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Sammartini’s Symphony in F Major

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Most instrumental music of the Classical period pursued a three- or four-movement form with a first movement in sonata form, which expands on binary form. Some general music characteristics of a new classical style that are going to be discussed in this assignment are in terms of melody, harmony and also the form.


The focus on melody in classical style was directed to a more linear structure, in contrast to the frequent sequential expansion of the early style. In addition, periodicity was splitting up melodic flow with a series of short distinct phrases of normally two to four measures in length in order to produce antecedent and consequent phrases.

A favorite opening in the early symphonies was the hammer-like blows in unisons and octaves. Thus, Sammartini made use of the trend to compose the two bars opening of this Symphony in F Major, No. 32. Furthermore, the rest and pause were quite significant in this music. Their purposes were to create shorter phrases instead of spinning out the musical ideas. For example: the rests that were occurred in the measure 1 and 2. The small break in this situation produced a sense of straightforward, organized, linear, and unity. Other purpose of the rests and pause were to reinforce the idea of symmetry and equilibrium of the opening phrase. Other example is the big pause that occurs in the measure 24. This big pause served as the returning point to the opening theme.


The harmony motion of Classical period music was slower and simple in compare to the music of the late Baroque. Thus, this piece has only simple harmony, which is particularly the tonic chord, dominant chord, dominant seventh, and secondary dominant seventh chord.

Other characteristic of classical music’s harmony is the Alberti bass. This device divides each of the fundamental chords into a straightforward pattern of short, repeating notes that produces a sensitive chordal background, thereby setting off the melody to advantage. For example: the viola division from measure 17 to measure 19.


The idea of balance in the music was extremely important during Classical period. This excerpt is in binary form with full recapitulation of the opening tonic and closing dominant sections. The [A] section has 14 measures and begins with the tonic key, F Major until measure 5, and modulates to its dominant key, C Major. Then, the section [B] has 10 measures and begins with C Major, and ends at the dominant seventh chord of F Major (the tonic key), finally, the recapitulation is just the same as the section [A]. During classical period, a key contrast was usually implied between different sections, in order to create different of sensation to the listeners.

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