Beethoven Analysis Essay

12 December 2017

Compare and contrast motley development, harmony and tonality between Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 with Symphony No. 9, and analyses how this shows the progression from late classical music to early romanticism The exact date of when Beethoven finished composing Symphony No. 1 is unknown, however the piece was premiered at the turn of the century on 2 April 1800 in Vienna. This served as Beethoven’s first public concert during his time as a composer in Vienna, and included pieces by Mozart and Haydn also.

The introduction to the symphony proved highly interesting, as although the piece is in C major, the first dance Is In the key of F major. Many characteristics of the symphony are reminiscent of Heyday’s symphonies, with the orchestra resembling that of Heyday’s later works. The piece was dedicated to Baron Gottfried van Sweeten, who had provided financial support for the composer. Symphony No. 9 was completed In 1 824, and premiered on 7 May in the same year.

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Beethoven was the first well-established composer to realism the inclusion of voices in a symphony, as the four vocal solo parts and chorus In the final movement differentiated the symphony from many others. Beethoven chose sections from Frederica Chillers poem ‘Ode to Joy’ to use in the choral finale, however he was almost completely deaf at the time of writing, and many believe this to be an Influential factor In Its composition.

The first 4 bars of Symphony No. 1 are purely accidental and although the piece is in C major, the first VI-l chord progression is in the key of F major.The consecutive alteration between the forte and piano dynamic within the first bars strengthen the dominant chord, and this characteristic is romantic in nature due to the frequent and intensified dynamic changes. This opening style bears some resemblance to Symphony No. 9, due to the lack of an Immediate motif and the dominance of choral progressions rather than melodic passages. However, the opening of Symphony No. 9 has a much stronger correspondence with romanticism, as the tonality, melody and rhythm are less distinct.

The absence of a middle note gives a slightly modal feel, resting on the held notes of A and E, however the intervals played in the higher register of the violin section from bar 2 onwards give the impression of an A major chord. The note of E then moves to the tonic note of D In the bassoon and cord angles parts In bar 15. Vying the impression of a D major chord, although the omission of a middle note continues to give a modal feel. This harmonic ambiguity is sustained until bar 17, where a dramatic D minor broken chord is played, firmly establishing the key.Although the choral progressions during this section are not unusual for both classical and romantic music, the whole orchestra plays only the notes of A, E and D. Beethoven however spreads these few notes across a very wide pitch range, creating an extremely rich and colorful timbre full of anticipation, and this, together with the exclusion of a middle note and ambiguous rhythm mark a characteristic shift away from the typical features of classical music and towards romanticism. The structure of the short and conjunct motif starting in bar 13 of Symphony No.

Exemplifies the melodic style of classical music as a result of its clearly defined phrasing and to the 1st violin motif played in bar 16, before repeating the descending motif found in bar 18 in dotted crotchet form. The repetition of altered mitotic ideas such as this gives the piece a clear structure that the audience could follow, and was a common feature of late classical music. The style of the motif from bar 55-63 of Symphony No. 9 however Juxtaposes this, and is much more romantic in style due to its prominent chromatics.The station is repeated, rising in pitch over an ascending chromatic fugue in the bass before coming to an imperfect cadence in bars 62-63, finishing on A. Beethoven again omits the middle note from the chord, instead creating harmonic interest and suggesting an A major chord by alternating between A and B in the second violin and viola parts. This creates a certain amount of harmonic ambiguity, and relates to the romantic style of the chords used at the very beginning of the ice.

William Zimmerman explains Beethoven’s approach to accidental resolutions; “In the subordinate theme of the Ninth Symphony (ex. 5. 8), Beethoven has discovered how to integrate three parts into a single theme of enormous scope. He accomplishes this task by employing various means of evading potential cadences and by ensuring that the one final perfect authentic cadence has sufficient force to close all the previous materials in a convincing manner” (Zimmerman 1991). However, a transition to a more classical approach can be found in bars 69-73 where Beethoven uses a circle of fifths.This harmonic technique proved commonplace within classical music, and became less frequently used as the development of music progressed towards romanticism. Occasionally, Beethoven uses choral progressions in his Symphony No.

9 that completely dispel the piece away from typical classical harmony. An example of this can be found in the presto section towards the end of the piece, where an figuration on the note of B is played by the flute, oboe and clarinet sections over a major sixth chord of F, A and D.This creates a crude harmonic clash, and dissonance of this kind was generally unheard of within the classical style. This routinely is repeated Just before the introduction of the vocal section, and perhaps represents the composers desire to break out of certain characteristics of musical classicism. This view is reinforced in the first chord where the vocal section is introduced, as the whole orchestra plays every note of the diatonic minor scale together; F, A, C#, E, G, B and D. This too creates extreme dissonance, and can be interpreted as an important shift forward in the development of music.These features set the piece apart from the much more conservative Symphony No.

1, which fixes itself rigidly within the classical domain. The choral changes are fast paced and regular, with a strong sense of rhythm and clear melody to emphasis this. Mitotic developments are frequent, with the semiquaver fugue in bar 18 returning in inverted form from bar 167-169. The descending fugue from bar 12 also makes an appearance in bar 177 in semiquaver form, with the remainder of the material being played with the if dynamic.This section is representative of how Beethoven developed motifs in a classical style within this piece; the notations and rhythms are changed whilst keeping with the periodic phrasing of the original motif. Examples of a Beethoven structure integrated into his thematic writing can be found in both symphonies, whereby a motif is played in the higher register of the orchestra before a heavily rhythm-based harmonic ‘pounding responds in the lower luxuriates the motif with the booming response by alternating between piano and forte dynamics, creating a dramatic effect.A similar technique can be found in bars 8 and 10 of Symphony No.

1, and shows how Beethoven retained his iconic style through the classical-romantic transition. In conclusion, many characteristics set Symphony No. 1 and Symphony No. 9 apart, over Beethoven’s Ninth does not completely break into the romantic style and retains many musical characteristics typical of classical music. Romantic music was n its early stages when Beethoven died, and his roots of composing classical music can be found even in his later works.

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