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Beethoven Beethoven's Ninth Symphony


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Glossary

Binary Form
A two-part form in which each part repeats immediately after its first statement. The trio to the scherzo in the third movement of Beethoven's Ninth uses a binary form.
Closing Area
The phase of the Exposition or Recapitulation that rounds out these sections with a series of closing themes.
Coda
The Coda is a series of emphatic cadences that create a sense of finality in the movement. In Beethoven's Ninth, Coda's also act as "Second Developments" whose lengths sometimes rival or even exceed the other sections.
Da Capo
Meaning "to the head", it indicates a return to the themes of the beginning of a movement.
Development
The Development is the most unstable section in the sonata form, expressing the greatest degree of conflict in the theme. It's purpose is to elaborate or develop the material from the Exposition. This development frequently involves fragmentation, in which the Exposition theme is broken down into smaller units for elaboration.
Diminution
The embellishment of a theme by substituting several notes for what had earlier been a single note.
Exposition
The Exposition introduces the principal themes of the movement and sets up the long-range harmonic conflicts. The exposition consists of four phases: the primary area, the transition, the secondary area, and the closing area.
Fragmentation
The process by which a theme is broken into smaller units for separate elaboration. Fragmenation is basic to creating conflict and instability in the Development section.
Movement
The designation given to each of the stand-alone units in a classical symphony.
Primary Area
The first phase of the Exposition, establishing the tonic key using one or more themes
Recapitulation
The Recapitulation provides symmetry for the movement as it resolves the harmonic conflicts existing between the Exposition and the Development. The Exposition material is restated but usually in different tonic key.
Retransition
The passage in the sonata form that prepares the return to the recapitulation. Retransitions often create a sense of anticipation.
Ritornello
A recurring section that frames a movement. In the fourth movement of Beethoven's Ninth, an opening ritornello is used to introduce the main themes.
Scherzo
A rapid dance-like movement usually found as the third movement of a symphony or chamber work.
Secondary Area
The phase in the sonata form that introduces the contrasting or secondary key of the movement using one or more themes.
Symphony
Along with the concerto, the most prestigious form of public instrumental music in Beethoven's era.
Transition
The phase in the Exposition of a sonata form that makes a modulation from a primary to a secondary key.
Trio
The contrasting middle section in a dance-like movement such as a scherzo. Originally indicating a reduction to three voices, a trio in Beethoven's time could use any number of voices and was simply a contrasting middle section.