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For many composers, elements of symphonic form, from the classical period to the end of the romantic era, have remained relatively static. While certain conventions, such as the substitution of a scherzo for a minuet and trio, have changed from time to time, the classical symphonic form is thought to have been used unchanged or in minute variation. However, the progressive twentieth century symphonist, who has espoused both traditional form and progressive harmonic and melodic ideas, has encountered an interesting problem, which begs the question of how to preserve a form largely based on harmonic movement (or 'progression' and 'development') or thematic contrast in a progressive harmonic idiom. This question is particularly pertinent with the use of sonata-allegro form, in which certain harmonic tendencies have been paramount and a particular balance of tension and release is usually preferred. Techniques such as continuous variations, ostinati, non - periodic melodies, and baroque rhythmic regularity, as well as new harmonic and other organizational practices such as pandiatonicism, free atonality, 12 - Tone method, klangfarbenmelodie, and numerous 'atonal' practices from impressionism to pointillism, can be viewed as a disruption of the symphonic form in the 'traditional' sense. Many composers have adapted the symphony to these progressive idioms, and have provided various solutions to those who might wish to continue the development of the symphony based upon the examples of romantic symphonists such as Beethoven and Brahms. The symphonic form has been reinterpreted to fit the needs of the modern composers, who were never inclined to let music theorists confine them to the antiquated examples of days past. The conventions of pandiatonicism and 12 - Tone composition in the twentieth century symphony will be discussed through the symphonies of composers who favor the previously mentioned harmonic techniques, Ellen Zwilich and Anton Webern.
The symphony, in broadest generalization of the classical conception, contained four movements. The first and the last were sonata - allegro, the second was a variations movement and the third was a dance movement. However, many symphonies universally heralded as illustrious examples of the genre defy this convention, such as the romantic symphonies of Ludwig Beethoven. Many composers in the romantic period compose works called symphony after the example of Beethoven, include the chorus, vocal soloist and other instruments not included in the classical conception of the symphonic orchestra. Some symphonic works, such as the symphonies of Hector Berlioz, have been scored entirely for wind and brass instruments and some, such as the two symphonies of Franz Liszt, the neoclassic/baroque symphonies of Johannes Brahms and the symphonic poems of Richard Strauss, have offered a dramatically different interpretation of the symphony in harmonic structure, thematic construction and instrumentation. While attention to the classical model of the symphony has persisted, one can view a divergent school of symphonic composition appearing in the nineteenth century, which has continued into the twentieth.
The sonata-allegro form is an abstract idea created by nineteenth century music theorists such as Adolf Bernhard Marx, Antoine Reicha, and Heinrich Birnbach to explain eighteenth century musical form, though their system of symphonic analysis persists today. The concept of the sonata-allegro form focuses on harmonic movement. To generalize, the first and second sections contain a modulation from the tonic to the dominant key. Normally, two themes of contrasting character are stated in these harmonic sections. The themes are then 'developed' by breaking their 'thematically stronger' form into 'weaker' motivic ideas and using these motivic ideas in a rapidly changing harmonic environment. The themes are then restated in the tonic key and the piece ends. The form is defined by theorists such as Marx and Birnbach through harmonic motion, namely the modulation to the dominant in the exposition, the instability in the development and the tonic key in the recapitulation. The end result is a gradual build in tension to a climax, followed by a gradual release of tension.
Variation movements consist of repeated binary forms with similar harmonic progressions. A theme is stated in the first binary area, which is altered in each new binary area. Typically the theme is ornamented or the intervalic relationships of the pitches in the theme are used in a new rhythmic idea (or the rhythm is used for a new set of pitches). A profusion of different variation techniques exist, which vary from composer to composer. Usually the underlying harmonic progression of the original binary area is preserved for each successive variation. The central idea of the form is to offer the audience amusing new variations on a theme, as even classicists did not strictly adhere to the 'standard' harmonic movements o
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Names mentioned in this research paper
Anton Webern, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, a new penetration, Ludwig Beethoven, Richard Strauss, Hector Berlioz, Franz Liszt, Adolf Bernhard Marx, Johannes Brahms, Wolfgang Mozart, Heinrich Birnbach, Mahler, Bach, Antoine Reicha, Idee Fixe, Franz Haydn, Elliot Carter, Rows, Zwlilich,
Organizations mentioned in this research material
Viennese School, Juilliard school,
Companies referenced in this term paper
a canon, Roger Sessions, Wind Instruments,
Keywords talked about in this term paper
symphony, Webern, harmonic, symphonies, symphonic, twentieth century, Zwilich, sonata, Anton Webern, melodic, music, tone row, sonata allegro form, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Beethoven, harmonic structure, music theorists, orchestra, Roger Sessions, timbral, rhythmic, motivic, musical form, symphonic music, classical symphony, Richard Strauss, clarinet, binary form, repeat sign, synthetic scale, Ellen Zwilich, symphonic orchestra, atonal music, instruments, Ludwig Beethoven, symphonic poems, eighteenth century, nineteenth century, functional harmony, romantic, thematic transformation, klangfarbenmelodie, Johannes Brahms, Hector Berlioz, free atonality, rondo form, traditional, Franz Liszt, brass instruments,