Mozart's Symphony No. 40 - 1st Movement

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Important Information

What year was the symphony written in?

Answer: 1778 (18th Century)

What Symphony is it from?

Answer: Mozarts 40th Symphony in G minor (1st movement)

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  •  It is played by a chamber orchestra made up of strings, woodwind and horns. 
  • The strings are busy most of the time and plays a variety of things such as the melody, running scalessustained notes and chords.
  • The woodwind instruments do not play as much as the strings and they tend to have more sustained notes and not as many quick runs.
    • They share the start of the second subject with the strings.
  • There are two horns in different keys
    • maximizing the number of notes.
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Melody and Word-Setting

  • Mozart's Symphony No.40 is written in Sonata form. Sonata form consists of the three following parts:
  • The first theme is always in the home key. (In this case it's G Minor)
  • The second subject contrasts to the first and is always in a related key to the first. (In this case it's B ♭ Major, which is the relative major of G minor).
  • - Development is where the composer 'develops' one or both ideas that were heard in the exposition.
  • - The section features various keys but avoids using the tonic or the dominant. (In this symphony it moves through various keys but starts in F# minor).
  • - Music in this section is often ambiguous and is constantly changing and feels restless because of the exploration of different keys. 
  • Recapitulation.
  • - Recapitulation is a 'recap' of the exposition.
  • - The first subject is in the tonic key (G Minor) as it was in the exposition section and the second subject is also in the tonic key and there is no modulation as the work draws to a close
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Harmony and Tonality

  • Diatonic and functional harmonies.
  • Based around standard major and minor chords with examples of chromatic chords.
  • circle of fifths progression as heard in the second subject.
  • Pedal notes which are heard in the alto part before the second subject begins.
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  • Mostly homophonic.
  • Use of imitation and octave doubling (different parts playing the same thing but in a higher range).
  • Dialogue between woodwind and strings.
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