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Beethoven Symphonies Six and Seven

Beethoven wrote nine symphonies which influenced composers for the rest of time. There are so many excellent learning opportunities in each of the symphonies. Here are a few of them in the 6th and the 7th.

Symphony Number Six - The Patoral

Beethoven loved nature and spent a lot of time on walks in the country. He wrote the Sixth Symphony to tell a story of just such a walk. Like the Third Symphony (Eroica), the sixth symphony has a name "Pastoral" which means land or country (as opposed to city). The Pastoral Symphony has five movements instead of the usual four and Beethoven tells us what he is writing about by giving a title and description to each movement. 

  1. Awakening of cheerful feelings on arrival in the countryside

  2. Scene by the brook

  3. Merry gathering of country folk

  4. Thunder. Storm

  5. Shepherd's song. Cheerful and thankful feelings after the storm

Here are two of the movements with pictures that were put to the music. But, everyone hears music in his or her own way and Walt Disney heard a completely different story in Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony. He used the piece in the movie "Fantasia" and showed the world the story that he heard... I wonder if Beethoven would have liked it? 

Symphony Number Seven
Seventh Symphony

The second movement of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony is one of my favorite pieces of music. It is based on a very very simple rhythm.

This rhythm is repeated and builds in intensity as it is repeated and varied throughout the movement. It's easy to follow along either with rhythm syllables, counting or with the words I've added.

Here are some interesting videos of this well-known movement.

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