composers started writing fast aba ternary form movements called scherzos W r i t i n g
Discuss the use of musical form in the compositional process in the classical period. Include examples of specific forms, what they consist of, and representative composers and compositions that reflect these forms. Pages 10-12 in the assigned reading for this module cover musical form in the period. This assignment should be a minimum of 250 words in length and your thoughts and opinions. This assignment is submitted via Turnitin and will be checked for plagiarized sources and against a database of previously submitted assignments and internet sources. At the end of your submission you need to include a works cited page that includes all of your referenced sources including all embedded materials in Canvas in MPA, APA or Turabian/Chicago formats.
Musical Form As musical compositions of the Classical period incorporated more performing forces and increased in length, a composition’s structure became more important. As an element of organization and coherence, form helps give meaning to a mu-sical movement or piece, we have some evidence to suggest that late eighteenth and early nineteenth century audiences heard form in music that was especially composed to play on their expectations.Sonata FormThe most important innovation in form during the Classical period is what we call Sonata Form. This form got its name from being used as the first movement of most piano sonatas of the Classical period. Consisting of three sections—expo–sition, development, and recapitulation—it was also used for the first movements (and sometimes final movements) of almost all Classical symphonies and string quartets. The exposition of a sonata form presents the primary themes and keys of the movement. After the first theme is presented in the home or tonic key, the music modulates to a different key during a sub-section that is called a “transi–tion.” Once the new key is established, subsequent themes appear. The exposition generally ends with a rousing confirmation of the new key in a sub-section called the “closing.” The exposition then often repeats.As its name implies, the development “develops” the primary themes of the movement. The motives that comprise the musical themes are often broken apart and given to different parts of the orchestra. These motives are often repeated in sequences (refer back to chapter 1 for more about sequences), and these sequenc–es often lead to frequent modulations from one musical key to another that con-tribute to an overall sense of instability. Near the end of the development, there is sometimes a sub-section called the “retransition” during which the harmonies, textures, and dynamics of the music prepare the listener for the final section of the form, the recapitulation.Also true to its name, the recapitulation brings back the primary themes and home key of the movement. A simultaneous return of the first theme and home key generally marks its beginning. In the recapitulation, the listener hears the same mu-sical themes as in the first presented in the exposition. The main difference between the exposition and the recapitulation is that the recapitulation stays in the home key. After all, the movement is about to end and ending in the home key provides the listener a sense of closure. Recapitulations often end with sub-sections called codas. The coda, or “tail,” of the movement is a sub-section that re-emphasizes the home key and that generally provides a dramatic conclusion. Starting in the late eighteenth century, there are reports of listeners recog-nizing the basic sections of sonata form, and contemporary music theorists outlined them in music composition treatises. Their descriptions are generalizations based on the multitudinous sonata form movements composed by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Although the sonata form movements of Haydn, Mozart, and Beetho–
Page | 126 UNDERSTANDING MUSICMUSIC OF THE CLASSICAL PERIODven share many of the characteristics outlined above, each sonata form is slightly different. Perhaps that is what makes their music so interesting: it takes what is ex–pected and does something different. In fact, composers continued to write sonata forms through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. By the end of the nineteenth century, some of these sonata forms were massive, almost-hour-long movements. You will have the opportunity to hear sonata form in several of our focus composi-tions from the Classical period.Other Important Forms in Classical MusicAnother form of the Classical period is the Theme and Variations. Theme and Variations form consists of the presentation of a theme and then the variations upon it. The theme may be illustrated as A with any number of variations follow–ing it: A’, A’’, A’’’, A’’’’, etc. Each theme is a varied version of the original, keeping enough of the theme to be recognizable, but providing enough variety in style for interest. Variations change melodies (often through ornamentation), harmonies, rhythms, and instrumentation. Theme and variations forms were often found in slow movements of symphonies and string quartets. Some fast movements are also in theme and variations form.The Minuet and Trio form found in many Classical symphonies and string quartets stems from the stylized dances of the Baroque Period (see chapter 4), and then followed by the Minuet A section: A B A for short. To save paper, the return of the A section was generally not written out. Instead, the composer wrote the words da capo, meaning to the head, at the end of the B section indicating a return to the A section. As a movement in three parts, Minuet and Trio form is sometimes called a ternary form. As we will see in our discussion of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, by the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Minuet and Trio was perceived as dated, and composers started writing fast ABA ternary form movements called scherzos.The rondo is another popular instrumental form of the lateeighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Rondo consists of the alternation of a refrain “A” with contrasting sections (“B,” “C,” “D,” etc.). Rondos are often the final movements of string quartets, classical symphonies, concerti, and sonata (instrumental solos). GenresWe normally classify musical compositions into genres by considering their performing forces, function, the presence and quality of any text, and their musical style and form. Changes in any of these factors can lead to changes in genres. The two most important new genres of the Classical period were the symphony and the string quartet; instrumental genres that continued from the Baroque period include the concerto. Although one might trace its origins to the opera overture, the symphony de–veloped as an orchestral composition for the public concert. By the end of the Clas-sical period, it typically had four movements. The first movement was generally
Page | 127 UNDERSTANDING MUSICMUSIC OF THE CLASSICAL PERIODfast in tempo and in sonata form. The final movement was normally fast in tempo and used sonata, rondo, or theme and variations form. The interior movements consisted of a slow and lyrical movement and a moderate-tempo dancelike move-ment generally using the style of the minuet, a popular eighteenth century dance.The string quartet became one of the most popular genres of Classical chamber music. Its overall structure and form was exactly like the symphony. However, it was always performed by two violins, one viola, and one cello (thus its name) and commonly used as entertainment in the home, although on occasion string quar–tets were performed in public concerts. Also popular for personal diversion was the piano sonata, which normally had only three movements (generally lacking the minuet movement found in the string quartet and the symphony). The most pronounced change in the Classical period vocal music was the grow-ing popularity of opera buffa, or comic opera, over the more serious plot and aristocratic characters of Baroque opera seria. Opera buffa portrayed the lives of middle class characters and often mixed tragedy with comedy; as we will see, Mozart would produce some of the most famous opera buffa of all time. (As a side note, Mozart also transformed the opera overture into a preview of the musical themes to follow in the opera proper.) Composers Haydn and Beethoven also con-tinued to write oratorios. 5.5 musiC of josePh haydn (1732-1809)Born in 1732, Joseph Haydn grew up in a small village that was located about a six-hour coach ride east of Vienna (today the two are about an hour apart by car).His family loved to sing together, and perceiving that their son had musical talent, apprenticed six-year-old Joseph Haydn to a relative who was a schoolmaster and choirmaster. As an apprentice, Haydn learned harpsichord and violin and sang in the church. So distinct was Haydn’s voice that he was recommended to Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral’s music director. In 1740 Haydn became of student of St. Stephen’s Cathedral. He sang with the St. Stephen’s Cathedral boys’ choir for almost ten years, until his voice broke (changed). Af–ter searching, he found a job as valet to the Italian opera composer Nicola Porpora and most likely started studying music theory and music composi-tion in a systematic way at that time. He composed a comic musical and eventually became a chapel mas-ter for a Czech nobleman. When this noble family fell into hard times, they released Haydn. In 1761, he be-came a Vice-Chapel Master for an even wealthier no-bleman, the Hungarian Prince Esterházy. Haydn spent almost thirty years working for their family. He was considered a skilled servant,