New Mozart composition, "Master of Puppets," found in French library

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20 September 2008

Mozart of Puppets

French librarian Jacques Noir holds up a piece of paper displaying Mozart's metal riff.

PARIS, France -- A local French museum has found a previously unknown piece of music handwritten by classical composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a researcher said Thursday.

Ulrich Leadsinger, head of research at the International Mozarteum Foundation in Salzburg, Austria, said there is no doubt that the single sheet was written by the composer.

"This is absolutely new," Leadsinger said in a telephone interview from his second job at McDonald's. "Do you want fries with that? His handwriting is absolutely clearly identifiable. -- What do you mean no personal calls!!??"

Mozart metalhead

Was Mozart a metalhead?

The long-lost work, described as the preliminary draft of a musical composition, is titled "Padrone dei Burattini in E Minor." Despite being a newly-discovered composition, heavy metal guitarists across the globe have known the song for years, as heavy metal band Metallica's classic, "Master of Puppets."

Music historian Herman Eighthnote believes Mozart's piece was ahead of its time.

The way Mozart wrote this piece, it was written for two electric guitars with heavy distortion, one lead and the other rhythm. Since they didn't have any electricity back then, Mozart may have written "Padrone" on violin and exaggerated the distortion to the best of his abilities, even going so far as to sing the "Wah Wah" parts in the solo, whereas the guitar was unable to produce a wah-wah sound.

"We had no idea,(Laughs), I guess I gotta start listening to Mozart some time soon!(laughs)" said Metallica lead singer and rhythm guitarist James Hetfield of Mozart's composition. "Thank God they didn't have copyright back then! [Laughs]"

"I guess we have only one thing left to do with 'Puppets'," said lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, "Release it into the public domain."

Eighthnote also commented on how and why the work is different from previous Mozart works.

Mozart was probably feeling the pressures of the marketplace. Classical music was waning. He was looking for a whole new sound that would blow everybody away. The song is dated 1786, 200 years before Metallica's song and album, so it was before Mozart died [in 1791]. He probably didn't make it public during his lifetime for fear of selling out. Mozart was the first known person to write heavy metal. And the first to do so without selling out for radio airplay.

Since the discovery, thousands of classical music enthusiasts have purchased albums by Metallica, and metalheads have been turned on to classical. Metallica's entire catalog got a big boost on the charts, including their latest album, Death Magnetic, debuting at Number 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.

Metallica's "Master of Puppets" lineup was Hetfield, Hammett, late bassist Cliff Burton, and drummer Lars Ulrich. The current lineup is Hetfield, Hammet, Ulrich, and bassist Robert Trujilo. "Padrone dei Burattini" is Italian for "Master of Puppets."

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