Comedic Music: The Juxtaposition Between Incongruous Musical Elements



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Classical music is a learned art form with exemplary aesthetic value. It is often synonymous with serious music because of the careful consideration required to create and understand the music. The term serious, however, may imply a lack of fun. This thesis explores comedic Western art music, which juxtaposes high-style and low-style musical elements to provoke humor in an audience. In the second section of this document, the different theories of humor are briefly explained. In the third section, the incongruity theory of humor (which necessitates an absurd contrast between components resulting in a violation of expectations) is applied to how contrasting musical elements make a piece of music funny. In the fourth, fifth, and sixth sections, selected works by Franz Joseph Haydn, Robert Lucas de Pearsall, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Tom Johnson are analyzed for their humorous nature by considering their different methods of juxtaposing music elements.



Music Theory