What Is A Symphony?

Have you noticed that there are no new movies these days? Any high budget movie is a sequel or a remake. In one sense, this is very disappointing because the next Star Wars isn’t going to be made. But on the other hand, when I sit down for a new movie, I generally know what I am going to get and that makes me happy.

In the 1700s classical music developed ways of communicating musical ideas that people like and so these ways of making music became common among all composers. One of the most popular forms is called the symphony. Even today, symphonies are in demand and regularly included on programs for orchestra concerts because they are entertaining, and as a familiar movie, we know what to expect.

Today, I want to discuss what we call symphony form, so you will know what to expect if you don’t already. The main thing to know is that nearly all symphonies include four different pieces called movements. The first movement is usually the most impressive, fast, and sets up everything else that will happen in the symphony. The second movement is slow, quiet, and easily able to help you fall asleep. The third movement is a bit faster and light-hearted. It’s usually in ¾ time or ⅜ time like a dance of sorts. The fourth movement is the finale. It’s big, bold, and when the last note is played, designed to leave people happy.

In the Spotify playlist today I’ve included an excellent symphony for kids. It’s Mozart’s 25th symphony in G minor. It is commonly known as the “Little G Minor” symphony and was written early in Mozart’s adult life when he still lived in his hometown of Salzburg, Austria. This symphony is a great one for kids and families because it is very expressive, short, and follows what we expect for symphonies. It’s entertaining!

Lastly, if you think that 26 minutes of listening to classical music is too big of a goal for you and your kids right now, take it movement by movement or push play while out driving or during homework time. There is no need to push the limits of what your kids can handle. Allow this fantastic work to be enjoyable.