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GCSE Music Analysis - Mozart - Symphony No.40 in G Minor

Updated on April 20, 2016

Features Of The Classical Period (1750-1830)

- Balanced phrases.
- Simple textures.
- Harpsichord replaced with piano.
- Range of wind instruments.

Sonata Form

Mozart's Symphony No.40 is written in Sonata form. Sonata form consists of the three following parts:
Exposition.
- Exposition is where the main themes (usually 2) are initially presented.
- The first theme is always in the home key. (In this case it's G Minor)
- The second subject contrasts to the first and is always in a related key to the first. (In this case it's B ♭ Major, which is the relative major of G minor).
Development.
- Development is where the composer 'develops' one or both ideas that were heard in the exposition.
- The section features various keys but avoids using the tonic or the dominant. (In this symphony it moves through various keys but starts in F# minor).
- Music in this section is often ambiguous and is constantly changing and feels restless because of the exploration of different keys.
Recapitulation.
- Recapitulation is a 'recap' of the exposition.
- The first subject is in the tonic key (G Minor) as it was in the exposition section and the second subject is also in the tonic key and there is no modulation as the work draws to a close.
- Sometimes the work finishes with a small coda.

Mozart.
Mozart.

Melody

- Balanced phrases (4 or 8 bars) that sound like questions and answers.
- Many phrases are scalic (made up of scales).

Harmony

- Diatonic and functional harmonies.
- Based around standard major and minor chords with examples of chromatic chords.
- A circle of fifths progression as heard in the second subject.
- Pedal notes which are heard in the alto part before the second subject begins.

Rhythm, Metre and Tempo

- 4/4 throughout.
- Molto Allegro tempo (very fast).
- Simple rhythms and occasional use of dotted rhythms and syncopation to create momentum and add interest.

Texture

- Mostly homophonic.
- Use of imitation and octave doubling (different parts playing the same thing but in a higher range).
- Dialogue between woodwind and strings.

Dynamics

- In the exposition the first subject is quiet (apart from a short passage in the middle).
- The second subject begins quietly and gets louder towards the end.
- In the development there is a loud section in the middle but it starts and ends quickly.
- The recapitulation has similar dynamics to the exposition.
- Most dynamics occur suddenly and there are only a few crescendos and no diminuendos.

Instrumentation

- It is played by a chamber orchestra made up of strings, woodwind and horns.
- The strings are busy most of the time and plays a variety of things such as the melody, running scales, sustained notes and chords.
- The woodwind instruments do not play as much as the strings and they tend to have more sustained notes and not as many quick runs. They share the start of the second subject with the strings.
- There are two horns in different keys which maximizes the number of notes.

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    • Shawn 4 years ago

      Legend!

    • Freyja 4 years ago

      this really helped thanks :)

    • Zozo 4 years ago

      I love you. Thanks. A lot.

    • Anthropophobia profile image
      Author

      Anthropophobia 4 years ago

      Haha, you're welcome :)

    • Lizzie 3 years ago

      oh my god this is fabulous

    • Undergraduate Music Student 3 years ago

      ^suddenly changing dynamics can be described as "Terrased Dynamics" - only in this baroque context though, also this piece is performed by a SYMPHONY orchestra not a CHAMBER orchestra, the difference being its size, the groups of instruments involved, and the era in which it was written, to a certain extent

    • Hannah Miller 3 years ago

      You are a life saver, these music notes are amazing!!

    • Anthropophobia profile image
      Author

      Anthropophobia 3 years ago

      Thank you! Good luck revising.

    • Carys 3 years ago

      Thank you so much for this! It is so clear it has helped me understand the piece much better. Thank you!

    • David 2 years ago

      I think i actually have a chance of passing music your brilliant :*

    • SHIZ 23 months ago

      Thanks! I might pass

    • EllieWhoStrugglesWithEverything 22 months ago

      Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU OMYLIFE!! I hope you don't mind that I made 9 completely covered double sided revision flash card things from this information and I am so grateful! Onto: Handel - And the Glory of the Lord!!

    • jake 22 months ago

      Timings????????????????

    • friend 16 months ago

      what about tonality?

    • poppity pop 15 months ago

      YOU SAVE OUR LIVES. WE ARE ETERNALLY GRATEFUL

    • Rain 14 months ago

      The tonality is the key... So G minor.

    • Evalyn Arnette 5 months ago

      Good post ! I loved the points - Does someone know where my company could possibly locate a fillable IRS 1023 copy to complete ?

    • Human 3 months ago

      Thanks so much!!! Life saverrrrr xxx

    • ya boi 2 months ago

      David, if you can't tell the difference between your and you're; I don't think you have much chance in passing anything.

    • kay 2 months ago

      thank you so much for the info

    • Pofkins 8 weeks ago

      It should probably be noted that this article is pertinent to the first movement of the symphony.

      The symphony is a musical genre in which multiple "movements" make up the symphony.

      The first, second and last movements of this symphony are in sonata form, the third one is in minuet and trio form.

    • Mariia 8 weeks ago

    • ?????? 6 weeks ago

      really helpful thanks

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