The human ear can only simultaneously comprehend two, or at most three, distinct melodies. Even renowned classical composers generally don’t aspire to create pieces that exceed this number of tunes played concurrently – the sheer volume of melodic combinations renders it unthinkable to write coherent music. The single glorious exception in history is the final movement of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s final symphony, popularly called the Jupiter symphony. In this stunning tour de force of musical composition, Mozart introduces five separate musical themes, then closes with a fugato counterpoint in which all five play simultaneously. The result is not discordant but stirring and sonorous, even as themes frolic about from strings to horns to woodwinds at a pace the human mind cannot possibly focus on or comprehend. Harvard musicologist Robert Levin told NPR about the symphony’s finale: “At the very end,…

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