The Meyer schema, coined by Robert Gjerdingen, is a three-stage schema (musical patterns born from partimento practices) that moves from the tonic chord to the dominant chord, and then from the dominant chord back to the tonic chord, that was popular during the eighteenth century. The first measure of this excerpt from Franz Danzi's Sinfonia Concertante in Eb major, highlights the 3rd and 1st scale degrees in the melody and 1st scale degree in the bass. When the music changes chords during the next measure, the music highlights the 7th scale degree in the bass and highlights the 4th and 7th scale degrees in the melody. The music the moves back to the tonic chord with the 1st scale degree in the bass, and the 1st and 5th scale degrees in the melody. From there the music remains in the tonic key.
A secondary theme typically occurs during the exposition of a sonata form movement in a different key from the primary theme. It typically starts after a brief pause, is often highly lyrical, and beings at the dynamic piano. This excerpt, from Franz Danzi's Sinfonia Concertante in Eb major, highlights many of these key features of an eighteenth-century secondary theme. It starts in the key of the dominant, Bb major, has a dynamic marking of piano, is quite lyrical, and occurs after a pause in the music. All of these aspects mentioned, are common of the secondary themes that occur during the eighteenth century.
When at least two musical parts are performed at the same pitch and rhythm at the same time.
This excerpt includes violins, violas, basses, oboes, and horns. They begin playing polyphonically, and 7 seconds into the excerpt they play in unison.
Around mid-eighteenth Century, composers started using wind instruments in their symphonies (before only use strings instruments). The earliest wind instruments in the symphonies were oboe and horn and they usually appear in pairs (i.e. 2 oboes, 2 horns). Since it was still a try-and-error state, composers usually doubling the wind part with the strings. For example, they share the same melody so the oboe may plays exactly the same as the first violin. However, Symphony in E flat major (Them. Index 73) by Franz Xaver Richter (1709-1789) is a surprising one. It was written around 1760 and it was written for 2 oboes, 2 horns and a string orchestra. The composer used the wind instruments differently in this piece. He gave 'solo' moments to them. In the audio here, you could find that there is moments that the string orchestra rest when the wind instruments play. This writing gave a chance for the wind instruments to show their beauty instead of being covered by strings as usual. It also changed the tone color suddenly from loud strings repeated notes to elegant wind chords. In the later part of the movement, the wind instruments also create suspension in their parts, which increases the tension of the phrase. (Due to time limitation, the suspension passage cannot be shown in the audio) The audio presents the beginning of the first movement of the symphony, which is from the fast movement and it is the beginning of the whole symphony. Since the piece have not been recorded by anyone, the audio is produced by Sibelius 7 Sounds Chamber.
Symphony was a popular genre of music in the eighteenth century. It was developed from the overtures (also called 'sinfonia'), which were played at the beginning of operas. When we think of 'symphony', we always think of an orchestra consists of strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion. However, the earliest symphonies in the world were actually consists of strings only. These symphonies were usually composed before 1760. Symphony in B flat major (Them. Index 65) by Franz Xaver Richter (1709-1789) is one of the earliest symphonies. It was written for a string orchestra that consists of 2 violins, viola, and basso (most likely to be cello). Also, the composer wrote figured bass (some numbers under the score) so that basso continuo like harpsichord could be played with the string orchestra. The audio presents the beginning of the third movement of the symphony, which is the fast and the last movement of the whole symphony. Since the piece have not been recorded by anyone, the audio is produced by Sibelius 7 Sounds Chamber.
An overture is an instrumental work played before the beginning of a dramatic work. It was used to prepare the audience for the rest of the show and often used themes from later in the piece. An Italian Overture is an introduction to an opera or vocal work and has three simple sections of fast-slow-fast. Popular overtures in the eighteenth century would often be played outside of their operatic contexts in public concerts. This recording is from the beginning of a popular overture in the eighteenth from Paisiello’s overture to Il barbiere di Siviglia. The example uses flutes, oboes, bassoons, violins, viola, cello, and double bass.
Fortepiano is a dynamic marking used to denote an accent or stress in the music by suddenly being loud (forte) and then immediately soft (piano). The marking is written as “fp” directly underneath the note where it occurs. This marking appeared frequently in the eighteenth century as a more flexible system of dynamics was forming. In this example from Paisiello’s overture to Il barbiere di Siviglia, the fortepiano is heard every few seconds from the whole orchestra. This concept should not to be confused with the fortepiano, a keyboard instrument from the eighteenth century.
Ostinato is a short phrase, chord or melody that repeats continuously through a section or whole piece of music. It is generally a simple and easy to remember pattern. The name comes from the Italian word for “obstinate” because of its repetitious nature. It has been a popular musical element for centuries. In the example from Paisiello’s overture to Il barbiere di Siviglia, listen to the lower sounding string instruments for two different ostinato patterns. The first pattern is a single repeating note and the second is a melodic pattern.
'Symphony' is a new product in eighteenth Century Europe. It was developed from the overtures (also called 'sinfonia'), which were played at the beginning of operas. The first generation of the symphonies stayed closely to the movement structure of the overtures, which was fast-slow-fast. However, Johann Stamitz (1717-1757), a great composer at the time, tried to add a movement (Minuet and Trio) between the the second and the third movements. This addition of the movement influenced much on the composition of symphonies afterwards. Franz Xaver Richter (1709-1789) was one of the composers who was influenced by this. Symphony in C major (Them. Index 11) is one of his symphonies with four movements. This audio presents the beginning of the third movement of the symphony, which is a Minuet and Trio. Since the piece have not been recorded by anyone, the audio is produced by Sibelius 7 Sounds Chamber.
These nine measures from Franz Danzi's Sinfonia Concertante in Eb major contain a typical harmonic progression found in the Galant period. This excerpt is split into two equal phrase. Each starting on a tonic chord, that is prolonged with a dominant chord, that lands on the tonic again, this time in first inversion. From there, there is a quick predominant chord, followed by a cadential motion to close each phrase. This type of progression was a very common way to start and end phrases during the eighteenth century.