Monthly Archives: September 2014

Latest Obsession: Mozart’s 40th Symphony and Sonata Form

In the last week or so, I’ve been drawn to Mozart’s 40th. I have a student playing a piano reduction of the First Movement’s main theme, I’ve been feeling it’s quiet and raging emotions even without listening to it, and I’ve been teaching Sonata Form (the form of at least the First Movement) to other students who have pieces in that form and style.

So, before you get bored with my music theory nerdiness, go to Google, YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, or whatever to find a recording of Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 and listen to it. Just the first movement is fine if you’re short on time, but the whole thing is worth your while. It is nicknamed Mozart’s “Great” Symphony, for that reason. The modulations (changes of keys) and orchestration (which instruments play what where) are particularly inspiring to me right now in the compositional realm.

Then after you listen to it, you can look at the picture below and be slightly less bewildered…maybe. This is what I’m using to show my students what Sonata Form is and also how to roughly diagram a piece of music.

And I love my new neon dry erase markers and my old mirror a little too much. I’ll try to check in again soon.

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