K. 550 (Mozart's Symphony no. 40, mvt 1) William Wieland

Meter — more than the time signature

Without looking at the sheet music, listen to the opening of this movement. Tap the beat.

Listen from the beginning once more and try conducting. Is it in two or four? Does the symphony begin with an upbeat or a downbeat?

Now that you have chosen a pulse and a beat pattern, look at the score. Does your conducting match the music? (Mine does not.) We will discuss this in class.

Harmonic Rhythm — the rhythm of the chord changes

Much music has a very simple and regular harmonic rhythm. Autumn Leaves, for example, features one chord per bar with a few exceptions. The harmonic rhythm is mostly whole notes except when tonic is reached—several G minor chords last 2 bars—or the approach to the end of the piece where chords last only a half note.

Mozart uses more variety in Symphony no. 40. Initially, the harmonic rhythm of the first movement is very slow. The first 4 bars prolong only one chord, the tonic triad. Measures 5 and 6 feature a ii half-diminished seventh chord and bars 7 and 8 are a dominant seventh chord followed by a tonic triad in bar 9. In other words, only 3 very common chords appear in the first 9 measures. Please look at bars 48 and 49. Remembering that fifths may be omitted in triads, how many chords do you find? Please identify them. What type of progression is this? Describe the melody in these bars.

If you have time, look at measures 56, 57, and the downbeat of 58 through the same lens.
We will discuss this in class.

Another Common Harmonic Progression — not the circle progression

Perform a Roman numeral analysis with figures of bars 28 – 33. (6 chords in B flat major)

We will discuss this in class.