After critiquing the cluttered and vague print map on Mozart’s travels created by Atlas Historique de la Musique, I immediately regretted my criticism once I learned I would have to replicate the map with the goal of improving upon it in some way shape or form.
Where to begin?
As this is a music class (as well as a crash course in geography, coding, life lessons, and all things research), I wanted to add a soundtrack of Mozart’s compositions that would coincide nicely with his travels. The information on Mozart is vast, so I needed to narrow down my selection. I chose to focus on 1763-1772 which I layered into three distinct sections of travel for organizational purposes. I only selected places he and his family stayed for a month or longer, as I wanted to decrease clutter and highlight possibly more influential locations. As a print map, the original map was unable to produce any biographical information about what Mozart was doing or who he met on his travels, so I also wanted to incorporate that within my map to give users a better picture of the life Mozart lived. Obviously with only a couple of days to produce the map, more research should be done to improve upon the map for possible future use. Compared with the original map, I prefer the interactive capabilities of the digital map because it allows for active participation, in-depth descriptions, and outside links that a print map cannot provide. Although beware of the information overload monster, I may have added too many pieces for certain locations, so make sure to choose displayed information wisely.
Creating the second iteration of the map was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed working with my partner, Annika. Her first map focused on charting locations of the Mozart family’s travels through letters written by Leopold Mozart from 1762-1766. Unlike my method, Annika charted every city the Mozart’s stopped which showed the path they traveled in better detail. We narrowed down our specific time frame to 1763-1766, the years of the Mozart family’s Grand Tour across Europe. We added more letters to finish their journey and included excerpts from the letters describing Wolfgang or their travel. We had hoped to get images of the actual letters, but that could be a goal for project continuance. For the music section of the map, I created a YouTube playlist for each city where Mozart composed multiple works for ease of access (in comparison to separate links for each piece). Although YouTube is not an ideal music sharing platform because videos can be removed at any time, it is more accessible than Naxos or any other site that would require a subscription. I personally preferred working on this collaborative map as opposed to the individual map because we were able to figure out problems together and achieve more in the process.
While the original map was clean and simple, we were able to portray the amount of time spent in each place better than the original. In my initial reaction of the print map, it appeared Mozart briefly spent time in London, while in reality he actually spent fifteen months there. I think a color-coated map emphasizing how much time he spent in each location would have offered a better visualization of the amount of time spent in each location without having to read every description on the length of stay.
As much as I enjoyed the project, I do not think future students should carry on with this map. Mozart was a popular composer, so the project would cater well towards the public. Anyone who likes his music may stumble upon this map and find the visualization interesting. However, there is already so much information on Mozart, why compile even more data if someone could just as easily look up his whereabouts on Wikipedia (which I’m not endorsing)? Furthering research on Mozart seems less of a pressing matter than that of our next project focusing on H. T. Burleigh, where currently a lack of knowledge and information makes research imperative.
Mozart was all over the place. After closely examining a print map and working on two digital maps, I am exhausted trying to keep up with his whereabouts! The original print map was able to show all the locations Mozart traveled over the span of his lifetime with a quick glance. It was simple and somewhat effective, although the map was difficult to read and lacked any other information. The digital maps allowed for an expansion to more than just Mozart’s travels, which helped integrate his life, whereabouts, and music all in one map. And while I would not like to see this map abandoned, there are other topics that should take priority to mapping the travels of Mozart. All in all, this project was a challenging, yet worthwhile, venture into the world of Mozart and mapping.
Landon, and Landon, H. C. Robbins. The Mozart Compendium: a Guide to Mozart’s Life and Music. Schirmer Books, 1990.
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, Leopold Mozart, Constanze Mozart, Emily Anderson, C.B. Oldman, and Ludqig Schiedemair. The Letters of Mozart & His Family. London: Macmillan and, Limited, 1938.