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Thread: Beethoven Symphonies Early Music Style

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    Junior Member max's Avatar
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    Hey guys,

    I'm currently taking a course on all 9 of Beethoven's symphonies and have to write a 10-12 page research paper on a topic of my choice.

    I chose the topic of performance issues related to specifically string players. In other words, I have to research how the music was performed "early music" style. As in, how it was played in Beethoven's time.

    I need to narrow this topic down of course to a thesis statement, and I was wondering if you guys could help me come up with a worthy and interesting thesis.

    Keep in mind a thesis statement says something that you "believe" to be true.

    For example. Beethoven's music is great because it is so original... But, now let's relate it to my topic of "early music performance styles" of his symphonies as related to string players.

    I need to choose relatively soon, because I need to start doing "research" on this to write my annotated bibliography due on October 12th.

    Thanks for all your help.
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    Thesis...Wow&#33; Yr doing yr Masters already?
    What&#33; 12th of oct... That&#39;s some kinda deadline :unsure: ...do u feel utterly stressed now...I would if I were u. :mellow: Is there a wordcount for it... 3000/5000?

    I&#39;m slightly confused on your scope of research.Are u supposed to write about Beethoven&#39;s music, particularly his strings output and all matters relevant to the performance of its materials....or just string music in general during Beethoven&#39;s time...
    Alright anyway... to do Beethoven u must understand that he has 3 timelines...but there are scholars who have subdivided them into 5.
    I&#39;ll just name the three... Early Classical...the epitomised way.
    The transition
    and the late.
    If you&#39;re doing a comparison itself between performance of Beethoven&#39;s string pieces in these 3 different timelines...then u must remember Beethoven&#39;s important early interest in the opera form. That&#39;s why his early works are more gallant, more lyrical and definately more scalic and poetic as compared to his late, esp. evident in his slower movements.
    And are u going to write about Beethoven&#39;s influences on his contemporaries...or those who came after him... Mendelssohn, Brahms, Dvorak etc.
    Beethoven adored the Mannheim School during his earlier days also... take note of that. ( U can talk about this particular way of performing also even if yr presenting a topic just on early classical music. ) -Features of the Mannheim school: melodic prominence of violins, extensive crescendi, definative and precise dynamise, tremolandp, and most importantly, written parts to replace an improvised continuo.
    As a theme for the thesis...How about writing about Beethoven&#39;s music (with particular attn. on his strings output ) as compared to that of his contemporaries...that&#39;ll be interesting rather than just focusing on him alone.
    Theme: How about Beethoven as an unparalleled Musical Architect that trranscended all music boundaries and sucessfully synthesised the 2 dynamic periods? Or how about writing him in a 3 facet disposition: Beethoven, the Classical Romantic or Beethoven the Absolute Romantic or Beethoven the revolutionary visionaire?
    Or if yr writing purely on performance of early classical music...
    How about ... A period of definative style that heralded a whole new era of experimentation and adventure?
    That&#39;ll really be interesting.
    BTW, I&#39;m using a libary com. right now...wonder if this&#39;ll poat alright. If not, I&#39;ll have to retype when I reach home later.
    I&#39;ve done quite q few write-ups on Beethoven b4. If u feel like discussing... u can pm me. Or just post. Keep us updated. I&#39;m feeling so excited for u. Good Luck&#33; B)

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    There&#39;re soooo much u can write on. It&#39;s so exciting...
    But I always find students making one universal grave mistake of over-praising the composer or relating to his life story or *whatever* without having substantial points to present. And they tend to focus too much on the feel and nature of the music rather than each and every important component... One should have a more &#39;technical&#39; aspect style of writing when presenting a thesis rather than a &#39;descriptive&#39; one.
    IE : remember to talk more on Beethoven&#39;s transformation of minuet to a scherzo( this is really rarely mentioned ... which I find a great pity ), expansion of the coda form, his usage of &#39;motto-themes&#39; as a structural device, and how his writing/style grew technically more demanding ( and rather virtuostic )on the instrument... as compared to his contemporaries.

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    Junior Member max's Avatar
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    Hey DW,

    Thanks for your replies... But unfortunately, you didn&#39;t fulfill the assignment&#39;s requirements. :P

    So, first I&#39;ll answer a few questions then try to re-explain what I need...

    No, I&#39;m a senior in Music Performance Undergraduate studies. I need to write a 10-12 page research paper. I need help finding the "thesis statement" of the paper. The "What I&#39;m trying to prove." October 12 is the date I need to have some sort of annotated bibliography (not all the sources, but some).

    The topic that I need to talk about though is how the way we perform the music now COMPARED to the way music was performed in Beethoven&#39;s time. Hence "early music performance." I need to constrain my topic to Beethoven&#39;s 9 symphonies and specifically I would be interested in writing about the techniques for string instruments in general.

    So, I have to figure out what SPECIFIC topic I want to tackle in that broad range and I need an idea to "prove".

    And for those who aren&#39;t sure what the difference between a "thesis statement" and a topic are, I have uploaded my professor&#39;s example. (Word Document)

    ok, it won&#39;t let me upload, because James needs to CHMODD /upload to 777.

    So, I&#39;ll upload it to my site: http://www.musicalhorizon.com/thesistopic.doc
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    So, I have to figure out what SPECIFIC topic I want to tackle in that broad range and I need an idea to "prove".
    Hmmm... Okay, I understand now.
    Yeah, yr right. The spectrum is so wide...I&#39;ll get a headache trying to figure out what specific area to touch on... Do u have anything that u wanna tackle on? As u already said, &#39;techniques&#39;...then that means u&#39;ll be tracing the development of string playing through the different schools that ultimately lead to the more &#39;explosive&#39; ticket/way of playing that we indulged in today.
    But the thesis statement will be hard to form in this case, caz I myself can&#39;t think of anything in particular to prove at this juncture. What abt. u?
    What would u like to convince in this case if yr doing a thesis on comparison/ different aspects and styles of periodical playing?
    How abt. proving yr point that modern techniques(after Paganini ) is probably the closest in comparison to post-Baroque, as like Baroque in modern dress...nah, no.
    Or how about proving the old myth... whether modern techniques work discerningly with early music, with regards to the development of modern techniques/ schools, or that it ain&#39;t about the technique at all, but the frame of an orderly nature, that emphasises formal beauty rather than emotional expression that sets the 2 apart.
    Okay, I get it... how about this: proving yr point regarding the permanent and ephemeral value of music as a result of technical development through the ages.
    Hmm... this is so difficult. HELP&#33; People&#33;&#33;&#33; :blink:

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    Junior Member max's Avatar
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    haha, yea, now you see my problem...

    I can&#39;t think of a point to prove... GRRR&#33;

    I could attempt to prove:

    Even though modern performance of Beethoven&#39;s symphonies is very beautiful and enjoyable to listen to, these performances do not exemplify how Beethoven must have envisioned his works, as the instruments and techniques used at that time were quite different from today.

    How&#39;s that sound????
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    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    After reading the postings several times, I didn&#39;t get it fully yet, but never mind...

    As topic the authentic string technic must be really fun to search for, but I wouldn&#39;t do that now because you have too less time to develop this point right, because that needs more than a year i guess...

    Maybe think of some other aspects? About using strings in his symphonies in comparison with the woods and brass, or come away from strings, and take one early and late symphony and compare them, etc.
    That would make more sense for me till this short deadline, and they are also great topics&#33;

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    Junior Member max's Avatar
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    I would, but it&#39;s not my decision. And a whole year??? The average 10-12 page report is due within 2 months at Penn State.

    This guy is giving us till October 2nd to have the annotated bibliography, and the ENTIRE semester to finish the paper.

    I don&#39;t know bout you conservatory kiddies&#33; (sorry, but it&#39;s true) but doing 10-12 page research papers is nothing abnormal, odd, or unusual at universities.... In fact, I have already written close to 6 papers (over 3 pages) in the past 2 weeks...

    Yes, Penn State, where you DO get an education on top of all the conservatory-style MUSIC classes.

    Thank-you, I bow, and laugh at all who think my going to a uni over a conservatory is a waste of time.

    Oh and make sure you read my signature: I&#39;m a Music Performance major, and do I need to mention on quite a nice scholarship&#33;

    OK, enough of that... people I need help with this thesis statement...
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    (sorry, but it&#39;s true) but doing 10-12 page research papers is nothing abnormal, odd, or unusual at universities.... In fact, I have already written close to 6 papers (over 3 pages) in the past 2 weeks...
    Yeah, I know what u mean. We used to do that alot in Brit. The paperwork can kill u, and as if that is not enough, they expect full music quotation also. So basically yr work desk&#39;ll be piled with books and scores, and recordings... and they even expect a proper. formal manner for the bibliography... They used to fail students with so-called wrong presentation or style and we used to spend weeks attending silly summer classes just to learn how to quote or do a proper bibliography.... Oh My&#33;&#33;&#33; :blink:

    Even though modern performance of Beethoven&#39;s symphonies is very beautiful and enjoyable to listen to, these performances do not exemplify how Beethoven must have envisioned his works, as the instruments and techniques used at that time were quite different from today.
    Hmmm...sounds possible to me. But would it be too narrow a topic or too weak an example to use... to specifically focus on Beethoven&#39;s works to deliver the discerning manner of performance as the core subject...but it sounds feasible to me.
    Just remember to mention about the Mannheim school during Beethoven&#39;s time...esp. that of his earlier works. It has too much influence over how he himself envisioned his works to be, and his dynamics and rhythmic structure as a result.

    But even as I read yr thesis statement now, I&#39;m like thinking...ok...so what&#39;s yr stand or bottom line? U have to end with a sentence that states your point and sum it all in the last paragraph, right?

    That modern interpretations are a no, or yes, or?
    Or that it does, unfortunately affects the permanent and ephemeral value of classical music . Do u think that classical music will not have &#39;permanent&#39; value, if not for these technical advances , &#39;Russian&#39; school or &#39;leopold&#39; school etc. of playing through the ages?

    Unless yr doing a thesis based purely on facts.. a comparison between the methods of playing only. :huh:

    BTW, are u burning mid-night oil?

  10. #10
    Junior Member max's Avatar
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    Originally posted by DW@Sep 30 2004, 06:28 AM
    So basically yr work desk&#39;ll be piled with books and scores, and recordings... and they even expect a proper. formal manner for the bibliography... They used to fail students with so-called wrong presentation or style
    Hmmm.. just the desk... I have my floor covered with books... LOL&#33; :blink:

    Just remember to mention about the Mannheim school during Beethoven&#39;s time...esp. that of his earlier works. It has too much influence over how he himself envisioned his works to be, and his dynamics and rhythmic structure as a result.
    Thanks, I shall do that.

    But even as I read yr thesis statement now, I&#39;m like thinking...ok...so what&#39;s yr stand or bottom line?
    Modern performance of Beethoven&#39;s symphonies do not exemplify how Beethoven must have envisioned his works.

    I think that&#39;s a better stated thesis statement. I believe in leaving the reader up to decide which style they prefer. But the thesis in this case, is just there, to say, I am going to show the different stylistic differences. I don&#39;t have to prove whether one is more correct over the other. In fact to perform "early music" style on modern instruments (especially do to bowings) it sounds horrible, and vice versa on "period instruments", it sounds terrible to play with the modern style on them.

    That modern interpretations are a no, or yes
    I personally like both ways. But, if I had to pick one, personally, the "early music" style.
    BTW, are u burning mid-night oil?
    [snapback]2195[/snapback]
    yea... :unsure: Ask James, he&#39;s seen me staying up till the times that he wakes up on the other side of the globe, LOL&#33;
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    In fact to perform "early music" style on modern instruments (especially do to bowings) it sounds horrible,
    yes.. that&#39;s why the invention of the Bach bow( curved bows)...

    yea... Ask James, he&#39;s seen me staying up till the times that he wakes up on the other side of the globe, LOL&#33;
    LOL...
    What would be the first thing you wanna do after u&#39;ve submitted yr paper?
    Sleep? zzzZZZZZzzzzzz

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    Junior Member max's Avatar
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    Originally posted by DW@Sep 30 2004, 11:29 PM
    yes.. that&#39;s why the invention of the Bach bow( curved bows)...
    LOL...
    What would be the first thing you wanna do after u&#39;ve submitted yr paper?
    Sleep? zzzZZZZZzzzzzz
    [snapback]2223[/snapback]
    Why "invention"? The baroque bows came first, before the Tourte style... and I use one with the Baroque Ensemble at Penn State. We call them "Light-Sabers" because they basically weigh nothing, and in honor of Star-Wars.. Long story..

    As for sleep, I"m doing that soon, I have a really bad cold...
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    Why "invention"? The baroque bows came first, before the Tourte style... and I use one with the Baroque Ensemble at Penn State. We call them "Light-Sabers" because they basically weigh nothing, and in honor of Star-Wars.. Long story..
    Ha ha... U misunderstood me... I&#39;m not talking about the baroque bows, I&#39;m talking about the &#39;Bach&#39; bows invented by Telmanyi Emil...1892-1988.
    He came up with special Vega (arched) bows(1954) for perfection of Bach&#39;s violin works.
    Light Sabers? Wow&#33; Interesting&#33;
    Do u believe in the old remedy? Chicken soup for a flu/cold. Try it, have it hot. It really works.
    Take good care of yrself... don&#39;t overwork.

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    Junior Member max's Avatar
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    oh, I&#39;ve never heard of "Bach" bows... I&#39;ll have to check those out...

    As to the chicken soup, yea, I believe it...

    I slept pretty much all day so far...
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    ...sleep is one of the best remedies around...we get tired for a reason...listen to your body...
    <span style='color:green'><span style='font-family:Optima'>Music is what feelings sound like...Anon</span>.</span>

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