Harmony and Tonality in Symphonie Fantastique (Movement One)

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Movement

Bars

Key

Harmonic device

Interpretation

Reveries and Passions – Introduction   (b. 1 – 71)

2 - 17

C minor

Chord establishes the key.

Begins with ambiguity, delicate like his feelings.

 

17 - 23

C major

Happy mood is dissolved by descending chromatic lines in the violins – marks the return to C minor.

Cascading sequence resembles teardrops.

 

24 - 27

C minor

Move to Eb major then back to C minor.

Four bar linking passage

 

28 - 35

Eb major

 

Warm key to emphasise his love and passion.

 

36 - 45

C minor

Interrupted cadence.

 

 

46 - 58

Ab major

Tonic pedal.

Fixed, like a daydream.

 

49

Db major

Tonic pedal becomes the fifth in Db major.

 

 

52

Ab major

Tonic pedal becomes the root in Ab major.

 

 

54

E major

Tonic pedal becomes the third in E major.

 

 

55

C# minor

Tonic pedal becomes the fifth of C# minor.

 

 

57

G# minor

Tonic pedal becomes the root of a diminished 7th chord on Ab.

 

 

59

C major

VII dim of VI

Dream is broken.

 

60 - 63

C major

Perfect cadence of, VI, IV, Ib, V, I

 

Exposition – 1st subject (b. 72 -132).

72 - 132

C major

 

Creates a joyful and tender atmosphere – suitable for the first hearing of the Idee Fixe.

Exposition – Transition (b. 133 – 149).

133

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