• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Beethoven & the Symphonic Genre

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Benjamin Scott March 28, 2004 Beethoven & the Symphonic Genre Beethoven had a great influence on the genre of the classical symphony. The form has changed dramatically since Haydn's first symphonies in the 1750s. Both Haydn and Mozart had influence on Beethoven's symphonies. Beethoven then developed his own style which transformed the genre. Before you can appreciate Beethoven's contributions to the genre, you must recognize his inspirations. First of all, Joseph Haydn is traditionally considered the 'father' of the symphony. While this is not exactly true, the symphony became a definitive form in the hands of Haydn. The form evolved from several genres, including the Baroque concerto grosso, the 'church sonata', and the Italian opera overture. Schools of symphonic writing developed in several European cities in the early 18th century, but Haydn's symphonies mainly follow in the tradition of his home city, Vienna (Grove online). Haydn wrote 106 symphonies, some of them three movements in length (fast-slow-fast), while many are four movements. His earlier symphonies have a style of "virtuoso brilliance" and "courtly splendor" as he composed them in the court of Esterh�zy. Later symphonies include remote keys, rhythmic and harmonic complexities, expansion of dimensions and harmonic range, rhythmic instability, dynamic extremes, greater technical difficulty, and increased use of counterpoint (Webster). The symphonies mainly follow the standard tonic-dominant relation form of the time. Beethoven briefly studied composition with Haydn in Vienna in 1792. Mozart had as much an impact on Beethoven as Haydn did. Although Beethoven only briefly met and played for Mozart in 1787, Beethoven greatly admired Mozart and considered him to be the best composer of the time. ...read more.

Middle

Finished in 1804, the Third Symphony in Eb Op. 55, Eroica, was very remarkable at the time. This piece was the first to set Beethoven apart from the traditional symphonic form. According to Rosen, this piece was "the first of Beethoven's immense expansions of classical form" (Rosen 392). The most obvious expansion is its length; no one had written a symphony as long as the Eroica. Apparently, critics complained about the length and the lack of unity. I agree with Rosen, who states that the "unity is so intense that a cello-oboe duet ... in the development is directly derived from the main theme" (Rosen 393). Other innovative features of the symphony include "evolving themes, transitions between widely separated passages, actual thematic recurrences from one movement to another, and ... the involvement of extra-musical ideas by means of ... a few tantalizing titles" (Kerman 107). In the first movement, Beethoven expands the form in several different ways. After the startling, powerful opening chords, the melody descends to a low C#, with syncopations in the violins (mm. 7 - 8). The mysterious C# is not fully understood until the beginning of the recapitulation, when Beethoven reinterprets it as a Db, which resolves to C and leads to a horn solo in F Major (mm. 402 - 408). Another of Beethoven's innovations is his expansion of the development and coda sections. In this movement, the development section is 245 bars, much longer than the 155 bars of the exposition, and the coda, at 140 bars, is almost the length of the recapitulation. ...read more.

Conclusion

According to William Kinderman, the overall form of this movement is a combination of the concerto and sonata form with variations and almost a four-movement design in a single movement. Concerto features include the double-exposition of the orchestra and then choral variations, as well as the cadenza for the vocal soloists. Kinderman explains that "the following overall sequence may be seen as outlining a 'multi-movement' plan: (I) the theme and initial variations in D major; (2) the 6/8 scherzo section with 'Turkish' orchestration; (3) the archaic Andante-Adagio passages featuring trombones and modal tendencies; (4) the final sections beginning with the choral double fugue" (279). This massive finale of Beethoven's ninth has proved to be very influential for many composers after him. Mahler, Bruckner, Wagner, Brahms, and many other composers all greatly admired Beethoven, and based their compositions on his innovations. Lastly, I want to mention that before Beethoven, the conductor was not a very important person as far as interpreting the music of a symphony. When Beethoven explained to individual orchestra members how he wanted certain passages played, and demanded slight expressive variations of tempo, it was an orchestral novelty, and even considered eccentric. Charles Rosen writes, "to play a symphony of Mozart or Haydn as if it were a sonata, interpreted and molded in an individual way by a conductor, is to betray its nature...the music of the 19th century...demands the services of the virtuoso conductor..." (144). As one can tell, Beethoven enormously changed the symphonic genre through his innovations and unconventional methods. He influenced generations of composers and musicians after him and will always be considered one of the greatest symphonic composers. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Music section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Music essays

  1. Using the example of Mods, How did different subcultures distinguish themselves in Britain during ...

    The Mod way of life consisted of total devotion to looking and being 'cool'.13 From being a scattering of ultra hip subterranean club dwellers, Mod had quickly evolved to take on a definitive culture and structure of its own. At the top, there were the Faces, who set the pace,

  2. A Comparison of Bach's Sarabande (Partita Number 4) and a Mozart Piano Sonata (K.333)

    In addition to this, Classical pieces tend to be much more homophonic in texture, which affects the tone of the melody. On the point of ornamentation in Baroque music, especially with regard to performance and free ornamentation, the general practice was in fact not to notate everything to be played.

  1. Hydens Trumpet Concerto and Aranjez Analysis

    It also plays around with the melody, 204-220 is played as a fanfare-like motive that had been developed from the 1st violin part in the introduction in bar 33. The development then ends with an improvised cadenza played by the solo Trumpet.

  2. Music Publishing

    The main thing though is the ability to compose. You have to be good at giving the right mood at the right time, so that the music reflects the film and vice versa. If one wants a job as a film music composer it's good to have contacts, especially with a director, maybe also set up a webpage, like Myspace to put your music on.

  1. Music Appraisal - Classical Waltzes

    Dynamic changes are one of the main features in this piece, crescendos and diminuendos are employed almost constantly - especially to give emphasis to the bass rhythm, held in the left hand. This forces the listener to notice not only the powerful melody but the structured beat moving steadily beneath.

  2. Indian Instruments

    Its role as an accompanying instrument has been all but usurped by the small Indian harmonium. The sheer difficulty of tuning and playing it, and the demise of the skill of making good instruments, also conspire against its survival. This has been recognized in the past few years by Indian

  1. Jazz final: Duke Ellington

    It was this dedication and allegiance towards jazz that really enabled Ellington to evoke to the utmost of his ability the artistic and original creativity that he so possessed with regards composition and arrangement. "The Cotton Club" as mentioned earlier, was the beginning of a prominent career in jazz performance for Ellington.

  2. "Beethoven and Mahler"

    The second, or middle, period extends to about 1812, after the completion of his Seventh and Eighth Symphonies. The third period emerged quite gradually. Beethoven composed it's most pivotal piece of music called the Hammerklavier Sonata. Beethoven then composed his last five quartets, written between 1824 and 1826, and can

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work