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Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

2015/2016

Analytical Summary of Beethovens Symphony No.3 Eroica

Ludwig Van Beethoven completed his 3rd symphony op.55 around 1804 and
first performed it in 1805. Beethoven sought a new way of composing, this third
symphonic composition demonstrates the real power of an orchestra, and
Beethoven opposing to his first symphonies, created a sense of amplification,
especially in the first movement as it is one of the longest in all of the history of
symphony works. Beethoven also added a third horn player instead of the two
French horns he had in his previous symphonies.
This symphony is in E flat major, described as a gallant and brave key,
matching its title Eroica. The first movement, Allegro con brio starts with two f
staccato E flat major chords and then in a contrasting p goes to a soft flowing
melody played by the cellos, or as in Pauers arrangement, by the left hand. The
E flat key is always very clear starting with the strong chords and then the
repeated quavers in the right hand from bar 3-7 accompanied by the main theme
that follows underneath:

This first subject is derived from an e flat major triad. The clear major 3rd,
perfect 4ths and 5ths demonstrate a simple first theme in the tonic key
which slides down from the leading note to a dissonant C#. This first
moment of tension creates an augmented 4th between the G in the right
hand.

Bar-3-7

The tempo and the flowing melody opposed to the repeated E flat major
major 6ths make the introduction sound like a waltz.
The C sharp follows into the mediant of E flat (G minor). The rhythm in the
right hand has changed into a syncopated rhythm creating an aggravated
mood intensified by the crescendo in bar 8, leading to a sforzando in a B
flat 7 harmony (dominant of E flat) in bar 10.

Bar 10-11

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

2015/2016

In bar 11 the harmony goes back to the tonic key (E flat major) but in bar 12
there are chord transitions: ii6 (F minor) iii6 (G minor) IV6 (A flat major)
and in bar 13 returning to E flat major in a crescendo passing by an alternate
playing of E flat major and dominant b flat seven chords (bar 14) to a perfect
cadence in bar 15.

Bar 12-15

The main theme reappears in bar 15 in E flat major starting on the second
note of the theme. This time, the repeated quavers are played by the left hand
and right hand does the melody.

~
Bar 3-7
.

Bar 15-18
(comparison)

On the 2nd beat of bar 18, there is a G diminished chord. A beat after, an E
natural in the right hand, indicates a possible change to the key of F minor.
When it reaches the E natural, the left hand is playing a C major 7 chord, this
is a secondary dominant of the II degree of E flat major.
The following bar, carries on in F minor and with the main theme in the right
hand, but this time it starts with a minor 2nd instead of the major 3rd seen the
before, intensifying the minor mode. Matching, the contrasting left hand
continues with the repeated quavers.
On the 2nd beat of bar 20, there is a D flat major chord, indicating a bVI6 chord
(D flat, 1st inversion) going to a dominant seventh chord (E flat major) creating
chromatic harmony leading to A flat major (bar 21).
From bar 15-22 there is this sense of question-answer between the melody
line.

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

Question?

2015/2016

Answer

Question?

Bar 15-22

In bar 22, the A flat becomes A natural and with the opposing left hand creates
a tritone with the E flat, leading to B flat major in bar 23.
In bar 25, there is a succession of chords starting with the E flat major, then a
C diminished seventh in 3rd inversion (VII7). This chord continues in the
following bar, finalizing in a B flat major chord in bar 28. Then there is another
series of chords between E flat major and B flat major ending in bar 35.
Scaling up to a fortissimo in the tonic key in bar 37.
Between the last beat of bar 27 and until bar 33, the syncopated rhythms
make the rhythm feel like its moving in 2 instead of 3, indicating a hemiola.
Bar 37 amplifies the main theme adding

a lower octave to the left hand to play it


and the right is briskly and loudly playing
the E flat major chord in 2nd version
alternating with the E flat note.
Bar 28-31 Hemiola)
On the 2nd beat of bar 39 the E flat
becomes natural leading to a C major tonality and it flattens again on the 2 nd
beat of the following bar making an E flat major 7 chord arriving at A flat major.
In bar 43, the G flat is seen as pedal note to create tension and dissonance
throughout the bar. The last chord of this bar is a C major 7 chords which
reaches B flat major in bar 44 in an imperfect cadence.
From bar 44, there is a new theme, more dolce but with the same syncopated
rhythmical idea as the first theme. This melodious transition lasts until bar 54.
The harmony alternates from F major (V) and B flat major chords. (I).

Bar 54 divides 2 sections by the use of the staccato and ff chords in B flat
major key. The 2nd section starting in bar 56 is still in the B flat major with
a flowing p melody.

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

2015/2016

In bar 60, the harmonic rate is very fast: B flat Major; E flat (starting bar
61) B flat major (starting bar 62); starting with an A minor chord and ending
with C minor (bar 63) and in bar 64 there is a F sharp minor diminished
seventh chord that chromatically goes to F major and resolves finally in
bar 66 to G minor.
Bar 68, introduces a B diminished seventh chord with the aim of arriving
at C minor in bar 69.
Bar 70 transitions from a D major seventh chord to G minor in bar 71. The
last beat and a half in this bar are a chromatic transition to B flat major in
bar 72.
From bar 72 until bar 82 harmonic rate is increased as
is the rhythm to create a sense of tension to reach a calm
perfect cadence in the dominant key of E flat major (B flat
major). Bar 80 introduces a hocket rhythm in ff in F major
finishing grandiosely in B f lat major (bar 82).
Bar 71-72

Bar 80
hocket rhythm