Mozart Symphony No. 41 in C, K551 "Jupiter" Analysis of Exposition

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Mozart Symphony No. 41 in C, K551 “Jupiter” Analysis of Exposition

The first movement of Mozart’s final symphony can be broken down into several sections, and these are the  

  1. Exposition
  • First subject
  • Transition
  • Second subject
  • Closing theme
  • Codetta
  1. Development
  • First development
  • Second development  

      3.        Recapitulation


First Subject

The first subject is in the movement’s opening bars, and is then split further into the antecedent and consequent. The antecedent takes the form of a militaristic march, with a strong duple meter coming through, emphasized by the brass playing the tonic of C, helping to establish the key. The consequent is then played by the first violins. In a contrast to the loud and strong opening; it is played piano and has a much lighter texture. It uses a combination of suspensions and appoggiaturas in a rising sequence that completes the consequent. The antecedent and consequent are both examples of periodic phrasing, which is essentially a balanced phrase. The antecedent is two bars long, and so is the consequent, which I shall now refer to as motif A.

This is then followed by a repetition of the antecedent and consequent but in the dominant key of G. Motif B starts at bar 9, and takes the form of a fanfare, and the brass helps to punctuate it by playing the same rhythm and in octaves. From bar 15 the harmonic rhythm doubles, with the bar starting in the tonic, then moving to the dominant on the third beat, helping to drive the piece forwards towards a climax. This forms part of the cadential passage leading to the climax at bar 23. In bars 19 and 20, the piece has syncopation with the woodwind instruments playing on the offbeat. This also helps add to the drive and excitement, before ending in bar 23 on the tonic with a fermata.

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The start of the transition is immediately in contrast to the beginning of the piece, starting at piano dynamic markings and without any bass, helping to create a delicate texture. Motif A features in the transition, in the violins, but is also marked piano, with the horns playing the tonic triad. The counter melody is then played, starting in bar 26 in the woodwinds, accompanied by motif A in the strings. The horns again play the triad, but this time starting on the dominant. From bar 31 it starts to change, as the piece begins to develop and move ...

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