The symphony opens with the first subject played on violins accompanied by the violas, cellos and double basses.
In the first subject. Notice the:
- tempo marking – molto allegro (very fast)
- 4/4 time signature
- key signature of G minor (two flats)
- dynamic marking p
- melody starting on the fourth beat, a weak beat of the bar – this is known as an anacrusis
- 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 phrase
- dark intense mood
A motive (or motif) is a short distinctive melodic or rhythmic idea and is used as the basis of longer passages of music.
Notice the way that it contrasts with the first subject. The second subject:
- is in a different key…