There are many similarities between Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C Minor and Mozart’s Symphony no. 40 in G Minor. For example, both works have extremely recognizable motives. These works have been played on commercials, in advertising, and in places most people can’t even pinpoint. One of the main reasons is that these works carry strong motives that reoccur both rhythmically and melodically throughout the pieces. The opening four notes to Beethoven’s work may possibly be the most recognizable in all of music history. Throughout this entire piece, you hear the repetition and imitative polyphony of these four notes resounding throughout every section. The French horns bellow this motive during the development section, which creates a grandiose feeling into the next section. Mozart is not quite as demanding in his use of these motives, but rhythmically speaking it is very present. The repeating rhythm of two eighth notes and a stressed quarter note can be heard all throughout.
They both use harmonic minor to ensure a stronger V to I resolution. Without this “raised” note, the progression is just not as convincing. They both depict the new style of Classical music by employing more dynamics; the long crescendos in the building string lines create a more dramatic effect when reaching the climax of the phrase. Where as they both use the V to I cadence for a driving effect, Beethoven uses the diminished chord very effectively in some of his abrupt stops. The listener is left totally in suspense as to what will come next.
Beethoven’s use of a motive is unfailing. Almost every phrase is an answer or imitation either directly reciprocating the previous melody or rhythm in every orchestral section. This creates more of a sense of urgency to get to the end of the lines. He also uses his orchestra a bit more effectively. From the opening sequence of notes bowed with severity in the low octaves of the stringed instruments, the listener is left with a feeling of...
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