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sibelius

A Technical Essay on the Composition Techniques used in Sibelius Symphony #2 A. Harris E-mail: wah63@mailexcite.com The second symphony written by composer Jean Sibelius {1865-1957} is one of the best examples in classical music of advanced compositional techniques such as melodic variation, tonal transitions, imitation, and suspension. Written in basic four-movement form (Allegretto, Tempo Andante/ma rubato, Vivacissimo, and Finale), Symphony #2 provides the listener with a fluidity of motion, which constantly engages the ear. The first movement in Sibelius Symphony #2 is written in the key of D major, uses A-B-A form, sets the tonal foundation for the rest of the symphony by incorporating sub-dominant and dominant chord progressions, and demonstrates ingenious suspension and transition techniques. The most noticeable and repeated element of Allegretto is the dominant and sub-dominant chord progression of I (tonic), IV (sub-dominant), V (dominant). First used by all strings in the opening measures of the movement, this progression is continually being played by the low strings (Cellos and Basses). Sibelius writes this movement in A-B-A form so of course each section of this movement has certain characteristics. The first section of the movement (A) opens with the strings playing an expressive style known as Coll`e while stating I, IV, V, I. The oboe plays the melodic material throughout this section, with the flute playing a legato accompaniment line. Also characteristic of section A is the use of 4’s to carry the melodic line (horns, oboe, flute, and clarinet). The transition from section A to section B, and the transition from Major to Minor, is made by the clarinet. In section B the melodic line is at first carried by the flute with the oboe and/or clarinet, then the strings take over until a dramatic pause at measure . After the 2 beats of rest the strings come back once again with a dominant chord (V). The melody is then...

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