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  1. #1
    Junior Member louella's Avatar
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    Hey guys, I got some questions...

    whats a movement?
    how is classical music structured?
    whats the op stand for?

  2. #2
    Senior Member jhar26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by louella View Post
    Hey guys, I got some questions...
    whats a movement?
    It's a part. For example, in a symphony that has four movements the third movement is the third part.

    how is classical music structured?
    I'll leave that one to the smart members of the forum. But it depends on the piece I'd say.

    whats the op stand for?
    Opus meaning work. For example, if you see a title like, say, "Beethoven's symphony No.3 Op.55" it means that it's the 3th of his symphonies and his 55th work in total.

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    Junior Member louella's Avatar
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    oh wow... thanks for that! so how many movements can a symphony have?

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    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by louella View Post
    oh wow... thanks for that! so how many movements can a symphony have?
    Usually four, but some composers have had as few as one or as many as thirteen or so without getting arrested by the music police.

    But most symphonies will have four movements. Most string quartets have four movements also. Usually they are in the order of 1. sort of fast, 2. slow, 3. very fast, 4. sort of fast, but not necessarily. It's the same way most rock songs have a 1st verse, a 2nd verse, a chorus, a guitar solo, a bridge, a 3rd verse, another chorus, repeat and fade, but they don't have to have all those things and they could have more.

    As to how classical music is structured - that depends on the time period and what kind of piece it is. Classical music isn't just one kind of thing. The most common or well known structure is called sonata allegro form. But I shouldn't try to answer this. I am not smarter than jhar26.

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    Junior Member Mendelssohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weston View Post
    Usually four, but some composers have had as few as one or as many as thirteen or so without getting arrested by the music police.

    It's true!Although symphonies with many movements had given them a characterization as a brilliant desguise...For example,Mendelssohn's Symphony no.2 "Lobgesang",which has 3 purely orchestral parts and 9 choral parts, is considered a "symphony-cantata"...And most of Mozart's early and middle symphonies have 3 movements.

    PS:I love this statement about the music police!!!!
    The essence of the beautiful is unity in variety.

    Felix Mendelssohn

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    Senior Member jhar26's Avatar
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    I'll try to explain sonata form in my own clumsy way (others can correct me if I'm wrong)...

    Sometimes (but by no means always) there's a slow introduction....

    Then we get going with.....

    -1 First theme (meaning tune) in the home key
    -2 Second theme in a different key
    The above two are called the exposition

    -3 The development section

    -4 Recapitulation (reprise of the exposition)

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    Junior Member Mendelssohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhar26 View Post
    I'll try to explain sonata form in my own clumsy way (others can correct me if I'm wrong)...

    Sometimes (but by no means always) there's a slow introduction....

    Then we get going with.....

    -1 First theme (meaning tune) in the home key
    -2 Second theme in a different key
    The above two are called the exposition

    -3 The development section

    -4 Recapitulation (reprise of the exposition)
    To these 4 I would like to add a 5th:
    Coda
    As the introduction,it is not one of the main parts of the sonata form, but almost every piece in this form has a (whether brief or long and elaborate) coda...And coda is not very obvious or long in piano sonatas as it is in symphonic works that follow a sonata form (that is my own opinion).
    The essence of the beautiful is unity in variety.

    Felix Mendelssohn

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhar26 View Post
    I'll try to explain sonata form in my own clumsy way (others can correct me if I'm wrong)...

    Sometimes (but by no means always) there's a slow introduction....

    Then we get going with.....

    -1 First theme (meaning tune) in the home key
    -2 Second theme in a different key
    The above two are called the exposition

    -3 The development section

    -4 Recapitulation (reprise of the exposition)
    ... but of course, the essence of sonata form is that it uses a small amount of basic material and develops it in such a way that a large-scale work is produced. There are other forms, too. There is A-B-A form (sometimes known as binary form), which is used for small things like songs. Rondo form, which is A-B-A-C-A, and also variation form where a basic theme is subjected to lots of changes. Sometimes a rondo or a set of variations can be used as one of the movements of a sonata or symphony.

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    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhar26 View Post
    -3 The development section
    I would just like to add here that the development section is where the themes get really messed with - that is, the keys changed, the themes broken up into smaller parts and mixed in different ways - sort of an 18th century version of a mash up.

    This is where it gets really fun.

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    Senior Member BuddhaBandit's Avatar
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    I'll add some common forms for the other three symphonic movements:

    The Second Movement, usually an adagio (slow movement), is often in ternary form, or "ABA". The letters refer to sections; i.e., in ternary form, there are two similar sections bracketing a contrasting middle section.

    The Third Movement, is usually a scherzo (quick, dance-like movement), which is also usually in a modified ternary form. The "A" section is a minuet, or "waltz", and he "B" section is a trio, which is like a minuet except with fewer instruments. The minuet then returns in the final "A" section.

    The Fourth Movement, or Finale, is usually in one of two forms: a rondo, or a theme and variations. The rondo uses an "ABACADA" form; i.e., there is a main theme, followed by a contrasting theme, followed by the main theme, followed by a different contrasting theme, etc. Theme and variations starts with a main theme and then varies it in different ways as the movement progresses.

    I hope this helps. Remember, these are only very rough generalizations. Many symphonies use cobinations of these forms, switch the order of movements, or disregard these forms completely. As the symphony has developed since the Classical era, it has strayed farther and farther from these "rules".

    You should, if you're interested, listen to some Mozart and Haydn symphonies to get a basic idea of what each of these forms "sounds" like.
    Take a look at the Bandit's blog, Americana Avenue.

  11. #11
    Junior Member louella's Avatar
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    thanks for the explanations, its all really interesting. But is a sonata the same thing as a symphony? And what happens if say you change the form into something else, would that still classify it as a sonata or would that be just something completely different?

  12. #12
    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by louella View Post
    thanks for the explanations, its all really interesting. But is a sonata the same thing as a symphony? And what happens if say you change the form into something else, would that still classify it as a sonata or would that be just something completely different?
    ??? I never realized what complicated clutter we have in our heads until we start trying to explain it.

    Maybe this will clarify. Sonata form (sometimes called sonata allegro form) is also sometimes called first movement form. It is the most common structure of first movements in symphonies, string quartets, concertos - and yes sonatas too.

    A sonata is usually a 3 to 4 movement piece for piano by itself, or for piano and one other instrument like a flute, violin, or clarinet, at least from the classic period to the present. A symphony is (usually) a 4 movment work for an entrire orchestra. So the two are not the same thing. They both probably use the same kind of structure for their first movements.

    But none of this is written in a rule book somewhere. If a composer doesn't want to use sonata form in a sonata or a symphony, they are still sonatas and symphonies if the composer says they are.

    Maybe this page from Wikipedia can expain it better than I can:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonata_form

    I am just a fan, not a scholar -- though I probably would have really liked being a teacher of some kind. You should not trust my understanding of it without reservation.

  13. #13
    Junior Member louella's Avatar
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    thanks for clearing that up Weston. Makes more sense now.. i got lost when we jumped from Symphonies to Sonatas. cheers

  14. #14
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    whats a movement?
    A movement is the final act of digestion by which organisms eliminate solid, semisolid or liquid waste material (feces) from the digestive tract via the anus.

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