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Zanayia Hercules, MUS303: Music History 2
Faculty Mentor(s): Professor Carolyn Guzski, Music

Many works of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) are derived from his own experiences in life. Beethoven's Symphony no. 6 in F major, op. 68 ("Sinfonia pastorale") was his largest and most characteristic work at the time--he created a fifth movement as opposed to the typical four in symphonic composition. Directly inspired by the composer's deep appreciation of nature, the Pastorale is highly descriptive through sound alone, without the use of poetic text, and Beethoven's musical expression is seamless throughout the entire symphony. Beethoven even described this piece as “more an expression of feeling than painting.” This symphony includes a variety of textures and harmonies suitable for only the most nuanced musicians. My project explores the realm of the Pastorale's performance practice to reveal what Beethoven may have expected from performers at that time. This allows me to apply this practice when personally performing this piece or others of its era. Beethoven's music and style can be recognized and appreciated globally, moreover, many of his compositions have made their way into 20th-century film. The Sixth Symphony, for example, is featured prominently in Disney's original Fantasia (1940). I conclude that Beethoven's innovations as a composer, and his success in bringing new ideas as well as previous historical elements to his music, continue to be influential to modern audiences in our own time.

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Beethoven's Ode to Nature
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