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Similarities between Symphony no. 40 and Beethovens 5th

Which of these symphonies do you like better?  

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  1. 1. Which symphony do you like better?

    • Symphony no. 40 by Mozart
      2
    • Symphony no. 5 by Beethoven
      0


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So if you don't know already, here are my 2 favorite all time symphonies:

Beethoven's 5th

Symphony no. 40

And I have noticed some similarities between these 2 symphonies. And it isn't just that they are both in minor keys with flats. There is a lot more to the similarities than that. These 2 symphonies are like cousins, obviously related in some aspects but completely different in others. Here, I will in each category start with Symphony no. 40 and then show how that is similar to Beethoven's 5th.

Motivic Development

So here is the motif from Symphony no. 40:

2049874685_Symphony40motif-1.png.612ed3c15493813bdd693300873d69b9.png

There is Mozart's motif. Now here is the symphony with the motif highlighted:

Symphony no 40 with motif highlights.pdf

As you can see, pretty much all of the first movement is based on that 1 little motif. But it isn't really used anywhere else in Mozart's Symphony no. 40.

Beethoven takes this to the next level with his fifth symphony. Here is the motif:

motif1.png

The very famous Fate Motif. It is probably the most famous motif that exists. It has been used for a long time after Beethoven as either an homage to Beethoven(even I use it this way) or as a parody of Beethoven's 5th. Here is how much Beethoven uses it so that you can see how similar and different it is to Mozart's motif in terms of frequency:

Fate Motif Highlights.pdf

As you can see here, every movement has a significant amount based on the Fate Motif, but especially the first movement and finale. I might have missed some instances of the Fate Motif but most of those were scalar instances where it isn't all that obvious that it is rhythmically based on the Fate Motif.

Dissonance Treatment

This is another similarity between the 2 symphonies. They both have instances where the dissonance is not resolved right away but is instead a rearticulated suspension, building up tension until finally a huge sign of relief as it resolves. Mozart only rearticulates the dissonance a few times. Beethoven rearticulates the dissonance a lot more. Mozart's dissonance also isn't as tense as Beethoven's dissonance even if it is played once.

The Obvious Similarities

They are both in a minor key with flats. Mozart's has fewer flats which leads to less tension. Beethoven's has more flats which leads to more tension. Also, the beginning theme of the Scherzo of Beethoven's 5th is directly taken from Symphony no. 40's second movement. Both begin with what is called a Manhiem rocket. Beethoven's is left unharmonized which is the major difference from Mozart. The orchestra is almost exactly the same but Beethoven added piccolo, trombone, and contrabassoon parts to his finale.

Here are videos of the 2 symphonies:

Are there any similarities that I missed between these 2 symphonies? And does Mozart's motif appear in movements besides the first movement?

PDF

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I see this as a nice brief begin of a bigger analysis.
The analysis is pretty shallow. I suggest you study both pieces and then come up with more notes.

That is a good exercise.

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On 6/2/2019 at 11:56 PM, caters said:

Motivic Development

So here is the motif from Symphony no. 40:

2049874685_Symphony40motif-1.png.612ed3c15493813bdd693300873d69b9.png

Fate Motif Highlights

 

Where do you have that Mozart motif example? It's not at all the notes that are used.

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7 hours ago, bryla said:

Where do you have that Mozart motif example? It's not at all the notes that are used.

 

I got it by searching Symphony no. 40 motif on google images. And I figured that finding the rhythmic motif would be more important. And the fact that it has the same melodic shape as what Mozart actually uses just reinforces that despite it being the wrong notes, it is clearly the motif, rhythmically and melodically, that Mozart uses.

There was another image that showed the motif as it is used in Symphony no. 40 but it was showing like the entire first phrase and I was only needing an image of the motif itself.

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