Beethoven's Sixth Symphony

1173 Words May 11th, 2008 5 Pages
Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony
“He (Beethoven) was a pivotal figure in the transition from 18th century musical classicism to 19th century romanticism, and his influence on subsequent generations of composers was profound” Kerman and Tyson. Beethoven’s sixth symphony (also known as the pastoral symphony) has qualities of both the classical and romantic periods and illustrates Beethoven’s revolutionary ideas as well as highlights his classical influences. The programmatic nature of the piece is the dominant romantic feature although the use of brass and percussion as well as the dramatic dynamic changes are also characteristics from this era. However there are many classical influences in Beethoven’s work such as the balanced phrasing, the
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He creates this dance-like feel in a variety of ways. Firstly, the 2/4 time signature makes the music feel upbeat compared to the 4/4 time signature of the rest of the piece. Secondly, the sforzando accent on the first beat of every bar drives the music onwards. Also the catchy, short and rhythmic melody is lively and metronomic. Finally the fiddle-like manner in which the violins play creates a sense of a dance. There are unexpected changes and dramatic dynamic changes throughout the trio which are both romantic qualities. The fact that this movement moves seamlessly into the next is also romantic.
The fourth movement is titled “thunderstorm” and is a romantic movement. It is in episodic form (a format of the romantic period). It is extremely programmatic. The movement depicts a thunderstorm through the use of the timpani that creates the rumble of the thunder and the punctuated sforzando chords that create a harsh lightning (for example in bar 21). These programmatic features are romantic traits and show Beethoven’s ability to push the boundaries of the style he was contained to. The use of percussion and brass in a dominant role is also a romantic feature. There are multiple dramatic dynamic changes throughout the movement ranging from pianissimo to fortissimo, which is unusual for the classical period. The movement also exercises dissonance and the melody is unresolved, a
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