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Analysis of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 in Terms of Sonata Form

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Sonata form represents a large-scale structure that can be traced back to many works done in early classical works back in the 18th century up to the late 19th-century romantic period. Sonata forms are easily located in almost every first movement on works of Beethoven, Haydn, and Mozart. Normally, the development of sonata form is done from a tonal path of piece level that involves a P (primary thematic zone and then a contrasting S (secondary thematic zone). It is made up of an exposition, a development (D), and themes S and P recapitulation. An exposition which is in most cases repeated, has its main tonality consisting of thematic tone P (labeled as I) , and an auxiliary tonality consisted in thematic zone S (usually and not always in the dominant I tonality, denoted as V). Tonal instability is what characterizes development (D), where themes in existence are transformed, followed by possible introduction of new themes, concluded by a retransition (R), which is major returns it to the primary tonality. Themes P and S recapitulation, include added elements throughout the entire development in both tonic tonality. This essay seeks to look at sonata form musical description and especially Symphony no. 1 of Beethoven denoted as an example.

Sonata Forms

It represents a form of modulation that allows for the transition from the tonic to a key that is related. The movement to the second section majorly depends on the rapid modulation, normally done in a series with the aim of making the tonic return more dramatic and strong as possible by bringing in tonic contrast and instability of modulation that is done rapidly. There is additional dissonant created in the process of modulating numerous keys, and which are in most cases chromatic, and which are majorly subject to the primary composition outline. A common way of ensuring that a sonata exposition has a dominating key area is to have the composer overshoot his or her mark, moving from the dominant to the most dominant and so developing chromatic chords.

In Symphony No.1 by Beethoven, as the music swims through divergent themes, their too seems to be harmonic ambiguity that leads to increased convergence when it comes to the recapitulation. It bears with it a full instrumental and thematic coverage, and the crescendo movement towards fortissimo appears to be dynamic in domination. The major chords are then characterized by tonic keys, characterized by supertonic and subdominant. The 1st theme alternates with increasing triads and then decreasing arpeggios of a finishing C major.


The analysis of music and its related large scale structures that include sonata forms needs the ability to bring together a number of analytical elements of tone variation to bring it a coherent analysis.

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Analysis Of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 In Terms Of Sonata Form. (2021, August 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 7, 2022, from
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