What is a Symphony?


Initially the word symphony was used in different ways to refer to various aspects but now it is mainly used for an orchestra in a symphony. This is a collection of different stringed instruments such as woodwinds, percussion etc. It is also used to refer to musical work that has been specially been written with some specific qualities, to be played by an orchestra. The work written or played especially by an orchestra is called a sonata. The length of the sonata varies depending on the size of the orchestra but it is usually restricted between three and five movements.

Early Composers of the Symphony Genre

Two very important symphony composers in the eighteenth century are Mozart and Haydn. The total compositions by Haydn are thought to be 106 which he wrote in forty years. Symphonies written by Haydn, stretch over various styles and types. Some of Haydn’s most popular symphonies are those which were performed in London. To improve your musical ability it might be suggested to apply to local vocational schools to get your craft more finally tuned.

Mozart started writing symphonies as early as eight years old. The age at which he wrote the first symphony was in the year 1764. He then wrote for almost the next 25 years. Mozart also experimented with various styles and composed different types of symphonies. Some of Mozart’s most admired and famous symphonies include his Paris symphony, then the symphonies known as number 31, 41, the symphony called the Jupiter and symphony and the symphony he wrote last.

Beethoven is another important symphony composer who wrote his first symphony in 1801. His work is extremely important in the genre of symphonies even though his total works consist of only nine symphonies. The ninth symphony written by him, also called the Ninth Symphony is based on a poem by Friedrich Schiller, the title of which when translated is “ Ode to Joy”. It was due to the work of Beethoven that an emotional aspect was added to the symphony. Apart from this it was due to Beethoven, that the length of the first movement was increased.

Later Composers of the Symphony Genre

Other important works in the symphony genre in the nineteenth century include the four symphonies written by Johannes Brahms along with an incomplete symphony, and another symphony played in C Major, known as the Great Symphony by Franz Schubert. Some of the notable works from the twentieth century include the works of famous composers such as, Igor Stravinsky, Gustav Mahler, Sergei Prokofiev and Jean Sibelius –since they all worked to extend the concept of the symphony.  Other composers in the twentieth century such as Edward Elgar along with Ralph Vaughan Williams followed the example set by the earlier composers while the range of tones and atonality was experimented with by Anton Webern in his works Opus 21 Symphony and an unfinished symphony by Milton Babbit.

Such orchestras are found on all big cities and quite a few orchestras that are popular and highly rated can be found in the United States and around the world.


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2 Responses to “What is a Symphony?”

  1. Phil Azhorz says:

    Haha, nice one. I don’t think you have to worry about people knowing the difference between a mariachi band and a symphony. Not to put down the skills involved in doing that of course.

  2. Mrclassic says:

    Nice pix, helped get my day started on a happy note.

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