The second movement of Symphony Eroica was described rather vaguely with a few, short paragraphs that included a majority of technical descriptions as opposed to imagery. The audience the author is targeting has a fairly good musical knowledge, for the wording was complex and included advanced theory terms. I thought the phrasing of sentences in certain cases didn’t flow correctly and/or express the thought clearly. For example, “…and this funeral march broadens in its flow as it develops.” That statement is difficult to understand, what does it mean to “broaden in flow”? How can one “broaden their flow”? On a different note, some of the sentences were very helpful in developing an image into the readers mind, such as “Then the light fails and the mournful main theme returns.” This imagery helps the readers get a sense of emotion in the piece, and gives them and idea of how it sounds. People can recognize emotion better than theory terms, therefore poetic statements like this assist greatly in musical reviews. Of course, the musical sentences were effective in giving a technical perspective on the piece. “This is a broad melody in two portions, each of which is given out by the strings and repeated (in the first case with a close in a new key) by the wind.” Sentences such as this give a different type of understanding to the piece, as stated previously. This statement is easy to understand and provides musical terms that are recognizable to musicians who want to learn about the composition. One aspect in this piece I enjoyed was in the first paragraph where the writer mentions Beethoven’s purpose for writing the music in the way he did. Although it was just a few sentences, the composer’s ideas and reasoning behind the theory provides an even deeper understanding of the piece and why and how it was created.
The passage from the article on the Sonata Pathetique included much more background information and musical description. The writer included a good balance between imagery and technical descriptions for the music, painting a realistic picture of the piece in the reader’s minds. A good description from the passage is, “Instead of thinking notes. it would be nearer the spirit of the piece to think, when marveling at the tight construction, or roaring and howling and throbbing, the sounds of passion with which the composer burns his musical logic into one’s consciousness.” This sentence uses descriptive vocabulary, being “effective” to the readers by helping them develop an idea of the composition. However, the phrase, “The Pathetique is, first of all, music of the will.” is unclear and difficult to understand. The word “will” is very open-ended and has many meanings, therefore what kind of “will” is the writer referring to, and how does that describe the music? The writer later goes into greater detail of describing the form, keys, and other theory aspects, informing musical readers how the piece is constructed. One sentence that stood out in a nicely-descriptive manner was, “Beethoven was using dynamic intensity-again a less-sophisticated communicator of musical meaning-to manipulate the uncertain balance between light and darkness in chord “color” throughout the movement.” It includes musical terms like “dynamic” and “chord” but also includes “affective” words, which give it the ability to help those unfamiliar with music theory to understand the meaning of it all.