I. symphony – C-major, opus 21


I. movement

Adagio, 4/4 – Allegro con brio 2/2 - sonata form


I. Exposition


The music of the I. movement is preceded by a short introductory section (Adagio); its role is to prepare the start of the movement, the Allegro.


The first theme is light and fluent, it is repeated then concluded from one of its motifs.


The music of the transitional part is extremely energetic, and it could very well be an independent theme. When it is concluded, it is immediately followed by


the second theme, which is light and playful; first played by the aerophones, then the string instruments; The theme starts again, and is concluded from its material.


The next transition has forte dynamics, followed by the minor version of the second theme in bass.


Then an energetic transition follows in fortissimo, after which comes the (almost unnoticed) closing theme. The next, downward moving short transition prepares the repetition of the exposition.


According to the rules of the sonata form, the so called theme introductory line is repeated.



II. Elaboration

The elaboration can be divided into three short sections.

In each sections we hear the arrangement of some motifs from the first and second.


1./ In the first section, the combination of the motifs of the first and second theme form a short phrase, which is concluded by a chord, then repeated twice. (The staccato-motif of the first theme, and the so called syncoped-motif from the second theme forms the phrase.) staccato - syncope

From this point on the music continues in minor tonality, and we hear one of the motifs from the first theme repeated three times.


2./ In the short second section a motif is repeated four times.


3./ In the third section the beginning motif of the first theme is in arrangement and is repeated. Meanwhile the dynamics reach into fortissimo – this is the climax of the movement – then after three powerful orchestral chords, the notes of the slow, downward moving transition signals the coming of the reexposition.


III. Reexposition


In the reprise the first theme is the most powerful, played by the whole orchestra. It is repeated, and then followed by a short elaboration section. The transition between the first and second theme is skipped, while after the beginning of the second theme, the musical material is identical with the material of the exposition.


IV. Coda


The coda can be divided into two sections, where the motifs play a major role. Observe the PowerPoint presentation!



II. movement

Andante cantabile con moto 3/8 – sonataform


I. Exposition


The first theme is elevated to the classical music style, a minuet that resembles dancing in fugato treatment.  


The second theme is similar to the first, and it is repeated in variations. Then the consequent clause (consequent clause) follows, which can be seen as a conclusion.


The rhythm pattern played on the kettledrums gives the root note of the closing theme.


The exposition is closed by the step of fourth of the first theme ( 1-4 ). (This is the first two notes of the melody. The step of fourth, then, is a motif consisting of two sounds; in the solfege system: do-fa; fourth – in music it is the fourth note from the root note; in C-major: c-d-e-f, the fourth note is f.- so: c-f.)

According to the rules of the sonataform, the introductory line of the exposition is repeated.



II. Elaboration


The elaboration section is short, extremely simple, but still “classical”. After the initial accords we hear the repetitions of the “fourth-motif”. The section is supported by the rhythmic pulse of the string instruments and the bassoon, which is real poetic.

The continuation is similar. The pulsing rhythm is now played by the kettledrums. At the end of the elaboration section, the dynamics reach a smaller climax.


III. Reexposition


The first theme comes with a counterpoint on cello, then on string instruments. After this point everything happens concordant with the exposition.


IV. Coda


First the first theme can be heard (this time not in fugato), then we hear one of the motifs of the theme, followed by the conclusion of both the motif and the theme. Then the music of the elaboration section begins again, but after the sounds of the horn, the coda as well as the movement is concluded.



III. movement: Menuetto

Allegro molto e vivace, 3/4

ABA – ternary form.


A/ According to the musical practice of the age, in this movement there should be a minuet present, but it is only a minuet in its name, since Beethoven in fact composed a “modern scherzo”.


Its tempo is extremely dynamic. Its melodic line is in fact a scalar figure. It is repeated, then the music continues with the shifts of motifs, rhythm, and harmony.

The use of flowing charts is not possible.       


B/ Trio


The trio, according to its quality, is the complement of the minuet; its music sounds “on one tone”. Its rhythm is similar to the minuet’s. The orchestration is brilliant and artistic.

Criticism of the era wrote: „The trio’s sweet sounds are beyond description.”




A/ The minuet is repeated without alternation.     


While listening to the movement, pay attention


Ø to the rhythmic and dynamic shifts,

Ø to the beauty of the orchestral sound, the tone shifts,

Ø to the motivic details created from the melody.


Furthermore, pay attention to Beethoven’s musical ideas, his inventive magic in creating richness from simplicity.

In this case we need not follow the flowing chart, or divert our thoughts towards the musical process. We should only enjoy and take delight in the music.

Observe the PowerPoint presentation!



IV. movement

Finale: Adagio – Allegro molto e vivace, 2/4

Sonata form


The movement’s music can be described with words such as extreme, brilliant joy, positive outlook on life; Beethoven is at the beginning of his composer career. The music is soaring, wallowing, elegant; it has no deep message, which was perfect for the aristocratic saloon’s milieu.


The movement is preceded by a short, introductory music in slow tempo, this is the Adagio, and its role is to prepare the movement. The music is somewhat solemn, ceremonial. The movement’s music and the mood of its first theme is in contrast with the Adagio: the tempo is fast and lively.


I. Exposition


The mood of the introductory music creates expectation, is serious and ceremonial, however, the melody of the entering first theme is nimble, lively, playful, vigorous and joyful. Its melody is an upward moving scale-motif, /the dominant motif of the whole movement/; and after it ends it is concluded by its musical material. 


The musical material of the transition section is again determined by the scale-motif; it first moves downward, then upward twice played on low toned string instruments.  


The mood of the second theme is fluent, playful, upward swinging. One of the motifs in the melody is sequentially developed, with increasing dynamics.


This is followed by the closing theme (a short motif consisting of three notes), which can be heard four times by turns in piano and forte volume.



II. Elaboration


The elaboration is short, in which again the scale-motif has the main role. The mood is joyous and playful throughout. The motif is first played on violins, it is repeated several times, then without any transition the orchestra switches to fortissimo, and then the motivic play continues. Beethoven uses the motif in quick shifts on the musical instruments and groups of instruments just like high spirits shift from one member to the other among merry folk. (Notice, that the melody of the scale-figure is different from the melody of the scale-motif; their sign is also different!)


After gradual amplification we reach the climax of the elaboration. This is followed by the beginning of the first theme several times – just like at the end of the exposition –, and after a short transition we hear the reexposition.



III. Reexposition


A shorter version of the reexposition (this concerns the section after the first theme) repeats the exposition. We can see the difference when observing and comparing the lines of the flowing charts. Beethoven at the end of the reexposition uses repeated dissonant hold, then begins the first theme five times before the coda begins. Observe the PowerPoint presentation!



IV. Coda


In the beginning of the coda the first theme can be heard, followed by the repetition of the scale-motif, which reaches fortissimo. Then we hear a new motif, the coda-motif, the melody of which is like a march. After it is repeated, it is accompanied by the scale-motif, then the movement – and the symphony – reaches its end through energetic forte concluding accords.


Dear Listener!

After listening to the movement several times and getting acquainted with the detailed analysis, we do not need to follow the flow chart anymore; we can safely distinguish through our hearing each musical theme, transition, arrangement etc.


The musical themes are cheerful, entertaining, the motivic play sounds fluently, but be aware, that classical music cannot be listened to as background music!! We shouldn’t only pay attention, we must also focus! – otherwise we lose track of the flow of the music.


I am sure that this music – no matter how hard a day we had –, will make us feel better and forget our grief and annoyance in life; it helps us to get away from it all.


Romain Rolland (1866-1944) French novelist, essayist, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1915, a professor of the History of Music at the Sorbonne, wrote the following in his novel Vie de Beethoven:


“Beethoven, who lived alone and unhappy in Wien,

 retreats to the memory of his homeland, and his feelings of that time

 echo inside his soul, and in this symphony.”






adagio italian – (to be performed) real slowly; tempo regulation; the slow movement of symphonies, sonatas, chamber music pieces is generally called adagio (the adagio is usually the 2. movement, or rarely the 3. movement; a piece (movement) of slow, intimate mood < back


chromaticism greek-latin – enrichment; a twelve degree tonal system that inserts altered half notes into whole notes. Think about the keys of a piano: if from the note c, we reach the next c note by tapping each white key, then we played the C-major scale; if we tap the black keys as well, either downward or upward, then we can enrich the scale; it was also used in antiquity and was favored in the madrigal era: it expresses heightened emotions; Mozart used it frequently, Beethoven in moderation < back


pathetic greek-latin – 1. full with impetuous emotions; passionate 2. grand, majestic, soaring 3. the aesthetic dictionary refers to the word pathos in connection with pathetic (in greek: pathos), which means: suffering – aesthetic quality (Among the selections you may read more about this in: Introduction to aesthetics. More in the Aesthetic Dictionary!) 4. The Pathetique – Tchaikovsky, Pjotr Iljics (1840-1893) A generally accepted adjective referring to his symphony that was composed in b-minor in 1893. < back


period greek-latin – section; period, era 2. repeating, returning period 3. music: a unit consisting of several (at least two) musical phrases; a.m. „körfutás”, körmondat,??? a musical section generally consisting of 8 metres, whch is a closed unit in itself (Think about the first line of the Hungarian folk song that we saw in the examples: “A csitári hegyek alatt régen leesett a hó,”) < back


staccato italian – detached, as in shortened; it refers to the precise separation of specific notes; its opposite is legato (bound), where the notes must be played continuously and without interruption < back


syncope greek-latin(a.m. „elmetszés”, „szétvágás”)??? the linking of the unaccented member of the given meter with the accented member of the following meter, which involves stress displacement and a metrical and dynamical articulation different than usual; its usage brings about tension in music, and uneasiness among the audience  < back 


consequent clause – usually composed from a musical theme or from one motif of the musical theme; it is a motivic material, a melody that concludes the theme < back