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Classical Period


According to Willi  Apel, "symphony", in a  broader  sense, is  a sonata for orchestra. One could say that Symphony's  modern  history begins with the first Haydn's symphony in 1759, however  there had  been similar works  with the same title during the transition from Barock  to classical period (1725-1760). Symphonies  are also  composed  today.

Origins of the term

The  greek word " symphonia " (symphonia = consonance) was used during  the Middle Ages  to distinguish it from " diaphonia " (diaphonia = dissonance). ( Casiodorus; Gebert, Scriptores eccl. de mus. sacr, i16b. Also Cassiodorus, De Artibus Ac Disciplinis Liberalium Litterarum: Caput quintum, De musica) . Later in the  Middle Ages  the  term was used to describe various instruments, especially those who could produce more than one sound  simultaneously. During the period 1155-1377  a French version of the term (symphonie)  was the name of the hurdy-gurdy. By the16th century, in England,  the term was the name of the dulcimer. In Germany from 16th to 18th century it was used for virginals and spinets
The term "symphony" in the sense of "sounding together" first appeared in the 16th and 17th century in the titles of some works of:
Giovanni Gabrieli (Sacrae symphoniae and symphoniae sacre, liber secundus: 1597, 1615) ,
Adriano Banchieri (Eclesiastiche sinfonie , dette canzoni in aria francese, per sonare, et cantare, op. 16: 1607)
Lodovico Grossi (da Viadana's Sinfonie musicali, op. 18: 1610)
Heinrich Schütz (Symphoniae sacrae, op. 6, and Symphoniarum sacrarum secunda pars , op. 10: 1629 and 1647 respectively).

During the 17th century the term was used to identify  different kinds of composition, such as opera, sonata and concerto. By the 18th century the "sinfonia  avanti l' opera ", known as "Italian overture" had a  standardized  structure: fast-slow-fast and dance-like . This form is considered to be the direct ancestor of orchestral Symphony. Another important ancestor of the symphony is a type of baroque concerto, the Ripieno concerto ( typical of this kind  is the example of Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048).

18th century

The "Italian" style of symphony became a standard three-movement form: a fast movement, a slow movement, and another fast movement. Some  of the first composers of symphony was: GB Sammartini (1700-1775), J. Stamitz (1717-1788), JC Bach (1731782), K.P.E.Bach (1735-1782). Because the Mannheim orchestra contributed greatly to the establishment of the structure of the orchestra,  the first part of Haydn's symphony no1 (score) starts with a "Mannheim crescento".

Classical period

Mozart  Haydn replaced the three-part  form with a  four-part  form by adding a place in the middle of the project. The sympony  with 4 parts prevailed in the late 18th century and most of the 19th century.
According  to Willi Apel, the classical symphony  usually  consists of  four movements
1. Allegro (sometimes with a slow introduction)
2. slow movement  (such as Adagio)
3.minuet and trio (sometimes omitted)
4.A  brisk and virtuoso finale
The first and last movements  sometimes are  written in "sonata form". The last movement occasionally is a rondo or a sonata  .
Mozart and Haydn also  perfected some of the technical elements of the symphony , such as introductory presentation of the idea and the final material with discrete manner, growth pattern, the crystallization of harmony, of transitions, orchestration etc.
Beethoven's symphonies  stand in the transition from classicism to romanticism. His  first symphony was composed  between 1799-1800

                               Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048,
                                          is an example of  Ripieno concert

                           Giovanni Battista Sammartini - Sinfonia in sol maggiore

                    Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 1 in C major, op. 21

1. Willi Apel: Harvard dictionary of music, second edition, eighth printing
2. Documenta Catholica Omnia
3. Catholic Encyclopedia
4.  Petrucci Music Library

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