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Thread: Beethoven's 7th Symphony, 2nd movement

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    Default Beethoven's 7th Symphony, 2nd movement

    I am more familiar with the violin than the brass and woodwinds, so please do not be too technical here!

    1. I am unclear how the A minor tonality is established with the initial chord. The bassoons play A and C. The clarinets and oboes also play C. After transposing, what does the horn in E actually play?

    2. The second subject is in A major. The bassoons and clarinets carry the melody. Yet the clarinets do not play any F, C, or G sharps. How does that create the contrast with A minor?

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    Senior Member Taplow's Avatar
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    Based on my reading of the score:

    1. The horn in E is playing a C as scored, but this sounds an E, which is the dominant of the A-minor scale.

    2. The symphony is scored for clarinets in A. This means they sound a minor third lower than written. If you look at the first bar of the second theme, the clarinets are playing what appears to be a C major descending triad/arpeggio. Transpose this a minor third and you get an A major descending triad/arpeggio. Where the E natural is written, it sounds a C#. Likewise, where an A is written it sounds F#, and a written B sounds G#. So the clarinets are actually playing F, C, and G sharps.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Taplow; Mar-03-2018 at 13:21.

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    Senior Member Olias's Avatar
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    Also the first chord is not in root position, its inverted. I read somewhere (sorry can't remember where) that Beethoven used the inversion to make the chord sound more weak and pitiful, thereby setting the mood for the movement.

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    Thank you to both of you. That was very helpful.

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