The Music Of The Classical Symphony

1414 Words6 Pages
There are precious few artists in the course of history who made such a dramatic development and impact throughout the course of their careers as Ludwig van Beethoven. His nine symphonies are a perfect example of such a metamorphosis of musical genius. Not only his compositional strides, but the manner in which he made them is extremely important to the shape of our musical culture. Throughout the development of his works, Beethoven kept one foot in the past while reaching and cultivating the artistic future of the symphonic form, thus shaping a societal view of the art form as a whole. The maturation of his nine symphonies can best be categorized by Beethoven’s manipulation of classical form and orchestration as a vehicle of stylistic and…show more content…
Even with foreshadowing hints of Beethoven’s individualism (i.e. opening chord inferring alternate key, irregular phrase lengths), most technical aspects of his first symphony fall squarely into the mold of sonata-allegro form. After the traditional setting in Symphony #1, Beethoven varied his treatment of the 3rd movement as a traditional “Minuet” form while substituting a “Scherzo” for the penultimate movements of Symphonies 2, 3, and 5. Beethoven is credited for inventing this movement of the symphonic form and it is his original treatments of the “scherzo” that define its characteristics of tempo, length, and style. Adding new flair and style, the scherzo is almost twice as fast as the dance based “minuet” form of the classical and baroque period. Beethoven did not abandon the Minuet, as it reappears in later symphonies, but the implementation of this new symphonic movement gives credence to the notion that Beethoven had mastered the traditional form, and felt free to alter the compositional structure to give the greatest effect to the work as a whole. By the completion of his 7th Symphony, Beethoven had developed the scherzo into a serious movement of the classical symphonic form. Beethoven also created variances within the Sonata-Allegro form especially in closing movements of his symphonies. Careful analysis will yield that Beethoven’s treatment of the final movement of Symphony #6 unveils a clear definition of 5 major
Open Document