Evolution of Symphonic Sound as Musical Communication

Posted: November 27th, 2013





Evolution of Symphonic Sound as Musical Communication

The sonata-allegro form is referred to as a section of the sonata cycle acting as the blue print of symphonies, strings, and other sonata works in the classical period. It is in most cases used as the first movement in the sonata cycle (Summer 34). The sonata-allegro is typically used by music composers in organizing classical music. However, in contemporary music the form does not provide the same functions as it were before in the development of irony and expectations of the audience, but it is applied by composers in finding new context for the developed form.  Generally, the form is illustrated by three large parts referred to as exposition, development and recapitulation.

Evolution of the Symphonic Form and the Role of the Sonata-Allegro Movement

The increasing demands for having purely instrumental music in the baroque times resulted in the establishment of new music forms especially the sonata forms that were viewed as important in church performances. The earliest application of the symphonic form for musical compositions is noted to have began in the late sixteenth century particularly in Italy, with the Venetian composers writing works that combined voices and different musical instruments referred to as symphoniae. The detailed historical evolution of the sonata form in the eighteenth century resulted in the crystallization of strict compositional norms in the works of Viennese composers identified as Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. These are the composers that created a sonata form comprising of three main parts. Sonata-allegro plays the major roles of music composition including keys modulations to other forms other than the dominant type, expositions with more than one key part, and the role of modulation within a group subject.

The intensity of and musical presentation of the symphony and the use of the sonata-allegro form as we move from the Viennese period to the late romantic period increased as composers began to apply a general form concept that moved away from strictures. The first person who transformed the sonata- allegro form included Beethoven at the start of the romantic period in the early nineteenth century. The evolution of symphonic sound as musical communication can be considered through the evolution of Haydn’s symphonies; he acts as the initial symphony composer having written more than one hundred and four symphonies during his career. Haydn symphony no. 94 was the second of the twelve London symphonies. The style of this symphony involves a sudden loud cloud in a variant theme with a quiet ending. The movement includes adagio, andante, menuetto and the finale. The instrumentation is scored for a classical-era orchestra comprising of two flutes, horns, trumpets and bassoons.

Beethoven’s symphony no.5 is known to be the most common composition in classical music. It comprises of four movements including the sonata, an andante, and a fast scherzo that leads to attacca and lastly the finale. In terms of instrumentation, it is comprises of piccolo, flutes, oboes and horns in E flat. The form involves a typical performance that goes up to thirty minutes. The style involves the C minor, which is regarded as a special key by Beethoven. It portrays a powerful emotional intensity to its audiences.

Mahler’s Symphony no. 6 was written between 1903 and 1904. In terms of instrumentation, it has a large orchestra of woodwinds, flutes and piccolo. It involves four movements in its style inclusive of allegro, andante, scherzo and finale.

Berlioz’s March to the Scaffold (Symphonies Fantastique) is noted to be in five movements and each movement is considered finest in musical romanticism. The work involves a large orchestra incorporating a good number of instruments not used by any one before. The symphony portrays passion particularly to young musicians.

The Use of the Sonata-Allegro Form and Symphony Over the 150 Years Span

Through the identified symphonies, the use of the sonata-allegro form has developed a lot in terms of the formal ideas that began with the establishment of schemes from the baroque period to sonata forms that were improved during the classical period. A good number of sonata forms were already in use by the year 1750 through different versions, with the major difference seen in the treatment of the recapitulation stage. Variances that included the use of the subdominant key area and the modification of themes were popular throughout the eighteenth century. The structure that is usually associated with the sonata form currently occurred through gradual restrictions in the early nineteenth century. Hence, more freedom for the sonata form manifested in the middle of later periods of Beethoven’s musical vocation.




Works Cited

Brown, Peter. The second golden age of the Viennese symphony: Brahms, Bruckner, Dvořák, Mahler, and selected contemporaries. Boston: Indiana University Press, 2003. Print.

Summer, Lisa. Music & consciousness: the evolution of guided imagery and music. Barcelona: Barcelona Publishers, 2002.Print.



Expert paper writers are just a few clicks away

Place an order in 3 easy steps. Takes less than 5 mins.

Calculate the price of your order

You will get a personal manager and a discount.
We'll send you the first draft for approval by at
Total price:
Verified by MonsterInsights