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Comparison and Contrast of Beethoven’s First Movement of Symphonies 5 & 7 Compare and Contrast Essay


Ludwig van Beethoven is usually referred to as one of the most famous composers of all time. He created works that are still very popular today and are used in a lot of mediums of modern society.

His particular style and technique are made obvious in his Symphony 5, 1st movement and Symphony 7, 1st movement. Even though both are unique, there are similarities that relate to the person’s soul, connecting the inner world of an individual to the surrounding environment, society and all existence.

The great ability of Ludwig van Beethoven to compose music came from his intricate connection to the time of his life and matters that took place in the world. 5th symphony was a work of several years, starting around 1804 and ending in 1808 (Kinderman 109). There are four parts or movements in the symphony, but the beginning of each movement is what defines every one of them.

The first movement is significant because its distinct sound and originality are unexpected. Ludwig van Beethoven made it out to sound profound and important, and it is extremely difficult to explain in words, as a person can only feel music and experience emotions that arise with the sounds. The closest description of the composition is the way a person lives a life, meeting with its intensity and standing up to the challenges.

The bright rhythm and definite sounds illustrate a grandeur picture of a person fighting their destiny, falling down but getting up again, only to face new battles. Emotions of happiness, facing hardships but continuing the journey in the look for more happiness are key features.

The 1st movement can be thought of as quick and fiery, a clear contrast between notes gives the person a taste of what is to come but keeps one wondering what and how it will develop. At the same time, there is somewhat of a nervous and worrisome emotion, as the person feels being lifted by the sounds, but the rise is so quick and mind bottling that there is little knowledge of what to expect and how the descent will turn out.

The hard base sound is changed by a more melodic and invigorating style that consumes a person; swirls around imagination and emotions (Beethoven 5th Symphony, 1st Movement).

The 7th symphony is much different, as the talent and compositions of the composer were developing. It was written in 1812 and is contrasted with the 5th symphony by a separation of a mere four years (Kinderman 140). The melody and sounds are more united; representing the society that Ludwig van Beethoven lived in.

There is more heroism and the audience is left with a clear end result of a person overpowering life’s hardships and coming out victorious. It might seem simplistic but it is purposefully made to lack any unneeded, overrated zeal. The unique style is very evident, containing intricate connection of melodies and sounds flowing into one another.

The similarity between 5th and 7th symphonies is that both have many contrasts, strengthening and then lowering of intensity. The colorful nature of Ludwig van Beethoven’s imagination is put into sounds and is apparent by the interdependence of each sound.

It seems that the 5th symphony was the beginning of an unsure and battling person and composer, who was searching the world and trying to separate chaos from order, whereas the 7th symphony represents moments when the unity between a person and the world was found. Both have qualities of heroism and an unstoppable force that will not be crushed by the perturbations and unexpectedness of life.

In contrast, 7th symphony seems to relate more to people and patriotic ideas of the times. This was the historical period when Napoleon was defeated and the music seems to joyfully speak to people who have endured and survived yet another war with chaos (Beethoven 7th Symphony 1st Movement).

The great skill of Ludwig van Beethoven is to contrast the mental processes through music. In 5th and 7th symphonies, there seem to be two different points of view that clash and manifest themselves through the progress that is made by listening and comprehending thoughts and feelings.

The elements of ideal life, freedom and engulfment by evil forces are present throughout, making two compositions similar but different. The 5th symphony speaks with direction, sharpness and the motif is defined by the person’s readiness to take on whatever is presented in front of them.

The other movements of the 5th symphony continue the battle but variations and additions to the 1st movement represent progression and intensity of the developing picture.

As each movement begins with a contrasting and defining sharpness of the unexpectedness continuing, the effect of new challenges is presented over and over again, but the following additions create a sense that the light side of existence is becoming stronger, eventually overpowering evil forces.

It gives hope to a person and provides consolation regarding past struggles. The difference between the intensity and the calm qualities of the continuation bring peace to the composition. But the repetitive nature of the harsh base reminds that the battle is far from over and an individual will have to face more hardships and limitations.

To back away from the micro details of each symphony and compare the two, they can be seen as two separate forces of nature. The 5th symphony is the personal fight of an individual, whereas the 7th symphony is the unity that is reached through social understanding and a common goal. The stormy skies of life back away and people are given something to look forward to, together and with each other’s help.

This effect is created by the grandeur and harmony of sounds. The changes in tonality provide an insight into the composer’s thoughts and feelings, making obvious his own struggles. It is interesting to see how the 5th symphony can be compared to a structured march that has a repeating chorus, organizing the whole composition into a reliable and framed version of life.

The 7th symphony, on the other hand, is “smoothly shaped” by a gradual flow of one melody into another. In the two symphonies, Ludwig van Beethoven has created depth and phases of melodies. The mood of the music is deepened by the unexpected sounds, but then, the listener is given something concrete to rely on, as the melody returns to the previously heard sounds.

Not only the two symphonies are different in emotional make up, the periods of time are also represented. The dominating features of the 5th symphony constantly change the melodical drawing. Pauses that are made in the beginning stages are erased and later avoided, providing the audience with new interpretations and understanding.

An important thing to keep in mind is that Ludwig van Beethoven was very serious about writing his symphonies. His work can be compared to a novel or drama in several parts that speak to people and their souls. All of them are united by a single line of development and battle between two forces.

Also, the fact that his compositions seem directed towards people, nations and even timeless existence of humanity, give his symphonies a special place in the music world. All the sounds that are included in the symphony are carefully selected, thought of, felt and molded. The shaping of the melody came from his heart and depth of an understanding of human emotions and oneself.

The 5th symphony is a creation that tells a story with an ending, from the contrasting “light and darkness” to the final rising of the victory. The parts are separated so well that there is no doubt in the person listening.

This proves that Ludwig van Beethoven had a profound understanding of human nature and the main points of one’s life. There were many great composers before and after, but Beethoven stands out as a unique person with own style and definition of music.

One of the most significant facts about Ludwig van Beethoven’s symphonies is that he was able to communicate to people and make them realize that there are much greater things in life than suffering and defeat. It shows that he was a deep thinker and had a very sensitive understanding of emotions. There has been a lot of speculation as to how such great works of art come into existence.

What is it that makes a certain person come up with such a masterpiece? Some people offered an explanation that an individual is simply more talented than the rest of the population. But if people cannot choose to be talented that means there is a natural process in place that puts such talents into people. It would be a safe assumption that Ludwig van Beethoven was filled with melody and harmony.

In order to create a piece of art that can be enjoyed through hundreds of years and become universal in the world, one must possess talents beyond those regularly expected. To zoom out even further, his later life and his hearing deteriorating can be seen as a great part of his whole journey. A person, who familiarized so many people with such divine sounds, was later deprived of the ability to hear.

The fact that he was able to continue his work means that hearing is not the only way a person can intake music and melody. Ludwig van Beethoven was still able to “hear” the melody in his head, just as dreams can be seen and heard without the physical senses being in an active mode.

All Beethoven’s symphonies are undeniable masterpieces that exist outside time. His 5th and 7th symphonies have a lot in common but also differ in their content. The one important theme dominant in both works is that there is a deeply felt connection to the world, people and Beethoven’s own being. The timeless works are the reminder of the unity between the universe and intelligent life everywhere.

Works Cited

”. YouTube.com. 02 Feb 2008. Classical Archives. Web.

”. YouTube.com. 20 May 2011. Justin Taylor. Web.

Kinderman, William. Beethoven. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 1995. Print.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Comparison and Contrast of Beethoven's First Movement of Symphonies 5 & 7." July 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/comparison-and-contrast-of-beethovens-first-movement-of-symphonies-5-7/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Comparison and Contrast of Beethoven's First Movement of Symphonies 5 & 7'. 8 July.

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