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Symphony Orchestra Analysis

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A symphony is an extended classical composition for an orchestra, found in Western Art Music. It often consists of four separate and unique, sections known as movements which are, in some way however, related to one another. The symphony as a genre began developing during the late 17th century and continued to do so up until the late 18th century. This important genre of Western Art Music is closely related to the development of the orchestra. It is therefore critical, in understanding the symphony, to investigate the development of the orchestra.

In the stretch of a hundred years, the orchestra underwent considerable change in developing into the standard symphony orchestra of the modern age. When it is first found in the late 1600s during
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It was truly a breeding ground for musical excellence and innovation. This orchestra was by far the largest of its kind in the area, and boasted many of the greatest virtuosi of the time. Upon Mozart’s first visit to Mannheim in 1763, the orchestra made a huge impression on him. Besides a large orchestra, symphonies included various specific musical features and techniques, that had become trademarks of the style developed in Manheim. One Manheim composer in particular had a large impact on the orchestra and the symphony. His name is Jan Vaclav Antonin Stamic (1717 - 1757) (Germanized to Johann Wenzel Anton Stamitz). He started writing orchestral works to be independent works in their own right. Orchestras no longer needed to accompany vocal genres to attain any meaning. This paved the way for what was to become known as abstract music. Stamitz wrote 58 symphonies in his lifetime, and numerous conciertos. He expanded the orchestra, with woodwinds starting to play an essential role in the orchestral timbre. The orchestra was no longer made up simply of a haphazard group of instruments, but was starting to take a fixed formal shape. Along with his contributions to the expansion of the orchestra he also adopted the formal structure of four movements for the symphony and started using a distinct development section in the first movements, which became known as sonata form. The opening movement is fast, followed by a slow second movement, the third movement would be a minuet and trio, and the fourth would end the symphony on a final Presto or Prestissimo
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