I determine when it was written, but the most famous of
these compositions was composed by Mozart and it was called Table Music for Two.
Mozart loved Mathematics and I now see how music and math are linked. Other
composers to have written mirror canons are Bach (Goldberg Variations), Telemann
(Tafelmisik), Schoenberg and Beethovan. This was very tough but I learned far more
about the Twelve-tone technique of Contemporary Classical music!
I must give my daughter credit, she is a violinist, and minored in music at the U of AZ
and had seen it before. Yes most "seroius" people have a great sense of humor.
Where did you find the information about the Mozart controversy? I did not see that in
all of the searching I did! I saw a page that had pictures of original scores written by
Mozart, in ink – I don’t know if this was one of them but I will try to go back and find
I play the piano (a bit) and immediately recognized that the 3’s in the triads were upside
down. It is interesting that the score that sits upright in this publication is actually the
up-side-down version! Did you block out the Title and the clef at the bottom? It is
also not a true Mirror Canon since it is not exactly a mirror image.
It would be interesting to see how the meter would be determined. The version that I
heard performed was played like a round with one person playing first and then the
other playing and so on. It was too difficult to determine where they broke up the
phrases to allow the other lines to be played. They were not played simultaneously that
I could determine.
I also have forgotten much of what I knew about music theory and scales. I was
confused by the key that this piece is written in. Since I don’t know Cello or Violin
Music, I could not tell if these were G clef or bass clef, which makes a difference to
the notes and the key that it is written in. I need to run this by someone who knows
music better than I. Barbara Battles (Again)
In the Mozart Forum (www.mozartforum.com), Senior Member Dennis Pajot said
"These 4 Canons were edited by Fritz Jode in 1928 in Wolfenbuttel, based on an only
one known lithographic print in Nurnburg, without publisher details, carrying the title
"Four Playful Duets [Scherzduette] by W.A. Mozart for two Violins". By the time of K6
another print had been found, titled "Three[!] Duos favorites for two Violins...", printed
by Edouord Guillaume Mayer in Rothenbourg. Although this printing had no publisher
number it was supposed to have originated before 1850.". He also noted that one of the
canons was similar to a piece attributed to a "Mr Mestrino" in the Hoboken catalog of
the works of Hayden.. Mestrino was a violinist in the Esterhazy palace orchestra in the
1780s. So it could have been written in the 1780s, but it also could have been written
in the 1850s or later. Imagine the excitement (and the money) that a hitherto unknown
piece by Mozart would bring even now! Margaret Paxton
I actually had a great deal of fun with this. I knew in four seconds exactly what it was
and that the composer was Mozart, but the more I looked for a date the more I doubted
the composer. By now I don't think he did write it, but that's provisional.
When we (Kenai Peninsula Orchestra) do a concert I usually do the editing,
proofreading, and layout of the programs, and I take great delight in finding errors and
inconsistencies in the program notes that our tame musicologist writes for the pieces.
She's a phenomenal concert pianist and a very dear friend who doesn't take it personally
when throw out most of her text and rewrite the rest. She's the one who checked the
Grove listings for me. So I'm used to digging for musical facts, and enjoy it even when
I lose the trail. As years go by I check more and more "facts" and assertions, finding
that doubt and skepticism are very good teachers, but am sometimes chagrinned when
they abandon me and I discover that I'm as gullible as anybody.
I've gotten to know quite a few musicians around the country (primarily string players,
which is odd, since I'm a trombonist, but then string players tend to travel in packs),
and I asked several of them about this piece, and no one seemed to know it. I included
a link to your web site in all queries, so I hope that one or two of them might join in the
Interesting sociological observation: My wife, Laura, is a clarinetist. Including
ourselves, we've known or have met five couples in which the male is a trombonist and
the female is a clarinetist. What, if anything, might it mean?
I always learn something from these quizzes, so even if I hit a wall I have a wonderful
time getting there. Peter Norton
Finally, after much searching, I found an answer by googling "music, written upside-
down, cello". Apparently the violoncello was considered an upside-down violin so
Haydn, in his Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Major written in 1765, expanded on this idea
by writing a piece which could be played even when the music was set on the music
stand upside-down. Venita Wilson
Ouch...I love the tough ones. If I had more time, I'd be heading to the University of
Washington to discuss this with the music department (to verify my facts, and supply a
date written in a much more serious manner). Thanks again for the fun!!
|1. What is so unusual about this piece of music?
2, Who wrote it?
3. What year was it written?
|The two words on the
bottom of the page,
are upside down.
|Comments from Our Readers
The pieces you refer to are referred to as
mirror canons or table canons for 2 Violins.
The 4 attributed to Mozart are listed in the
Koechel Catalogue under Anh C10.16. These 4
Canons were edited by Fritz Jode in 1928 in
Wolfenbuttel, based on an only one known
lithographic print in Nurnburg, without
publisher details, carrying the title "Four
Playful Duets [Scherzduette] by W.A. Mozart
for two Violins". By the time of K6 another
print had been found, titled "Three[!] Duos
favorites for two Violins...", printed by
Edouord Guillaume Mayer in Rothenbourg.
Although this printing had no publisher number
it was supposed to have originated before 1850.
I have tried to find a copy of these
"Spiegelkanons" in libraries I frequent without
|Some Observations by Robert W. Steinmann, Jr.
|Congratulations to Our Winners!
Rick and the Quiz Kids never gave up! Bravo!!!
Richard Wakeham Tamura Jones
Judy Pfaff Janice M. Sellers
Wayne Douglas Karen Kay Bunting
Barbara Battles Carl Blessing
JoLynn Pfeiffer Stan Read
Milene Rawlinson Margaret Paxton Maureen O'Connor
Robert W. Steinmann, Jr. Peter Norton
Nicole Blank Daniel E. Jolley James Baker
Bridget Wanderer Venita Wilson Jim DavisQ
Julie Alt Chris Meakin Billye McCarty
Jerry Vergeront Diane Burkett Marilyn Hamill
|Interestingly, the piece was studied in detail in the scientific journal:
Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and Its Applications, (Volume 383,
Issue 2, 15 September 2007, Pages 570-584) (Correlations in a
Mozart's Music Score (K-73x) with Palindromic and Upside-Down
Structure) by Leonardo Dagdug, Jose Alvarez-Ramirez, Carlos
Lopez, Rodolfo Moreno and Enrique Hernandez-Lemus, prominent
It's funny, physicists are enamored with Mozart's works:
Mozart is the greatest composer of all. Beethoven created his music,
but the music of Mozart is of such purity and beauty that one feels
he merely found it-that it has always existed as part of the inner
beauty of the universe waiting to be revealed. ~Albert Einstein
We cannot despair about mankind knowing that Mozart was a man."
The most noted W.A.Mozart scholar & biographer, Alfred Einstein
(possibly related to Albert, possibly not), clearly stated "the Canons
surely did not originate from Mozart."
........I myself, am a Brahms & Vivaldi fan, especially if Ofra Harnoy
is playing them on a cello............... Bob
Quizmaster General: Is the Albert Einstein you are quoting THE
Albert Einstein? Oh, c'mon.
Yes, that Albert Einstein, Albert was the physicist, supposedly he
was quite the Mozartphile! See "A Genius Finds Inspiration in the
Music of Another"-Arthur I Miller New York Times (Science) 31
January 2006 and other references....He was a Huge Fan!!! . . . . .
Alfred Einstein was a music scholar/historian/editor. Although many
people think they are related, It is unknown if they are related. If
they are, it's as distant cousins . . . .I think........
One last question, Bob. Aside from Albert Eistein the Mozart
scholar perhaps being related to Alfred Einstein the Mozart scholar,
is Arthur I. Miller the author related to Arthur Miller the author?
|Other key words appear
such as "Violoncello".
|Searching Google for
"Upside Down Music for
will point you
in the right direction.
|Listen to the first duet played by two violins.
|Listen to the first duet played by two violas.
|Listen to the first duet played by two violoncellos.