Before I draw attention to the different musical elements that made this masterpiece possible, I
would like to provide some context on Ludwig Van Beethoven’s No. 5 Symphony in C Minor. Beethoven was mentored by Mozart and Haydn, this played a crucial role in the structure of this piece. Beethoven began composing his fifth symphony in 1804, and was debuted with his sixth symphony. His fifth symphony was planned to be his first in a minor key. The first four notes of this symphony is and always will be one of the most remarkable details in his symphonies. In the fifth symphony the rhythm kept the movement moving, within this piece there would be a eruption followed by a unexpected silence. The fifth symphony is composed of four movements, opening sonata allegro, andante, scherzo, and the finale. The entire piece is very unpredictable, this can be explained through all the musical elements involved in this piece.
In the first movement, he develops the movement with the opening da da da dum with will be the base rhythm throughout the symphony with different variation. The melody of the first movement is upbringing which is played by the clarinet and the strings. The horns introduce the second theme, but with the same rhythm in the first section of the movement. The dynamic is considered as a loud triumphant movement which is repeated throughout the symphony, this triumphant theme will simmer down during the second movement. Exposition is repeated, development section meshes both themes together, this brings in new harmony and keeping the audience on their feet. Extends the movement rhymically until it is reduced to one note. Woodwinds and strings show this, by its conversation through song. Solo Oboe then plays a cadenza holding G. This puts the symphony to a halt and silence, which represents the tone colour of the oboe. Oboe’s role is to be the calm before the storm. This movement then comes to a conclusion. Throughout the first movement, you will hear the same motive three short notes and one long note. Second recapitulation is played by the bassoon, continues to show a theme of triumphant. Which is followed by the coda. Coda are usually brief, but Beethoven makes this an important part in the first movement. This coda leads the first movement to a end.
The second movement begins with the violas and the cellos, in contrast the violin and woodwinds come to play to show a upbringing which is the extended meaning throughout this piece. An interlude introducing a second theme played by the clarinet and bassoon. This variation between instruments can describe the tone colour of this piece. Beethoven used instruments that contrast or compliment each other to create different variations, which helped introduce the theme of triumph. Beethoven consistently used many variations in his fifth symphony. The overall movement’s beginning’s dynamic is soft with fast notes. The faster the notes the melody picks up, then after bassoons and clarinet the cellos and basses start to play the variation in a forceful approach. Woodwinds began to play a part of the interlude, the flute, oboe, bassoon, and clarinet. The amazing part is that each instrument as a section for them to express. Variation was played by every instrument either in one section or a mesh of both. The pitch range, contrast, and speed all play in how variations are made. Near the end of the second movement woodwinds play softly then cello builds in to a strong ending which the entire orchestra plays a role in.
The third movement was a based on a form called ABA form. This can be explained by the initial exposition, to the trio, and then to the exposition again. Trio would be played by contrasting instruments. Beethoven did this form but in a scherzo which had a faster pace. The movement begins with the cello and basses. The dynamic of the third movement is very soft which leaves a mysterious feeling in the air. This movement also has the original rhythm three short one long note. This rhythm is played by the horn in the this movement followed by the violins and violas. The trio begins with the cello and basses which is different from the original meaning of trio, because you would think it would be played by a contrasting instrument then the first section. Cello and basses has to have great quality and great pitch range. The violas and violins come in then woodwinds joins in. The fourth section becomes soft and faster, Beethoven used pizzicato (pluck strings). This creates a soft and short theme which is the opposite of heroic, which was the base theme of the entire symphony. The timpani then plays the melody, which is very interesting because Beethoven makes the timpani the melody. After this it will transition into the last movement.
The last movement, now in C major, the heroic theme presents itself once more played by the trumpet and horns. The first then transitions to the addition to trombones and contrabassoon. Many would say this symphony was composed with the idea of coming to light. The C minor sounded more mysterious and low, when the C major brings a lighter mood. The theme of upbringing can be expressed by contrabassoon, trombone, piccolo, and horns. After this, Beethoven adds in slow, loud notes. Then, the same material is repeated or the scherzo until reduced to one note. This shows how much variation and transition Beethoven used in this piece. Beethoven then takes this note to extend the movement. Beethoven brings back all the melodies and rhythms back before the ending of the last movement. Beethoven structured this symphony by introducing the scherzo, then shows the development, and then he brings back the scherzo. At the very end, the coda is at a presto tempo that leads into a triumphant ending.
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