Weberns Contribution To The Symphony

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Symphonie no.1 Opus 21 By Anton Webern in 1928 was a prime example of 20th century symphony. Webern’s contribution to 20th century music set the standard for 20th century music. The mathematics and calculation created a somewhat elitist style of music with much more dimension than to the untrained eye. Webern redefined the way in which the classic ‘symphony’ was viewed. For him a ‘symphony’ was defined as being a sounding together of instruments. Webern’s Symphony is made up of 2 movements; The first movement is Ruhig Schreitend or moving quietly and is loosely in sonata form. The second movement is in theme of variation made up of 1 theme and 7 variations and coda. Movement 2’s underlying process is perpetual variation. It reaches this continual variation by transformation of small motifs through changes in pitch, rhythm and tone colour. The structure and content of the themes is very symmetrical using tone rows, based upon the chromatic scale. Themes aren’t in the conventional sense but are continually changing shapes brought about by the reassembling of motifs in new combinations. There is a constant cannon throughout except for the theme. These tone rows use the 12 notes of the chromatic scale. In this notes can only be used once thus creating the mathematics of the piece. In the Second movement the theme is ‘very calming,’ it uses all instrument but strings and is very symmetrical in rhythm, tone colour and dynamics. Variation 1 is ‘livelier’, uses only strings. It is symmetrical in dynamics as all dynamics are mirrored. Also, there are 2 cannons in mirror inversion. Variation 2 contains, alternating tone rows which overlap and is an‘even more lively’ variation than the previous variation 1. Variation 3 Is set as ‘more moderately ‘ being a cannon that never ends. It is a mirror cannon so much so that it is referred to as being a palindrome (The same
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