Saturday, October 12, 2013

Mozart Symphony #40 in G Minor


It is interesting to see how music from such a long time ago, helps so well with learning modern day ideals. Even though I am not too apt at dissecting music put before me, I most definitely try my hardest to attempt. For my post, I chose a Mozart symphony. It is his symphony #40 in G Minor, K 550. I chose what I believe to be the first phrase of the piece, which is the first 12 seconds of the video. The instruments that are playing are only two violins and I believe a cello to accompany them. The song has a pretty steady rhythm, with a 4/4 time signature. These first twelve seconds, however short, hold a lot of information. This part of the symphony is one period, cut into two phrases. The whole period has 4 measures in total, which means that each phrase must have two. It is sometimes hard for me to tell the difference between the half cadence and the interrupted cadence. However, I am pretty positive that this has a half cadence in it, because the first phrase doesn’t end on a tonic note. Both of the phrases have the same beginning melody, which means that they are parallel to one another. Also, with the knowledge that there is a half cadence, it is known that that means it is also an interrupted period.

This particular piece relates strongly to the Enlightenment ideals. One thing that the Enlightenment focused on was balance and symmetry, which this piece most definitely has. The beginning melody is repeated in the second phrase, keeping it orderly and symmetric. This piece was definitely made for the rich people during the Enlightenment Era, not for the masses like it was more commonly made for. The most distinct feature that relates it to the Enlightenment is mostly the fact that it is balanced. Dissecting Mozart’s music helped me understand even more how to distinguish the certain cadences and periods. 


  1. I completely agree with your dissection of the piece including the periods and sentence more specifically. I also agree that this piece clearly follows all of the characteristics expected from a piece the enlightenment era, most importantly the balance and symmetry. I don't agree however that this was made solely for the rich. In this day, classical music, even that of Mozart, was spread across Europe for a whole host of orchestras to play for a multitude of people.
    -Ross Bialowas

  2. I like your song of choice, this piece is very popular. Although I would have to agree with Ross, I do not think this piece was meant for the rich. Yes this song sounds very organized, and has some strict repetitions, but it also has some enlightenment ideals like the crescendo and diminuenco.

  3. Identifying cadences is definitely super hard. Personally, I've always had trouble with it. But I agree that listening to these pieces is helping me improve! When you break it down into phrases and listen to it piece by piece, hearing the cadences becomes a little clearer when you separate them from the rest of the phrase.