”Music is for everyone.” – Zoltán Kodály
The symphonies’ analysis, introduction, explanation is not done in a scientific way; it is primarily suggested for younger people using the computer, and for music lovers.
One of the outstanding chapters of musical history is classical music, which lasted from Bach’s death to Beethoven’s death, as in from 1750 to 1827; this is 77 years.
In this chapter the crown is worn by the “Vienna classical” period, from the birth of Beethoven, 1770 till 1800; this is 30 years altogether.
The preceding era of musical history, the Baroque music was “blooming” since 1580 to 1750 (the death of J. S. Bach). This is 170 years.
The division of the classical era below is also known:
Ø a/ early period – Gluck and contemporaries; the Mannheim school,
Ø b/ peak period – Haydn, Mozart and contemporaries,
Ø c/ late period – Beethoven and contemporaries.
The center of musical life is Vienna, where the names and works of three composers rise higher and higher: Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. All three of them speak the same musical language, and among them Beethoven’s art and music stands the closest to our world, to life itself.
Many are familiar with the Ode to Joy sounding in the IXth symphony, the hymn of the European Union, not only in Europe, but in many other countries of the world. But two hundred years after this era, do we know, do we understand Beethoven’s symphonies? Can we evaluate the greatness of these extraordinary musical pieces?
I tried to answer these questions with the help of my analytical method, selections from semiotics, structuralism, informatics, and communication, and other documents, sections within the Selection page.
The two hundred years that had passed since the composition of these symphonies prove even more that time has no power over these musical pieces. Their value is “everlasting”, it does not fade. In fact, they shine even brighter. Just as the works of Homer, Shakespeare, Michalengelo, Goethe. (The list cannot be complete…) It’s worth to learn about them!
All branches of science and art use many different technical terms, and music is no exception. There are several special musical terms; many of them are of foreign origin, mainly Italian. Sometimes it may prove difficult to understand these terms in our own language as well.
During the analysis, words
that may require further explanation are colored blue.
Clicking on the word the you can jump to its
explanation in the index at the end of each page.
informatics lat – the theory and practical use of converting data and text into electronical symbols /information/, and their structure, storage, organization and processing
information lat 1. instruction, news 2. data 3., the subject of speech
4. electronically forwarded signal « vissza
communication lat – 1. telling news 2. providing or
exchanging information with a suitable device or signal-system (language, media,
3. rare statement 4. relation, connection, contact « vissza
Music – communication - understanding
The two extremes of understanding:
o total understanding – including aesthetic experience – a person who “understands” music, musical language (can read sheets of notes), plays on an instrument, well-versed in the world of art, music, aesthetics etc.;
o there is no understanding, if the person does not know musical language, does not play on any instruments, is not interested in classical music etc.
Statement: while the symbol system of everyday speech is static, stable, artistic symbol systems – such as musical language – change, evolve within a short period of time /sometimes even regress/ according to tradition and the dialectics of innovation, thus they are instable, which makes understanding difficult. Today 9 out of 10 composers don’t understand each other! « vissza
structure lat – construct: the base notion of modern sciences, philosophy and art theory; it derives from the latin word struere (to build). The meaning of the word have widened over the centuries. Anatomy: the place of different organs. Linguistics: the place of words within speech/writing.
During its evolution the word structure was used to indicate the whole, part of the whole, and finally the relation between the parts.
The case is similar in classical music as well. The first movement of a symphony, as a whole, can be further divided into four parts: exposition-elaboration-reexposition-coda, of which the exposition is made of further, smaller sections.
In my analytic method the letters, numbers, and other symbols used indicate musical sections, parts, with the help of which the musical structure becomes visible for our eyes.
See more at the analysis of each movement, and in the Selections (on the page “Semiotics”)! « vissza
See more on the PowerPoint presentations! « vissza
Before studying each symphony „”I ask you and suggest” that you read the Musical knowledge, Workshop secrets, and Studies of form pages, as well as listening to the musical examples. They will promote understanding.
It is important and essential to become acquainted with the analysis method, which was made with the help of semiotics /science of signs/. On the Selections page, under the same keyword the necessary knowledge may be obtained, as well as some interesting information. I present you the gist of the method in a PowerPoint presentation as well, which you can find on the Presentation page!
If the above suggested knowledge has been gained, the symphonies can follow.
The analysis of each symphony is found on a separate page (see menu on the left). All of them contain further explanation and information. It can be of help if you know what musical instrument(s) each musical section (themes, transitions, the beginning of epilogues etc.) is played on. The names of instruments are highlighted with brown in the text.
The PowerPoint presentations contain minimal information and music.
I advise that you use the website and the downloadable presentationas together!
It is important and suggested, that you begin the study of the symphonies with the Vi. symphony, taking its movements in the following order:
IV. – II. – III. – V. – I.
On the page, the analysis is done in this order, as opposed to the presentation, in which the movements are discussed in successive order.
Then you may continue with the VIII. symphony, then symphonies in the following order: V., II., I., IV.; keep the III., VII. and IX. symphonies for later.
In case a part is difficult to understand, try listening it several times!
The information on the Selections page serves as help in understanding the music.
If something is unknown to you, or if you are interested in something, you can always look it up on the internet!
(And if you have no internet access, I hope you have a good friend.)
Finally, I suggest reading books regarding aesthetics, searching in the Aesthetic Lexicon, and perhaps reading books about the aesthetics of music later.
Because we cannot discuss arts without some knowledge of aesthetics.
Music is not only the most abstract form of art, but it requires the most time from its listeners. The webpage contains only a small portion of information, this is why I would like to ask my “viewers” to look up and read about things that need clarification.
During the analysis of symphonies, to help create the atmosphere, or to induce thoughts and images I added shorter-longer explanations, opinions. It isn’t necessary to agree with them!
The diamond from the depths of a mine is valuable in its unaffectedness, but only gains its true beauty, brilliant shine and colorful lights when its sides are patiently polished.
Continuously raising the level of our education is quite similar. It requires to be “polished” patiently and with care. It requires to be developed and expanded, because no one can become someone well-educated, or with a wide intellectual horizon within a single day; and some wisdom can only be gained through experience.
Only regular and patient work bears fruit. “Dies diem docet.” – the Romans said. A day learns from the other. In a looser translation: We become more experienced each day.
There can be no obstacle before a self-educator. The so often used phrase “I don’t have time” is in fact denial without argument, self-justification, a representation of a weak will – as you like it. It does not exempt you from the challenges of life. It must be learned, obtained, and made part of our lives how to spend our time in a useful, productive way.
Many people read on trains, standing on the escalator (is that too much?), in the waiting room of a dentist. Self-education means watching less television, and not feeling sorry for a few hours spent from our yearly leave. During the Hungarian change of regime, a 50-year old manager in the hospital bed – before and after his surgery – was learning German… Well yes! Self-education = self-torture? No! There is much more to it! Education, learning is a lifelong duty! – as we hear from the European Union so often.
the biggest self-educators were:
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778). He did not attend school, yet he is still believed to be one of the greatest thinkers of the modern age. Few know and understand the depths of his thoughts.
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). The Italian architect, sculptor, painter, writer, naturalist was the greatest polyhistor who ever lived on Earth. A physicist and mathematician; hydro-technician, who came up with the theory of the Suez-Canal; he used the + and – symbols in mathematics for the first time; he was also interested in anatomy etc.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). One of music’s greatest figures.
And anonymously millions of people; self-educators. It is without doubt, that the before mentioned had natural, extraordinary talent, but without self-education they would never become world-famous, they could never accomplish their mission.
The question presents itself:
Does it worth it? What do we gain by all this?
Much. The more we expand our knowledge, the more we educate ourselves, the more we gain: our thoughts become richer, our horizon expands, our humanity deepens. With these thoughts I finish what I had to say for everyone, who still has the desire for more, for better, for the ever nobler.