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Topic: Question about Symphony form

  1. #1

    Question about Symphony form

    The symphony form is like (by movements) I fast, II slow, III dance like, and IV fast again.
    In the III movement is usally minuet & trio form, dance like. So the question is, how i am suppose to create minuet dancelike III movement, when i want my symphony to be dark, hevy, deep in tone colors etc.?

  2. #2

    Re: Question about Symphony form

    You don't.
    There is no obligation to make your movements ANYthing.

    You make your symphony as you want it.
    What makes a piece a "symphony" rather than simply a large orchestral work in multiple movements, is the internal structure.

    The contemporary symphony tends to have more direct links between thematic structures of various movements.

    The development of material tends to be more closely inter-related.

    A symphony tends to take thematic material that is more "serious" than other forms.

    But nothing stops you from making a symphony the way you envisage it.

  3. #3

    Re: Question about Symphony form

    oke, thanks qccowboy

  4. #4

    Re: Question about Symphony form

    Remember that a symphony is basically a "musical novel".
    It should tell a story and have a satisfying structure.

    The "classical" symphony (ie: Haydn, Mozart, etc...) was rooted in the key-relationships of the movements.

    With our music now, we are no longer beholden to that "obligation", especially that music in our day and age has moved beyond the simpler harmonic processes of that time period.

    You can still choose to use key relationships as a unifying process, but it is not an obligation.

    As for the number of movements, Samuel Barber wrote a single-movement symphony which itself integrates the four movement "classic" form within its architecture.

    Jan Sibelius wrote a single-movement symphony (no.7) which is entirely unique in its structure, having a single repeated "fanfare" played in the trombones as a sort of unifying passage to link the different sections. (when that fanfare returns at the very end of the piece, I daresay it is one of the most moving and earth-shattering musical moments I've ever lived through).

    Roy Harris' 3rd symphony is in a single movement, played without pause, and it is rather difficult to identify where "movements" begin and end in its structure, as it is VERY fluid.

    While at the other extreme, we have composers like Leonard Bernstein, whose 2nd symphony is in basically 20 movements!

    While Dmitri Schostakowitch's 14th symphony is in 11 movements, but is scored for soprano and bass vocal soloists, strings and percussion.... a rather unusual "symphony" in every respect.

    Hope this helps and inspires you.

  5. #5

    Re: Question about Symphony form

    I'd add one more to the list of "unusual" symphony forms and that is Strauss Alpine Symphony. It is several movements all based on time of day or nature (Night, Sunrise, etc.). There is unifying musical material but also a unifying programmatic theme as well.

    steve winkler

  6. #6

    Re: Question about Symphony form

    thanks qccowboy as well swinkler...

    the thing is, i have some musical thoughts for very long time :) i wrote it several years ago in finale 2000 i think :) after some time of learning (harmony, motive development, counterpoint, form and orchestration) i realized that symphony form is what i need for those musical ideas. i read that symphony form was already different in the romantic period than in the classical, but i was stucked beacuse (i dont know why:) i thought if my work have classical properties it must be done by classical form rules (if i whant it to be a symphony not a rapsody). yes it is stupid now, i see :) so thanks again for making this clear to me.

  7. #7

    Re: Question about Symphony form

    But your original question is an interesting one. For an example of a dark 3rd movement from the classical period check out Mozart's 40th symphony. if you want, for whatever reason, to write your work in a classical symphonic form. If you are willing to look scherzi from the romantic period, Beethoven's 9th, Mahler's 2nd and 6th. Actually, the romantic period is full of dark scherzi.


  8. #8

    Re: Question about Symphony form

    those are not dark enough lol. especially mozart's 40th III mov. wich is compared to my ideas "nice&sweet" :)) i generally don't like minuet&trio. maybe the boccherini famous no.5 minuet is the only one.

  9. #9

    Re: Question about Symphony form

    Quote Originally Posted by Dule View Post
    those are not dark enough lol. especially mozart's 40th III mov. wich is compared to my ideas "nice&sweet"
    Ah, but try to listen to it as the 3rd movement of a classical symphony 200 years ago. All things considered, that's one powerful 3rd movement! (I'm not much of a Mozart fan, but his 40th symphony blows me away.)

    I probably should have mentioned Mahler's 7th instead of, or in addition to his 6th for an example of darkness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dule View Post
    i generally don't like minuet&trio. maybe the boccherini famous no.5 minuet is the only one.
    I think you missed one of the points I was trying to make. The "3rd movement" of a symphony (whatever position is has among the movements) has never really been intended as a dance or a joke. I don't know if Boccherini wrote his minuet for dancing, but nobody is going to dance to the 3rd movement of Mozart's 40th symphony. Nobody is going to laugh at the 2nd movement (or 3rd movement, depending on the conductor's wishes) of Mahler's 6th symphony. (In fact, nobody would dance to the "dance" movements of Bach's orchestral suites. This certainly didn't start with Mozart.)

    Michel gave some really good examples symphonies that went far beyond the old symphonic mold. He could just have easily given examples of symphonies that kept the classical kept the mold but filled it with completely modern content. (He could; I can't. ) If you want to have minuet& trio / scherzo&trio / intermezzo&trio kind of movement in a symphony (because you want to use the traditional form) you can certainly do that and have it be as dark and heavy as you are able.


  10. #10

    Re: Question about Symphony form

    what is the pont to listen it as 200 years ago and what was considered powerful then? i said dance like, its about music rhythm especially, i know its not for dance...the question was how to put hevy music in that form.

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