Similarity between Beethoven's 8th and Mozart's 40th

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Dog Sniper
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Similarity between Beethoven's 8th and Mozart's 40th

Postby Dog Sniper » Sun Feb 11, 2007 4:11 am

I think the motif in the first movement of Beethoven's 8th symphony bears a resemblance to the motif in the third movement of Mozart's 40th symphony. What do you guys think?

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Symphony No. 40, third movement
Image

Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No. 8, first movement
Image

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Postby imslp » Sun Feb 11, 2007 4:38 am

It might very well be that Beethoven was subconsciously copying Mozart... I won't say consciously since the turn figure is fairly common.

The first codification of this I know is in species counterpoint. In fact, Mozart himself showed his pupils how to use this figure in one of his counterpoint classes... we still do have the notes Mozart himself wrote in his pupil's (Thomas Atwood to be exact) workbook and I've seen a photocopy of it.

That said, it is far from uncommon for composers to borrow entire themes back in the day. Case in point: the famous first theme that opens Beethoven's 3rd (Eroica) is copied almost exactly from a C.P.E. Bach piano sonata. I've also heard rumours that the extremely famous motif of the 5th is also copied from somewhere...

Good thing they didn't have copyright laws back then I guess lol

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Postby imslp » Sun Feb 11, 2007 6:55 pm

Someone else also e-mailed me and told me additional similarities. Apparently, the theme of Beethoven's 3rd that I was talking about can also be found in the overture to Mozart's Bastien and Bastienne. And furthermore, the 4th movement of Beethoven's 5th apparently shares motifs with the last movement of Mozart's 40th.

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Nice insights

Postby Dog Sniper » Mon Feb 12, 2007 12:11 am

Thanks for posting your insights on this. I never had a musical education, so all of this is quite interesting to me.

I know what you mean about what I've pointed out probably being a common musical "sequence", so to speak. I was compelled to post, though, because as I was listening to Beethoven's 8th I could have sworn I heard a familiar melody floating around through there... :) ... But I know what you mean; the same thing could probably be identified in scores (pardon the pun, heh) of other pieces.

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Postby imslp » Tue Feb 13, 2007 3:16 am

Oops... I meant the 3rd movement of Beethoven's 5th and the last movement of Mozart's 40th. :)

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Postby Yagan Kiely » Sat Feb 17, 2007 1:27 pm

The melody of the last movement of Mozart's 41st symphony, C-D-F-E, can also be found in Mozart's 33rd symphony first movement (In the development) F-G-Bb-A. (Coincidentally, the last movement's coda bears strong characteristics of Mozart's 25th piano concerto last movement)
The exact notes of Mozart's 41st symphony, last movement are also the respective keys of the Brahms symphonies. And also in Brahms's Schicksalskied in the first alto entry and again in the soprano first entry.

Those are what I have found myself, haven't read it anywhere, so there may be more.

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Postby matthew » Sat Feb 17, 2007 5:42 pm

There are only do many 4-note patterns in total, inevitably some will sound better than others, and so be more likely to be used. Is it therefore any surprise that some get used by two different composers? While one may've been consciously (or unconsciously) copying the other, it may equally be complete coincidence.

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Postby Exen » Fri Jun 29, 2007 1:25 pm

I would have to say looking at both images, I have to agree with matthew here. I know for a fact Ive used that type of duration pattern before, and probably those combination of tones before, was I conscientiously doing so. No. But I'm sure its happened, and will happen again. It's just a fact of music.


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