Timbral Analysis of Beethoven's 5th Symphony in C Minor Essay

2268 Words Apr 25th, 2013 10 Pages
Tyler Martin
Advanced Orchestration
Symphony no. 5 in C minor Beethoven’s intent behind this piece is creating diversity out of unity. The unifying idea of the work is a series of three short notes followed by one long note. The diversity of the simple unifying idea therein is generated by the use of timbral development techniques and expansion of the orchestra; however, there are several performance practices and technical issues that impact the work’s total realization. The score referenced throughout this essay is the Kalmus Miniature Orchestra Scores version. Beethoven takes his initial motif, which is quite simple, and fleshes it out via timbral orchestration. Throughout each movement, he carefully places developmental and
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The first appearance of the full original motif is in measure fourteen, made of three eighth notes and an agogically emphasized eighth on the downbeat of the next measure. This particular rendition is used throughout this movement to hold bring sections of it together on a macro level (mm. 21, 23, 30, 79 – 85, etc.). Various instruments throughout the movement also adapt three short notes as pick-notes or as set-up sections for a string of lesser articulated notes(mm. 15 Violins, 76 – 77 Violin II and Viola, etc.). For the first time in music history, movement three sees the emancipation of the low strings. The introductory statement of the movement is not made with violin, high wind, or even viola; it is made with the celli and basses. The two instruments lend a sort of dark cast to the line that sounds anticipating, almost in a foreboding sense. The anticipation is met with the original motif at measure nineteen played by horns and accompanied by strings, which is then texturally expanded into the entire orchestra, much like it has been at time in the previous two movements (mm. 19 – 44). This movement, again conveniently in three, allows the motif to be interwoven throughout in much the same way as the second movement while the theme from the beginning measures is also developed. Further diversity is generated through the use of
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