Edexcel Classical, Mozart.

Revision notes on Symphony No. 40 in G Minor by Mozart

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Music GCSE notes Key Words
Sonata form -three sections exposition, development,
The Classical Era: 1750-1830 Augmentation - doubling (or more) of the original note
W.A. Mozart Chromatically - moving up or down by semitone
Pathetique - literally 'pathetic', refers to melancholy mood
1st Movement from Symphony Semitone - half a tone
No.40 in G Minor (1788) Sonata form
Written in Sonata Form Most of the musical ideas come from two contrasting themes heard in the exposition.
Act 1 - Exposition - initial ideas are introduced In the exposition the material is 'exposed', presented for the first time. There are two main
to the audience melodies known as the known as the first and second subject.
Act 2 - Development - the ideas are developed, The first subject is in the tonic key.
piece becomes more dramatic
The second subject is in a different key, usually the dominant or the relative minor, and
Act 3 - Recapitulation - the first ideas are has a different character.
The two subjects are connected by a transition or bridge passage .
Features of classical In the development section the material from the exposition is transformed. The music
Periodic or regular phrasing goes through several modulations (key changes).
Melody dominated texture
Musical structure has a balance In the recapitulation the material from the exposition is repeated (recapped) in a slightly
Structure defined by clear-cut key schemes with different and shorter form. The first and second subject are now both heard in the tonic
regular cadences key.
Chords used for structural purposes
More varied dynamics, melodies, and key
Harpsichord redundant The symphony opens with the first subject played on violins accompanied by the
violas, cellos and double basses.
First subject
It has the standard four movements and
is scored for:
· woodwind ­ flute, two oboes, two
clarinets, two bassoons
· brass ­ two horns Look at the first subject. Notice the:
· strings - 1st violins, 2nd violins, cellos · tempo marking ­ molto allegro (very fast)
and double basses · 4/4 time signature
· key signature of G minor (two flats)
· melody starting on the fourth beat, a weak beat of the bar ­ this is known as an
· shape of the melody and its use of two quavers followed by a crotchet - a falling
semitone motive (or motif)
· question and answer phrasing ­ a four-bar phrase answered by another four-bar
· dark intense mood
Second subject Development
In the sonata form the exposition that
began the first movement is followed
by the development . Several different
techniques are used in this section to
transform the material of the
exposition. These include:
· altered melodies
· rapid modulations from one key to the
Look at the second subject. Notice the way that it contrasts with the first subject. The
· contrapuntal textures
second subject: · use of imitation
· is in a different key ­ B flat major ­ this also has two flats and is known as the relative · much use of the falling semitone
major motive
· mainly uses longer note values Imitation is where a melody in one
· starts on the first beat of the bar part is repeated a few notes later in a
· has a melody shared between strings and woodwind (clarinets and bassoons)
different part overlapping the melody
· has a more lyrical and relaxed mood
in the first part.
Like the first subject it uses:
· semitones
· falling phrases
The recapitulation follows the development. Here the material from the exposition is repeated in a slightly different and shorter form. The
recapitulation returns to the tonic key of G minor and opens with the first subject.
The second subject is now also heard in G minor.
The movement ends with a coda. The final bars close the movement with repeated perfect cadences played by full orchestra (tutti).
A coda is a short section which comes at the end of a movement.
Classical Page 1


Samuel Richardson

This a very well presented analysis of the structure of Mozart's 'Symphony No. 40 in G Minor', and also includes some good background information. 


very helpful with all the key words i learnt a lot

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