'Symphony No.40 Movement 1' - All you need to know

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  • Created by: esumner
  • Created on: 29-03-15 17:17

Background:

- Completed in 1788

- Classical Period - diatonic harmonies, homphonc textures, contrasting moods, elegant and balanced

 

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Forces and Instrumentation:

- Chamber orchestra made of strings, woodwind, and horns

- Strings form main core of orchestra, playing melodies, quick running scales, sustained notes, and forceful chords

- Horns play most of the held and repated notes to sustain harmony

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Structure:

- Sonata form

- 3 sections:

1. Exposition: 1st subject, G minor, then 2nd subject Bb major (relative major)

2. Development: based on 1st subject but developed and fragmented, moves through various keys, starting in F sharp minor

3. Recapitulation: 1st subject, G minor, some variation, then 2nd subject, now in G minor, with some variation

- There's a coda with repeated perfect cadences in G minor

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Melody:

- 1st Subject: characterised by a falling motif to the repeated rhythm: quaver, quaver, crotchet - first played by strings

- 2nd Subject: descending chromatic patterns shared between strings and woodwind

- Most of the phrases are conjuct

- Most of the melodies are made up of balanced 4 or 8 bar phrases, sounding like a question and an answer

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Rhythm, Metre, and Tempo:

- 4/4 metre throughout

- 'Molto Allegro' tempo - very fast

- Some rhythmic ideas are repeated to create unity

- 1st subject begins with an anacrusis (upbeat) of 2 quavers followed by a crotchet. 

- Rhythm is heavily used in 1st subject

- Some syncopations

- Some dotted rhythms

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Harmony and Tonality:

- Diatonic and functional harmony

- Based around major and minor triads

- Some chromatic chords like an augmented 6th and a diminished 7th

- In 2nd subject, chords travel around in the circle of 5ths

- Pedal notes just before start of 2nd subject

- G minor

- Modulates to Bb major and F sharp minor

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Texture:

- Mainly homophonic

- Counterpoint and imitation in development (polyphonic)

- Octave doublings

- Dialogue between strings and woodwind at the start of 2nd subject

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Dynamics and Expression:

- Exposition: 1st subject is mainy quiet, transition is loud, 2nd subject begins quietly and gets louder towards the end

- Development: Starts and ends quietly, loud section in the middle

- Recapitulation: similar dynamics to the exposition

- Most dynamics contrasts occur suddenly

- Lack of crescendos and diminuendos

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