Berlioz's Symphony Analysis

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The symphony has evolved over the different time periods to become a standard genre in music. Different composers from different musical time periods have pioneered certain elements that have aided in the evolution of the symphony. One of these composers is Beethoven. He was considered to be a transitional composer between the Classical and Romantic musical eras. Beethoven added innovative compositional techniques to the symphony that later composers have adopted. One of these later composers is Hector Berlioz. In this essay I will provide a thorough analysis of, and, comparison between the fourth movement of Beethoven’s Symphony no. 5 and the fourth movement of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, March to the scaffold, by exploring the extent to which Berlioz has adopted the pioneering elements that Beethoven has implemented to further develop the genre.

The Symphony

A symphony, which comes from the Greek word meaning “sounding together”, is a large-scale orchestral composition constituting of several movements that generally differ in
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They were derived from: the suite; sonata and concerto grosso; Italian overtures, the “sinfonias”, that were played in the beginning of Italian opera. The “sinfonia” is also the origin of the term “symphony” (The Early History of the Symphony: Origins and Evoloving structure, 2013). The first symphonies were played by smaller orchestras consisting of twenty-five to thirty people; they were shorter in length – the duration generally lasting up to ten to twenty minutes; and they consisted of three movements. The three movements generally followed the form of “fast – slow- fast”. The first movement was generally referred to as “allegro”, the second movement “andante”, and the third and last movement was generally a dance e.g. minuet or a gigue. Giovanni Battista Sammartini, a prominent composer of early symphony, used an earlier version of Sonata-form in his first

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