How good are musicians nowadays compared with ie. Mozart?

I know a few pretty skillful musicians. They play whatsoever piece of music without pre-practicing. Was WA that genious he is known for? His IQ was somehow calculated as almost 160…Why? Why is G.F. Händel even more genius? I think Marilyn vos Savant took a test…

I took a test once and I was US army cook level.
They did’t hire me, though…

I’m not sure what IQ has to do with musical talent. I’ll leave that to smarter people than me.

I’ll speculate that we have a proportionally larger number of people now who have musical experience and/or who consider themselves musicians. I think it’s likely that we have musicians who are at least as talented as Mozart, even if not in exactly the same way.

PS: I’ll try not to be a pedant, but “i.e.” does not mean what you think it does.

As a composer, Mozart has few rivals. It can be difficult to compare him to today’s composers because he worked in a style that isn’t really used today, but the general consensus has him at or near the top of the All-Time Greatest list, with no one working today coming close.

As a performer, Mozart was good, but I think it’s safe to say that there are a significant number of musicians today who are as good or better. Certainly we have plenty of musicians who are capable of playing Mozart’s own compositions and doing them justice.

When it comes to performers who could “play whatsoever piece of music” on sight, Franz Liszt was scary good. You’ll find people who’ll argue he was the greatest piano player of all time, but I don’t know that there’s a consensus on that.
(Nitpick: I think the “i.e.” in the thread title was supposed to be an “e.g.”)

I think the likes of John Williams could give Handel and Mozart a run for their money.

I do, too.

Igor Eustace Mozart was the younger brother of Wolfgang Amadeus - an even more talented musician. He was an accordion virtuoso who fused Viennese folk music with early hip-hop.

At what, running?

More talented than P.D.Q. Bach?

Just by the numbers, there’s so many more people now, a larger proportion of whom can dedicate themselves to music that I’d think it a near certainty that there’s people better than mozart around today.

A lot more competition too though, a modern day musical genius has to compete with all current day musicians and all musicians from the past, when Mozart got big, people couldn’t get their music fix from dead performers beamed to their ears from space so it was a lot easier to be the best.

Your question cannot be answered until a couple hundred years have passed and we can see which modern composers are still standing. I cannot really abide most modern composers, but I well realize that the music I like best is still the music I grew up hearing 70 years ago and I find nearly everything modern execrable. But that’s me. My kids and grandkids grew up in different eras hearing different things. But what modern music will endure? Damfino.

My bad.

Didn’t he compose the “As Expected Symphony”…

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Moving thread from GQ to Cafe Society, our home for music and composer questions.

If by “good” you mean in terms of being able to play a wider variety of music than existed in the late 18th century, I’d guess it’s because they have 200 years of experience playing the music that came out later, specifically after Beethoven began to write.

Many musicians of the day were simply unable to play Ludwig Van’s later works because they’d never seen anything like them before. Now we’ve grown accustomed to hearing them, and works like them that later composers following Beethoven’s lead produced. Like much else in that period, Beethoven was revolutionary!

It is truly amazing to consider how much music has changed since the days of Mozart, Haydn, Haendel, Bach. Much of the difference is also due to technology and the new instruments it provided, e.g., valved horns and hammer pianos. This allowed new forms of music to be created and flourish alongside of (and sometimes displacing) earlier styles and genres.

Listen to the works of the earlier composers and then compare them to what came later. The difference is as clear as night and day!

Most of the musical masters had perfect pitch. That is definitely not a thing for me as a listener of rock say. It might be irrelevant to rock. But it was necessary for those guys to be who they were. So my answer must be that they were not better. They were almost all preselected by having a special musical mind.

I’m not so sure that most of them had perfect pitch, and also not sure how much it would have helped if they did.

About special musical minds: you might be right - at least about some of them. But if so, wouldn’t some people today also have special musical minds?

PS: Why would perfect pitch not help in rock?

I thought it was more important. but maybe not. Mozart and Beethoven had it. My only guess is that it was helpful in their job as composers.Since he’s the cited musician in the OP you have to take it into account when you compare anyone to him. It sounds like a factor. Special in one way.

I don’t know if it’s helped anyone in recent pop or rock. My guess is it was a bigger factor 2 or 3 hundred years ago in musical evolution. They were the old masters after all.

Can a deaf composer really be said to have “perfect pitch”? Perhaps I misunderstand the term.

Sorry. I should actually say “Absolute pitch” and it’s estimated that Beethoven had it.

We should probably say what we mean by “as good musician” because it’s sometimes apples and oranges. But maybe we mean solo piano or guitar.

He was only deaf at the end of his life, from some medical condition. Most of his life, he could hear normally.

There have been several hypotheses, saying this or that might have been the cause of Beethoven’s deafness, but none of them seem quite satisfactory. Maybe we’ll never know.

One cite is from Wikipedia, where it addresses the correlation of absolute/perfect pitch with musical talent:

Remember, Beethoven wasn’t always deaf; he became so (gradually) over the course of his life.