Music GCSE notes
The Classical Era: 1750-1830 W.A. Mozart 1st Movement from Symphony No.40 in G Minor (1788) Sonata form
Sonata form -three sections exposition, development, recapitulation Augmentation - doubling (or more) of the original note values Chromatically - moving up or down by semitone Pathetique - literally 'pathetic', refers to melancholy mood Semitone - half a tone
Written in Sonata Form
Most of the musical ideas come from two contrasting themes heard in the exposition.
Act 1 - Exposition - initial ideas are introduced to the audience
In the exposition the material is 'exposed', presented for the first time. There are two main melodies known as the known as the first and second subject.
Act 2 - Development - the ideas are developed, piece becomes more dramatic
The first subject is in the tonic key. The second subject is in a different key, usually the dominant or the relative minor, and has a different character.
Act 3 - Recapitulation - the first ideas are revisited
The two subjects are connected by a transition or bridge passage.
Features of classical
In the development section the material from the exposition is transformed. The music goes through several modulations (key changes).
Periodic or regular phrasing Melody dominated texture Musical structure has a balance Structure defined by clear-cut key schemes with regular cadences Chords used for structural purposes More varied dynamics, melodies, and key Harpsichord redundant
It has the standard four movements and is scored for: • woodwind – flute, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons • brass – two horns • strings - 1st violins, 2nd violins, cellos and double basses
• • • •
In the recapitulation the material from the exposition is repeated (recapped) in a slightly different and shorter form. The first and second subject are now both heard in the tonic key.
Exposition The symphony opens with the first subject played on violins accompanied by the violas, cellos and double basses. First subject
Look at the first subject. Notice the: tempo marking – molto allegro (very fast) 4/4 time signature key signature of G minor (two flats) melody starting on the fourth beat, a weak beat of the bar – this is known as an anacrusis • shape of the melody and its use of two quavers followed by a crotchet - a falling semitone motive (or motif) • question and answer phrasing – a four-bar phrase answered by another four-bar phrase • dark intense mood Second subject Development In the sonata form the exposition that began the first movement is followed by the development. Several different techniques are used in this section to transform the material of the exposition. These include: • altered melodies • rapid modulations from one key to the next • contrapuntal textures Look at the second subject. Notice the way that it contrasts with the first subject. The • use of imitation second subject: • much use of the falling semitone is in a different key – B flat major – this also has two flats and is known as the relative major motive mainly uses longer note values Imitation is where a melody in one starts on the first beat of the bar part is repeated a few notes later in a has a melody shared between strings and woodwind (clarinets and bassoons) different part overlapping the melody has a more lyrical and relaxed mood in the first part. • • • •
Like the first subject it uses:
• semitones • falling phrases
Recapitualtion The recapitulation follows the development. Here the material from the exposition is repeated in a slightly different and shorter form. The recapitulation returns to the tonic key of G minor and opens with the first subject. The second subject is now also heard in G minor. The movement ends with a coda. The final bars close the movement with repeated perfect cadences played by full orchestra (tutti). A coda is a short section which comes at the end of a movement.
Classical Page 1