Talk:Symphony

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Miscellaneous[edit]

I think that the list of composers is very detailed in some cases, while in others it doesn't even provide the time period. Definite cleanup needed. Also, I dont think there are enough clips - I mean, beethoven was hardly the only great symphonic composer. I've completely rewritten the 1911 stuff that was here - the old article is in the history here should anybody want to use it as a source. What I've written needs a lot of work and expansion, but I think it's better than what we had before. --Camembert

Does this mean you are for or against calling Prokoviev a Soviet composer, or are you adopting a neutral stance? What about calling him a Russian composer, or even a Ukranian composer? Gene Ward Smith

Gene, it doesn't mean anything to do with Prokofiev - I wrote that months and months ago, before you put your Prokofiev query there. There's a sort of convention at the 'pedia to add new questions to the bottom of the page (in part to avoid confusion like this) - that's where I've moved your question. --Camembert

I really doubt this (from the list of symphonists):

  • Giuseppe Torelli, Italian composer of the Sinfonia à 4, the first real symphony

I doubt very much that we can say who the composer of the "first real symphony" is - the form sort of evolved, there's no one moment you can point to and say "there, that's the beginning of the symphony". But in any case, I don't think that Torelli wrote anything that could really be called a symphony - I don't know what this "Sinfonia à 4" is (I think Torelli actually wrote several pieces with that title), but my guess is that it's either a ripieno concerto (see article for an explanation) or a sonata of some sort. I'm going to leave it in the article for now, though, while I can get to some books. --Camembert

A syngonia is pretty much the same thing as a french overture so it's almost impossible for this Sinfonia à 4 to really be a symphony. since symphonies grew out of early eighteenth cetury overtures. 75.156.81.230 (talk) 19:50, 15 July 2009 (UTC)


Torelli was indeed the composer of the first actual symphonies, although he made little distinction over sinfonia/concerti grossi/sonata. I got the information from The Encyclopedia of Classical Music, which, on page 133, reads:

Early symphonies: >Torelli's symphonies/concerti/sonatas (he was inconsistent over terminology) include possibly the first truly symphonic piece, the Sinfonia à 4 (Symphony of Fours), G33, for two orchestras totalling four oboes and four trumpets, with bassoon, trombone, timpani, strings, and two organs. Such splendour was rare before 1700.

Then it goes on to list other early symphonies including Vivaldi 's Concerto ripieno in B-flat, RV163 and Concerto ripieno on D minor, RV127, William Boyce's three-movement overture to Peleus and Thetis, Lotelli's six Indroduzioni teatrale for strings in 1735, and Wilhelm Friederich Bach's strange Symphony in F, F67, a four-movement suite in all but name.

I believe that is enough evidence, although you can see for youself, as the book costs US$16.07 in Amazon.com and is worth the price. -- Gerhard

Thanks very much for the citation. However, I think virtually all music scholars would disagree with that book about what constitutes a symphony. For example, they would say that Vivaldi's concerti ripieno (a type of piece also written by Torelli, incidentally, and which I've mentioned in the article) are not symphonies, because they use the ritornello form of the concerto, rather than binary form or sonata form. They'd also say that Boyce's overture to Peleus and Thetis is not a symphony, because a symphony, by definition, is not part of some larger work - in fact, just about the only thing that distinguishes the Italian overture (which is what the Boyce piece is) from the early symphony, is that the former was written as an introduction to a larger piece (in this case a masque), while the latter was a stand-alone work designed to be performed in a concert. (Incidentally, I think we've got to be careful with terminology here as well: just because something is "symphonic" doesn't mean it's a symphony.)
Anyway, as I say, I'm not going to touch the Torelli entry in the list here until I can get back to some books - I did check in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians before I wrote this article to make sure I wasn't missing out anything obvious or saying anything silly, and the only reference I saw in the symphony article to Torelli was about his ripieno concerti. I may have missed something, however (I didn't read the whole article, as it's rather long), and as I say, I will check there again, and I'll look in some other sources too. --Camembert

I went to the books and made notes, but I'm not going to do anything to the article for a while - I'm fed up with it just at the minute, I'll give it a week or so (this shouldn't stop other people editing it in the meantime, of course). But in brief: no books I looked at considered Torelli to be a composer of symphonies - the symphony is really a Classical form by definition, so while Baroque composers might have written concerti or suites or whatever that resemble symphonies, they're not regarded as being part of the symphonic tradition. I'll try to clarify things when I have another go at the article. --Camembert


Prokoviev was born in the Ukraine long before there was a Soviet Union, and spent much of his creative either before or outside of the USSR. Why is he a "Soviet composer"? Gene Ward Smith

I called him Soviet because the USSR was in existence for the half of his life that he did most of his notable work, and because, as far as I know, he wasn't a citizen of any other country during that time. It's not a big deal, though - if you want to change it to Ukrainian or Russian, then I for one don't mind. --Camembert

In India, people often used to tell Ilayaraaja did compose symphony, but couldn't find his name in the article and list. Could someone clarify this? TIA --Rrjanbiah 09:02, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Hi Rrjanbiah, if you Google "Ilayaraaja symphony" you certainly do get results--just give it a try. Since Ilayaraaja has indeed composed a symphony, I suggest you revise the list of Symphony composers. The current Ilayaraaja article says he's only working on a symphony, so it would be worth updating it as well. Opus33 16:57, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)

<Rrjanbiah adds a line for Ilayaraaja.>

Hi Rrjanbiah, I changed the characterization of Ilayaraaja to "eminent Indian film composer", partly because other Asians have in fact composed symphonies before, but also because I think this is a better tribute to the composer. That is, it's more important (to me at least) that Ilayaraaja has composed music that is greatly admired than that (like the majority of all humanity!) he is Asian. I hope this is ok. Cheers, Opus33 15:22, 11 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I agree with you. But the following ideas/myths(?)/unverified info are *much* prevalent here:

  • Symphony is much closed to Asians and non-white (racial notion)
  • Symphony is by and for elites
  • Symphony accepts only genius (that's why they accepted Ilayaraaja)
  • No Asians/Indians have composed symphony except Ilayaraaja
  • No one can compose symphony except Ilayaraaja from Asia. No one will be allowed to do so. (Similar ideas...)

And moreover, if he is been credited, it is de facto to add "he is the first Asian to compose...". --Rrjanbiah 08:30, 12 Jun 2004 (UTC)

That depends on when he wrote it, (1993 according to a webpage,) since for example Yun Isang wrote five over his career. Then there's Ikebe, and others. Schissel 00:11, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Among those others, the even earlier symphonies by Hashimoto (Japan, 1940s) , the first of which is recorded on Naxos Records. Schissel | Sound the Note! 19:08, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Cleanup[edit]

I put a cleanup tag on this article. It's really cobbled together and doesn't flow well at all. A good example of the problem is that in both 19th and 20th century sections it mentions the French composers of organ symphonies as if they weren't referenced before. There's some other issues too (including this mess of a talk page...) ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ 22:55, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

No kidding! It's a total mess. Should the article really start with characteristics? Why not start with a definition. The article reeks of too many cooks, no overall plan nor structure. It's awful. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.156.234.24 (talk) 16:07, 22 October 2007 (UTC)


To the author of Cleanup: are you the pedant who plastered Citation needed all over this? Look, most countries in the world have music schools (Saudi Arabia maybe the only exception), and in most such schools the development of music in Europe is studied, because there a mechanism for writing music down on paper was devised, so music developed into very sophisticated [citation needed?] forms.

The upshot is that there are literally hundreds of millions of people who would understand (not know, UNDERSTAND) a statement such as "Beethoven developed and expanded the symphony into a form which lasted a century". You would insist on a Citation for this. And you'd also look an idiot to hundreds of millions. So are you going to delete this edit? Edetic (talk) 10:00, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Changes[edit]

Hallo,I'm verry intressted in the Changes that happend in the different registers of the orchestra in the time between Mozart and Strauss.For example: some Instruments diappeared,others arrived and even others changed pitch and tuning (trumpets) and I keep thinking about the ideas behind it.Verry grateful for any answer. 85.3.53.193 14:00, 13 February 2007 (UTC) MICHAEL NEUMANN 02 13 07

Check the Wikipedia article "Orchestra", where there some information on this. Although the present article does mention the informal usage of the word "symphony" as a synonym for "symphony (or symphonic) orchestra", it is primarily about the musical form.--Jerome Kohl 19:02, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Thanks[edit]

Thank you,Jerome I did and it answers many questions,but brings up others as well. Greatings, Michael. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 85.3.152.147 (talk) 14:41, 16 February 2007 (UTC).

New child article for the list[edit]

I went ahead and spun off the long list of symphonies into List of symphony composers, as it was overtaking the mainspace of the article. I know it looks kinda bad at the moment, so feel free to help clean things up. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ 12:25, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Recent trim[edit]

I removed the "characteristics" section from the article. It was redundant with much of the later discussion.

I removed some of the discussion too. The article implicitly idealised the development of the symphony in terms of a concerted effort to realise an implicit beautiful, perfect, Platonic symphonic (four-movement) form, which became fully-formed some time in the eighteenth century thanks to Haydn-Mozart-Beethoven. But "symphonic form" as presented here is an analytical convenience that was abstracted from extant works by later theoreticians.

The article was full of composers implicitly or explicitly "setting new standards". But when composers wrote symphonies, they didn't enter some form of competition to "develop the form" or "set standards". Each symphony can be taken on its own terms rather than being measured by its predecessors.

There were other generalisations that didn't stand up to scrutiny. For instance, "symphonies grew in length" completely ignores a whole swathe of symphonies including those by Sibelius, and this development (if it was a coherent conscious development) didn't "finish with Mahler" (Brian's Gothic?).

I removed much of the etymological discussion: I retained some as helpful background, but most of it was completely off-topic for this article. Perhaps the word itself is notable enough to warrant an article? Or does this content have a place at wikt:symphony? --RobertGtalk 13:17, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

Good for you, RobertG, particularly your edits regarding symphony-as-form. I have long believed that this article has overemphasized the reductive narratives concerning the transformation of pieces called symphonies over time, at the expense of genre. The frustration that arises from reading these generalizations goes without saying. Furthermore, the glaring absence of discussions about why certain trends in symphonic compositions might have taken place is a real head-scratcher; certainly there is enough secondary literature out there to flesh this out without controversy. Just some thoughts. Dunkelweizen 13:58, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

The role of variations in symphonies[edit]

Maybe there's room to discuss this. It's not unusual for symphonies to include a set of variations for one of the movements - although not usually the 1st or last movements. Exceptions would include Karl Goldmark's Rustic Wedding Symphony (1st movement) and Brahms's 4th symphony (last movement). -- JackofOz (talk) 21:31, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Is it not a form?[edit]

I notice that editor Redheylin has removed the category "Musical forms" from this article (as well as a number of others). May I ask the reasoning here?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 00:37, 23 March 2009 (UTC)


Essentially, the Symphony is a Sonata for orchestra. There are works that are symphonies that are not exactly for orchestra. The Symphony is marked by a continuous progression of growth. The symphony develops and every part of it is an aspect of the dynamic of the work's growth. Pieces which are not so completely thought out are not necessarily real symphonies. Gingermint (talk) 06:35, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

ABC Classic 100 Symphony poll[edit]

Hi. The ABC Classic FM radio station is currently running a Classic 100 Symphony poll (closes end of June 2009). I thought it might be of interest to those visiting this page (both to vote, and to perhaps incorporate the results into the article). Note that ABC Classic FM is a government-run, non-commercial, not-for-profit organisation. I have no affiliation with the radio station or poll in any way. Enjoy.  HWV258  01:13, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

However much "of interest" and whether or not they constitute spam, this is the wrong place for your remarks above. This page is to discuss article content. TheScotch (talk) 08:19, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
The implication of my original post is that the information returned by the survey may get incorporated into the article. Oh wait, I did say that: "...and to perhaps incorporate the results into the article.".  HWV258  22:31, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Sorry I missed your parenthetical aside, qualified by perhaps. In any case, I don't think the result of this apparently unscientific poll need be mentioned in the article.TheScotch (talk) 08:28, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Will you go and remove everything on WP that is unscientific, or shall I? Let's wait and see what happens at the end of the poll (there will probably be over 100,000 votes from around the world—which is a fair sample size). Perhaps an entry in the "See also" section wouldn't be out of place? Cheers.  HWV258  22:21, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

The broadcasting of the countdown is happening as I type: Classic 100 Symphony (ABC). You can follow via streaming here.  HWV258  05:03, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Definition[edit]

Re: "Many symphonies are tonal works in four movements with the first in sonata form, and this is often described by music theorists as the structure of a "classical" symphony, although many symphonies by the acknowledged classical masters of the form, Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven, do not conform to this model.":

This sounds to me like a strawman argument. I've never heard a single "music theorist" stipulate that a symphony need have four movements, and removing this artificial delimitation--which has nothing whatsoever to do with structure, the cited exceptions disappear. A much more robust definition would be: A symphony is a piece for orchestra, the first movement of which is in sonata form or some analogue of sonata form.

Re: "A symphony is a musical composition, often extended and usually for orchestra.":

If we're going to quibble that all pieces with symphony in their title are not necessarily for orchestra (Stravinsky's "A symphony of Psalms" for example) or that the term was used in the Middle Ages and Renaissance for pieces not strictly orchestral, then we'd might as well allow that it can designate the orchestra itself (symphony as an abbreviation of symphony orchestra). In other words, I find the "usually" here ridiculous. In any case, saying "a symphony is a musical composition" is saying next to nothing. I don't find it satisfactory merely to eliminate the equivocation either. If a symphony is an "extended" "musical composition" "for orchestra" then "La Mer" is one. TheScotch (talk) 08:09, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree that the lead is not great, however there is no problem in "saying next to nothing". It is a standard educational technique to "drag" the audience up to the level you require, and that includes the people who didn't know that "a symphony is a musical composition" (remember that this article might be read by a six-year-old). Perhaps the lead (and we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that it is the lead), could make the distinction between classical and non-classical structure? Here's a thought for a replacement lead:
The term Symphony usually refers to an orchestral musical composition written in three or four movements. The symphony arose in the Baroque period (as accompanying music to larger works), but developed into a standalone form (characteristically tonal, and not featuring one instrument over the others) during the Classical era. Although classical composers did much to develop the structure of the symphony, the first movement typically remained in sonata form, with subsequent movements containing a combination of slow, dance, variation, and fast forms. Following the classical period, the symphony typically became longer, and evolved into more complex structures which sometimes featured vocal and solo instruments.
Happy to discuss, but if there are no major problems, I'll throw it in as the lead and see what transpires.  HWV258  00:24, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
Unsure how a symphony accompanies larger works. Was it a one-movement form in those days? Why would this accompany? Does it mean "as a one-movement form played in the same sitting as larger works"? "stand-alone". Is it in the classical period that it only didn't feature one instrument over another? Or does "classical period" refer back to the previous points, too? If so, all music in the classical period was tonal, unless the odd modal rendition in churches. "with plus noun plus -ing" ... see User:Tony1/Noun_plus_-ing. (, and subsequent movements contained). Subsequent movements, in any case, would not have mixed those listed forms; "containing" is not the right word, perhaps. The featuring of solo instruments was already present in the classical period: see Haydn's Symphony No. ? seventy-something, which solos vln, cello, oboe and bsn. It's a significant blurring of concerto and symphony. Tony (talk) 06:58, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. Here are the points (and fixes) I took out of your analysis:
  • Regarding "accompanies larger works", I was trying to incorporate the following from the main article: "In the 17th century, for most of the Baroque period, the terms symphony and sinfonia were used for a range of different compositions, including instrumental pieces used in operas, sonatas and concertos—usually part of a larger work". But I see that "accompanies" is not correct; perhaps "incorporated" would be better?
  • I used "tonal" because it was in the previous lead (and I didn't want to change the semantics too much). On reflection, I'm happy to remove the reference to tonal because, as you say, almost all music in the Baroque and Classical periods was tonal. Perhaps the body of the article should deal with symphonic tonality?
  • Agree with the misuse of "containing"—fixed below.
  • I'm not worried about counter examples (such as the Haydn)—the word "characteristically" was used to cover those cases—and I'm happy for the body of the article to be expanded to list the exceptions.
Here is my revised attempt at the lead:
The term Symphony usually refers to a large-scale orchestral musical composition, typically in three or four movements. The symphony developed into a stand-alone form in the Classical-Romantic period, and was increasingly characterised by "the drama of key change" (I'll find a ref from Rosen's The classical style). Unlike the concerto, the symphony tended not to highlight one or more instruments. Although Classical-Romantic composers did much to develop the structure of the symphony, the first movement typically remained in sonata form, with subsequent movements in dance, variation, and other forms. Following the lead of Beethoven—particularly his Ninth Symphony (1824)—the symphony generally became longer and evolved into more complex structures that sometimes featured vocal and solo instruments.
Feedback on the above welcome. (Should "Classical" be always be capitalised?)  HWV258  21:43, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

HWV, I hope you don't mind my edits: seemed simpler than to paste another copy here. "Although" doesn't work to me as a contrastive item: the two statements seem to be perfectly in accord, not in apparent contrast.

Where are these "Baroque" symphonies? Let's be careful with mere naming. We could equally say that sonatas developed in the Baroque (Bach wrote "sonatas" for solo violin and solo cello), but those works bear little or no relation to sonata form as it developed in the Classico-Romantic period.

"Slow" and "fast" are not forms; a slow movement could use binary, ternary, or a host of other forms.

I'm going to ask User:Noetica to look at this. He knows the secondary literature better than I do. Tony (talk) 03:53, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

My criticisms of the proposed new opening paragraph: 1) I think there's still too much emphasis on the number of movements. We can have attention to the number of movements in the opening paragraph, but I don't think it should be part of the defining sentence--unless, maybe, we say something like "traditionally multi-movement". 2) I don't think we should bother to contrast the symphony with the concerto, at least not here. 3) The influence of Beethoven's symphonies belongs deeper within the article, not in the opening paragraph.TheScotch (talk) 08:52, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Re: "HWV, I hope you don't mind my edits: seemed simpler than to paste another copy here. "Although" doesn't work to me as a contrastive item: the two statements seem to be perfectly in accord, not in apparent contrast.":

I strongly object to your "edits": I can't tell what was there originally. In any case, the problem with the "although" is simply that in this version Classical and Romantic are lumped together. Sonata form is of course an invention of the Classical period, and it was retained more or less as the first movement form for symphonies, concertos, string quartets (and so on) throughout the Romantic period. TheScotch (talk) 08:52, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

There are any number of compositions which are symphonies which are not titled such by their composers. There are many works with the title "Symphony" which are really no such thing at all. I've fixed the opening, and made it logical yet vague enough to make most people happy. Also, I cleaned up the writing just a little bit so it didn't sound so clunky. In truth, most symphonies are for orchestra and all symphonies are sonatas and they are all works of continuous growth, of continuous development. The fact that there are works called symphonies which are not and there are symphonies which are not called symphonies should not distract us.

Oh, and really this whole thing needs to be re-written. Some good facts here and there but the style is haphazard. I'm right in that, right? Gingermint (talk) 06:42, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

I like your edits, Gingermint, which have injected some common sense into this article at last. I have tweaked a couple of small things, but I think you will not disagree with these changes. The broader canvas of the article still needs a lot of work, however, and not only because of its haphazard style (yes, you are right in that!).—Jerome Kohl (talk) 21:26, 3 October 2009 (UTC)
"The fact that there are works called symphonies which are not and there are symphonies which are not called symphonies should not distract us." - This is simplistic and too narrow. There is no ONE way to write a symphony, and just because sonata form became connected with the symphony through the First Viennese School and others doesn't mean that ALL symphonies SHOULD operate according to sonata form principles. Too many composers before 1750 and after 1900 composed works they called "symphonies" which owe very little to the narrow strictures to which you seem intent to reduce the term. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 130.18.42.221 (talk) 21:29, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Some composers, including Dmitri Shostakovich, ... continued to write in the traditional four-movement form, while other composers took different approaches: Jean Sibelius' Symphony No. 7, his last, is in one movement..."
Shostakovich's second symphony already was in one movement, too. Of his 15 Synphonies, only six (No. 1, 5, 10, 11, 12, and 15) follow the "traditional form". Actually, Sibelius's symphonic oeuvre is altogether more traditional than Shostakovich's, who started with "different approaches" from his second symphony on. (Which is to be expected, since he was 40 years older...) -- 80.187.101.117 (talk) 01:03, 2 December 2009 (UTC)


Anyone thats reading this i am doing this for homework and i need help to breifly describe what a symphony is but it can only go as far as bathovens symphonies please help me or post a comment that would be great thanks —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.131.38.68 (talk) 18:49, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

Read the article (and other sources) and write it in your own words. (And watch your spelling.)  HWV258.  21:32, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

citations[edit]

i just moved the in text citations from whatever they were (old-style mla? incorrect harvard?) to the note-reference style. I would have asked if anyone wants me to move this page to the list-defined references, except the page seems to be cited in MLA instead of APA, so if I converted citation formats _properly_, most page number information would be lost. Is there a precedent or rule describing what to do with MLA citations? in the future someone should probably switch reference styles to APA, to be more in line with the wiki tools. romnempire (talk) 17:07, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

as i said in my edit on 11:45, 17 March 2011, I believe the citations on this page should be moved to a standardized format involving hyperlinks, because the content of this specific page references works in parentheses that are not citations, creating confusion for the reader and a look of dissaray for the article. As well, non-hyperlinked in text citations are difficult to edit, because they are easy to miss. Thirdly, the above reason, ability to use more powerful wiki-tools without clashing with preexisting standards, makes me believe this page should be moved to note-reference citations. Since I was already willing to put in the effort to do this work, so no extra effort needs to be expended upon it. If no objections are brought up, i will re-revert Jerome Kohl's reversion of my edit. romnempire (talk) 09:11, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

Please don't. Parenthetical referencing is already a standardized style. Wikipedia allows several kinds of referencing, and parenthetical referencing is one of the acceptable options: see Wikipedia:CITE#Parenthetical_referencing. In general we retain an existing style for an article rather than switch from one to another, rather the way we are about WP:ENGVAR and AD-BC/CE-BCE. Antandrus (talk) 17:02, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
I think I cannot improve on Antandrus's response. Personal whims or preferences are not a sufficient reason to change an existing reference format. In addition to the citations given by Antandrus, there has also been a fairly extensive discussion of "established format" recently here.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 18:36, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
I would like to hear a defense to the end that it is not easier to distinguish (Jackson 1999, 26), a citation, and (Sinfonie musicali, 1610), which is merely a reference to a work. The article does not 'build on the work of previous writers or researchers' by using the Sinfonie as an example, as the MLA specification states as part of the definition of a source (Handbook 126). I do not think this is a 'personal whim' nor a 'preference.' It is a simple fact that the nature of work reference in this article clashes with its citations, as they are both encased in parentheses and demarcated by commas. This makes me think this article, because of that specific content - not as a general rule for all articles - should be ported to a hyperlinked style to differentiate citations from references. This specific difference, to me, makes this article different from generic preservation of WP:REF standards. As it stands, I am convinced that your conservatism is simply indolence, and not at all useful for this article. However, as per the linked discussion, I will refrain from acting unless we reach a consensus here.
I'd also like to make it clear that I believe it's this kind of silly peddling about minor improvements new users (like me) make when they're starting up that turns them away from wikipedia, feeling they cannot contribute, or that forces them to start flamewars. That, however, is another topic. As well, please link me to a discussion of the concrete benefits of non-hyperlinked citations over hyperlinked ones in the general case. It would seem, to me, at least, that 'personal whims or preferences' is the sole reason this style is around. ...the only positive i can think of is it makes an article that much easier to copy and paste into an undergraduate essay. romnempire (talk) 19:40, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
That's a "positive"? -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 19:48, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
Indeed. As to the question of the alleged "confusing" nature of parenthetical referencing, I doubt very much that this is the only article on Wikipedia that uses both parenthetical referencing and parentheses in general. As such, a discussion of the relative merits of this format versus others is not specific to this article, and properly belongs on Wikipedia_talk:Citing_sources, mentioned above. If Romnempire has issues with particular parenthesized material in this article, such as the Gabrieli, Banchieri, Grossi, and Schütz titles referred to, then this problem can easily be addressed—not by a wholesale change of citation style, but by thoughtful correction of these parenthetical references (which they are in fact) to a format consistent with the rest, and including a proper citation in the list of Sources.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 20:03, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
...it's a positive because I enjoy using sarcasm, guys. My entire comment was in opposition to the use of non-hypertext references anywhere. Anyways, this is much less a problem of confusion, because the reason I was confused is that the article is blatantly wrong in style. The Gabrielli, Banchieri, Grossi and Schutz references are not sources, and should not be cited in the text. This was defended above, and apparently you didn't notice that specific consequence. I thought someone was simply making reference to them, in a strange fashion, but if they were actually trying to cite them, like in your 'solution', that would be utterly wrong. Thus, this should not be brought to WP:REF, because i dearly hope that not too many articles use citations in this improper fashion. Furthermore, WP:PAREN, says - by a lack of inclusion - that it is incorrect to label the list of cited works as 'Sources', and it should rather be called "References," "Reference list", "Works cited" or "end-text citations." Thirdly, the citations in this work are internally inconsistent - page-end citations are in MLA, in text citations are in Chigago. Since I apparently can't change the style of citation or the edit revokehammer will come down upon me, can someone tell me which style of citation this article is attempting to accomplish, so i can change it to that?
I thus propose that I make the following changes: A: materials cited that are not sources and should not be cited be de-cited by rewriting that part of the article to work the mentions into the text. B: The Sources section be renamed References. C: The in-text citations be changed to MLA style, since it would be easier to change the in-text rather than the end-text. D: Tarr be removed from the citation list because the section 'The word symphony' no longer exists. Since you apparently disagree with moving to note-ref, which i thought would solve A-C, I will do it the long way. Anyone disagree? romnempire (talk) 13:11, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
I have to disagree about one thing: the list of Sources is not in MLA format (which amongst other things encloses publication years in parentheses) but, like the inline citations, Chicago format, so nothing needs changing to either the inline or the reference-list formats. As it happens, the term "Sources" for such a list is also Chicago, though CMS allows "References" and other terms as well. It seems to me that changing from one to the other is arbitrary and pointless, but I certainly have no objection in principle (though personally I prefer the old-fashioned term "Bibliography", which Chicago also permits in these circumstances, though with reservations). I find at least dubious your claim that parenthesizing a work-title and date (or, presumably, a date alone) consititutes an intolerable misuse of the parenthetical inline citation format, but if, contrary to almost universal practice, you really do find these parentheses confusing, then by all means reformat the article without the brackets. Tarr was originally added, as I recall, in response to a call for citation of Torelli's use of the word "sinfonia" interchangeably with other terms to describe some chamber works. You are correct that the section in which that appeared no longer exists, and the Tarr source is no longer needed. Nor do I think it would be useful in a "Further reading" section, so it should be deleted. In any case, this terminological issue is now compactly covered in the second paragraph of the "Origins" section, with a reference to the New Grove article on "Symphony" which, strangely, was never before cited in this article until I added it yesterday..—Jerome Kohl (talk) 19:08, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
OK. As an experiment, I have removed all parenthesized expressions that could be even remotely misunderstood as reference citations. Personally, I do not see this as an improvement, and certainly I do not think them necessary, but at least we can now see what it looks like. I presume that Romnempire will find this better than before, but I would like to know what other editors think, as well.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 01:58, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
MLA does not put dates in parentheses. It's APA you're thinking of. I'm not well versed in Chicago, and immediately attributed it to MLA _because_ of the lack of parentheses, thanks for correcting that. I should have looked more closely at the order, instead. To me, the current revision clears up any confusing abuse of what in-text citations should be used for. I also agree that the References issue is minor. I'm satisfied that the changes have indeed cleared up what I found confusing about this article. If this revision is fine with everyone, the only thing i wish for is a link to the argument about benefits of harvard citations in a world where hyperlinks exist. I'm still annoyed by the glut of variations in reference style on this site and would like to know the status of the existant argument. romnempire (talk) 17:30, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes, you're right, I was thinking of APA, not MLA. FWIW, Chicago does not have a rigid Bibliography format, but rather two broad categories, one founded on the scholarship tradition in literature, history, and the arts, the other favored by writers in the natural and social sciences. At the same time, CMS (16.8) holds that "There are many acceptable alternatives to and combinations of these basic styles". There are certain common factors, however, including the use of periods between most elements, Arabic instead of Roman numerals, and not enclosing publication years in any kind of brackets.
I am glad that you are satisfied with the changes, and look forward to the opinions of other editors. You are perfectly correct about the "glut of variations in reference style" on Wikipedia, and it would be much more convenient if a uniform style could be agreed upon. The chances of this ever occurring seem remote, to say the least. At the risk of repeating myself yet one more time, the "status of the existent argument" is to be found at Wikipedia talk:Citing sources (don't overlook the Archives of the discussion), and the guidelines, as I believe you already know, are principally at Wikipedia:Citing sources and Wikipedia:Citing sources/example style.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 21:50, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

Additional citations[edit]

Why and where does this article need additional citations for verification? What references does it need and how should they be added? Hyacinth (talk) 02:42, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

The article largely lacks inline citations, which should be added to aid verifiability. Nikkimaria (talk) 02:50, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
I count nineteen inline citations in this article. How many should it have, and where should they be added?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 04:20, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
There's no set number required. Everything "challenged or likely to be challenged", quotes, statistics, opinionss should all be cited - basically anything that the average reader would not know. Examples: stuff with {{cn}}, "a relatively little-explored form", "a work famous for its exceptional orchestration", etc. Nikkimaria (talk) 04:34, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
So, three items marked "citation needed" versus nineteen inline citations requires a separate flag at the top of the article? Fair enough. I'm not going to campaign for its removal, though it does seem excessively silly.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 05:35, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
I more-or-less boldly removed it. If someone wants to put back the five-year-old tag they can, but it's more helpful tagging individual statements, which are more easily actionable. (I tried some digging on the 'cn' items on the list at the end of the page, but to no avail.) Antandrus (talk) 14:31, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
I found only two statements tagged 'cn', and the one about the sinfonietta was easily dealt with. I removed the "little-explored" characterization of the ripieno concerto, which was vague (does this mean very few composers wrote them, or that musicologists have largely ignored the form?) and of little use to the reader of this aricle. The item about the German composer Winbeck, also marked 'cn', appears like it may be much more difficult to document. His name also looks extremely out-of-place with its companions, and immediately suggests that about a thousand more names should be added to balance his presence (surely there are many other equally notable German 20th-century composers of symphonies, not to mention the glaring omission of countries like Albania, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, etc.)—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:01, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
I think I'll take that one out. (Do you have MGG by any chance? Does he have an article? I can't tell online. None in NG.) I did a little digging but I'm not finding a huge amount on him in "big" sources. Antandrus (talk) 23:22, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
As a bigger project for anyone with the time and inclination, maybe we should de-"listify" the 20th-century section and write it up in prose, perhaps by nation, or half-century and then by nation/region (e.g. put Scandinavia together). Antandrus (talk) 23:25, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
I do not own a copy of MGG, but I can always consult it in the library. I have not succeeded in discovering any recordings of this composer's music, either, which does not speak well of his notability. So, I am not optimistic about finding an entry for him in MGG.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:48, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
Follow-up report: I have checked MGG and there is no article on Winbeck. For a composer noted for five large symphonies, he has managed to maintain a remarkably low profile. Still, it does appear that his First Symphony was once released on a WERGO disc, which is more impressive than can be said of more than a few others in the List of symphony composers.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 22:52, 7 May 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for checking that. I also noticed he's published by Bärenreiter-Verlag, who has a biography of him on their website (of course, for they want to sell his scores). Getting published by Bärenreiter is significant. Still -- since it isn't a list of all symphonies by notable composers, I think it's ok to leave him off the list. (Anyone feel free to disagree, especially if there's another good source we're missing.) Antandrus (talk) 00:56, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

The "more footnotes" tag is back again. How many more does it need, and where does it need them? Antandrus (talk) 03:14, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

The unjustified tag is gone again, in favor of a request for specific tagging of any remaining claims that might possibly require verification.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 03:28, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
Support adding the {{More footnotes}} tag. The tag is not an attack; rather it is an attempt to enlist help to improve the article. You certainly don't have to look far to find sentences and even entire paragraphs with no sourcing, and that should be addressed (or would you rather see a large number of [Citation needed] templates added?). There are also many notes that don't supply a page number (which is part of the "Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations" that {{More footnotes}} is requesting). I would also prefer to see the standard <ref> syntax used (accompanied by various Cite templates) to standardise the referencing, and to hide the minutiae from the average reader. Is this article unique in having a large number of sources, but not a single <ref>? GFHandel   03:33, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
Oh, I thought I was very clear but, since you ask, yes, I would like to see "[Citation needed] templates added". I find it hard to believe that these would be "a large number", but I am much better prepared to respond to specific requests than to a blanket "I don't understand this stuff" complaint. Please tell me exactly what you think is not true (or, in Wikipedia terms, what is not verified), and I will do my best to supply a source, or delete the preposterous claim. (I love deleting preposterous claims!)—Jerome Kohl (talk) 03:48, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

Romanize the Greek[edit]

There are several Greek words used in the article, presented in Greek letters with no western alphabet equivalent offered even parenthetically. Is that really appropriate style in an English encyclopedia? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.149.74.143 (talk) 21:59, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

Good point, though I was able to find only two such Greek words (Romanization now added). The is one other (siphon), given only in Romanized form. It probably should have the correct Greek spelling added, particularly because the transliteration has one ambiguous letter in it. If I have missed any, do please call my attention to them.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 22:11, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

Form of the various movements[edit]

That the first movement (allegro) of the classical symphony is most often in sonata form is mentioned but not in the right place. Nothing is said of the musical form of the other movements (e.g. second movement (andante) is most often in binary form) at all. In my opinion this should be dealt with in an article called "Symphony". Contact Basemetal here 06:53, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

Are second movements (when slow, and not scherzos) really most often in binary form? My instincts tell me this is not correct, but if you have a reliable source that says so, then of course I have no objection.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 07:07, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
That was not my point. Contact Basemetal here 07:15, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

Form of the various movements[edit]

Starting this section from scratch in order to keep to a little more focus and better explain what I think would be desirable. If you happen to have access to good sources, for exmple New Grove, I'd be surprised if they had nothing regarding this. If I had access to such sources I'd improve the article myself but I can only make these suggestions and hope that people with access to good sources will take them into account.

To repeat myself: this is an article which purports to describe the classical symphony yet nothing, or close to nothing is said of the musical forms of the various movements.

Saying something of the musical forms of the various movements could be saying (things like) mvt 1 usually fast in sonata form, mvt 2 often slow often in ternary form or in variation form or in sonata form, mvt 3 usually a minuet or scherzo in their own peculiar forms, mvt 4 finale is usually fast in rondo or sonata rondo form or whatever. But of course with more details and with examples of the practice found in a number of important examples both interesting in themselves and showing what variability can be expected. It doesn't matter if the examples above are incorrect or incomplete. They're just meant as examples. I'm not writing the article. This is a talk page. I'm just trying to give an idea of what I mean.

Finally regarding the potential expected argument that the forms are just too varied to give a "typical" description. Of course any competent treatment would deal with broad tendencies, not attempt absolute dogmatic statements. Just because you can't be comprehensive doesn't mean you can't contribute more than what we've got at the moment. As of now the reader can learn nothing about this question. Anything at all would be better than what is there at the moment.

Contact Basemetal here 10:37, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

I understand you better now, thanks. I have just reviewed the article and, as a matter of fact, some of this information is already there, although in rather "telegraphic" form. The chief omission has to do with slow movements, whose usual formal layouts (through-composed, binary, ternary, variations) are not mentioned. I do have access to New Grove, and will see what I can find there specific to this problem.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 18:18, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Layout! I've been looking for an equivalent to the French term "coupe" in "coupe à l'italienne" and "coupe à la française". Would the word "layout" adequately translate "ooupe" in those phrases, e.g. "Italian layout" and "French layout"? Contact Basemetal here 19:49, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps. My French is far from native fluency, but I would think that "coupe à l'italienne", for example, might mean something more like "Italian style" (that is, "cut in the Italian manner", like a jacket). I think the English "layout" corresponds most closely to the French "disposition", though it can also refer to "mise en page".—Jerome Kohl (talk) 20:15, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
I was talking specifically of the phrases "coupe à l'italienne" and "coupe à la française" in musical terminology. In French "coupe à l'italienne" means fast - slow - fast and "coupe à la française" means slow - fast - slow. What would be the appropriate English word to translate "coupe" in those phrases? Contact Basemetal here 20:21, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
This is an idiom I had not encountered before. Yes, you could translate this as "layout" or (perhaps a little more formally) "disposition of movements".—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:30, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Correction. Sorry. I was just told the idioms are "coupe française" (lent - vif - lent) and "coupe italienne" (vif - lent - vif). So no "à la". I had some trouble finding an example on the the net. I did end up finding this one (and only for "coupe italienne") Patrick Taïeb, L'ouverture d'opéra en France: de Monsigny à Méhul, Société française de musicologie, 2007, p. 290, so they don't seem to be that common, but, I promise you, I've seen both. I personally must have picked up both of them from a small book by André Hodeir called "Les Formes de la musique". Contact Basemetal here 05:12, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Could we go a bit more in the style of Music 101?[edit]

Um, I hope it's ok if I do a bit of (what I hope will be) TLC on this article? It has a lot of emphasis on really marginal stuff (like piano symphonies), yet fails to cover (e.g.) the symphonies of Brahms! I would like to put forth a really basic Music 101 presentation, covering the highlights of composers and repertoire and trimming back stuff that doesn't really belong in a broad-topic article like this one. Please yell at me if you object.  :=) Opus33 (talk) 17:53, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

No objection whatsoever! Go ahead; it will be an improvement.  :) Antandrus (talk) 18:07, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
I would go even further, and suggest that anything irrelevant enough to be banished to a footnote really has got no place in this article at all. FWIW, I recall adding the bit about the various instruments named symphonia (and similar words), in a fit of pique over some ridiculous editorial quibble or other. I think the correct thing to do with this would actually be to create a separate article, "Symphony (instrument)", or something like that, and then place a hatnote here for the benefit of those who love the hurdy gurdy or drums, but neither know nor care whether some guy named Brahms composed things called symphonies.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 18:47, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
Thank you both; I think we are probably on the same page. JK is already cleaning out some stuff of marginal relevance, yay. Opus33 (talk)
Do I correctly understand you to be agreeing with me that those two peripheral items you banished to footnotes should be sent further into the outer darkness?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 05:23, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
I could go either way but really would be fine with banishing them. Opus33 (talk) 17:20, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
P.S. I just look up the New Grove article on Symphony. I think it is very impressive, and could be mined for material basically forever. I'll try to do this here and there; I just added a paragraph on the social role of the symphony in the 18th century. New Grove also talks about expansion of the orchestra and the changing public perception of the symphony as it grew.
P.P.S. A toughie, which JK just called me on, is how to document assertions about what is the key repertoire. New Grove often considers this task beneath its dignity, but I think young readers would like to know. Maybe there are web data somewhere on frequency of performance... Opus33 (talk)
Citing statistics should not be necessary. There must be any number of respectable books out there that would provide verification for a list of the key items in the symphony repertoire. May I suggest starting with Michael Steinberg's The Symphony (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), ISBN 0-19-506177-2?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 19:55, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
Thank you. <message continues after topic break>

How to format the references?[edit]

Could I bring up another topic? It concerns the current formatting of references, which seems to me rather unusual in the WP context. I'm basically fine with the Harvard system of referencing, but I feel things are different when the references are themselves links. A Harvard reference is meant to be a small, straightforward thing that the reader's eyes normally will just quickly pass over. But, when we put a link into WP article text, this generally means that it is important material that the reader may well want to click on (this is why in many cases thoughtful editors trim back "overlinking"). My intuitive impression when I read the Symphony article is that the references are attracting too much notice, as if I were supposed to click on all of them. Would it be ok for me to put them all in footnotes? Thank you. Opus33 (talk) 19:15, 20 December 2014 (UTC)

I don't quite follow you. In what way are "the references themselves links"? Are you referring to situations when the source is linked to something else, like a link to GoogleBooks? I cannot imagine how embedding the inline references in footnote markup would do anything but worsen the problem in this case, by turning a three-point click into a four-point one! Or are you (more likely) objecting to having the Harvard references linked to the alphabetical reference list? I can see how the "sea of blue" is a problem, but this is only diminished, not eleiminated by embedding them in footnotes and, once again, this results in adding one more "click" in order to find the source. Ironically, I had for years resisted linking inline citations like this for exactly this reason of appearance, before finally allowing myself about six months ago to be convinced that such links really were helpful enough to the reader to overcome the disadvantage of the ugly, distracting flashing blue lights (why isn't there an option to suppress this "feature"?). Ever since then, I have industriously been adding links, to what by now must amount to hundreds of articles. You are the first to find fault with this and, ironically, I could not agree with you more. I do not find footnote links an acceptable answer, though I could easily be convinced to remove the linking templates and restore the parenthetical (Harvard) references to their former, unobtrusive glory.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:02, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
Ah. Let me clarify. The Harvard references are "links" in the sense of being internal links; you click on them and they take you to the item as it appears in bibliography. And my objection is precisely the same as yours; they are lit up in blue and far too prominent. Of course, in the days of paper, Harvard-style references worked fine, you just went to the bibliography and found the reference, and quite easily, since the bibliography is sorted alphabetically. No one ever thought of printing them in flamboyant shades of blue.
Therefore, re.:
"I could easily be convinced to remove the linking templates and restore the parenthetical (Harvard) references to their former, unobtrusive glory."
I would be entirely happy with this. Yours truly, Opus33 (talk) 00:13, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification. Indeed the alphabetical arrangement of the list of references makes the linking look a bit like a concession to feeble-minded or illiterate readers. Unless someone else pretty quickly comes up with a persuasive argument against doing so, I shall turn off the distracting blue lights (which remind me of the flashing lights on a police car seen in the rear-view mirror), at least in this one article.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 00:28, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
I converted the Harvard style to use notes to the referenced works. To my eye this is more consistent with the rest of WP and easier to read. I hope you agree. If not, please comment here. - DutchTreat (talk) 20:33, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
Well, this is in direct conflict with a consensus that was reached on this talk page just a little over a month ago, on this very thread (please read the paragraphs immediately preceding yours). The decision was make to unlink the harvard references because of the "se of blue" appearance, which in my opinion is made just as bad or even worse a distraction with those little footnote numerals. I am therefore reverting your edits per WP:CITEVAR, until such time as a new consensus can be established here.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 20:39, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

Bands[edit]

Dear Saxophilist, I think at present you are outnumbered by "mainstream" editors who would like this article to emphasize standard core material on symphonies (see discussion above). I'm sorry to revert your contributions, but I think we ought to have a symphony article that expresses standard emphases and views.

I think the material you are adding is very useful but you should put it in a satellite article, Symphonies for concert band, and link that from the main Symphony article.

Yours sincerely, Opus33 (talk) 17:18, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

Given that, at the moment, there are fewer than four editors active on this article, I think your claim that Saxophilist is "outnumbered" might be a little rash. For one thing, this depends on an assumption that I agree with your view, and I do not. I do not see why symphonies scored for winds alone should be shunted off into a separate article, especially when at least one composer of a "core repertory" symphony, Hector Berlioz, also wrote a symphony for band. That said, I think that notability standards for "best symphonies for band" may not be comparable to the standards for orchestral symphonies. Certainly there are some fine examples, in particular Hindemith's Symphony in B, but does even this exemplary work stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Mozart's "Jupiter", Beethoven's Fifth, Schubert's "Unfinished", or Brahms's Fourth? I think it is incumbent upon Saxophilist to put his beloved band symphonies into context, though this context of course is primarily that of the twentieth century. Are Frank Ticheli's symphonies, for example, more or less notable than Walton's First, Dutilleux's Second, Harris's Third, Villa-Lobos's Fourth, Glass's Fifth, Martinů's Sixth, Mennin's Seventh, or Max Davies's Eighth? What contribution to the development of the form has occurred in the sphere of band symphonies, significant enough to influence the way composers have written in other media (e.g., the orchestra)? I do not think these are impossible or even unreasonable demands to make. In the past, this article has threatened to become a rat's nest of trivia. I am sure that every editor who drops by has got his favourite under-appreciated symphony (I know I do), but Wikipedia is not a soapbox or means of promotion. A balance needs to be struck, and I feel this can be done without excluding entire areas of significant production in the field of the symphony.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 17:54, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
Opus, sorry, I did not see this before I reverted your edits. I feel that this article is the proper place for concert band symphonies, as it is simply titled "Symphony", not "Symphonies for orchestra". Most of the article is dedicated to orchestral symphonies. Concert band symphonies are relatively new, and concert bands have gained much popularity since the 20th century; nearly every university in the US has at least one concert band. There are also numerous professional military concert bands and a handful of professional civilian concert bands. I believe concert band symphonies are important and are relevant to this article. Saxophilist (talk) 20:34, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
With due respect, the popularity of bands is an issue entirely separate from symphonies that happen to be written for bands. After all, if bands want to play really great symphonies it is not particularly difficult to transcribe the great works of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven for that medium. The issue I was driving at is placing those symphonies that happen to be for band in the context of symphonies generally. They should not have special privileges, along the lines of the dog walking on its hind legs: It is not that he does it well, but that he can do it at all. This would be ghettoization of the most repugnant kind. There have been symphonies of distinction written for concert band, just as there have been symphonies written for string orchestra, for percussion orchestra, and for a cappella choir. Any of these media might be worth mentioning in passing, if only to remind the reader that there are such novelties. Difficulties arise when we start listing composers of symphonies simply because they have written them for unusual resources. This simply opens to door to listing every oddball symphony that any Wikipedia editor can think of. We are doing the reader a disservice if we are distracting his attention away from the main substance of the article with periphera. This is why I propose that the emphasis should be placed on the achievement composers have made in the symphonic form, regardless of the medium for which they happen to have written symphonies.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:50, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
Jerome, thank you for your edits on the 20th century concert band symphonies. I really like most of them. Would you like to include some 21st century examples as well? I propose adding in the 21st century concert band symphonies of Johan de Meij, as his 20th century concert band symphonies are already listed. I also recommend John Corigliano's Symphony No. 3 "Circus Maximus". This symphony is quite unusual. It uses many trumpets surrounding the concert hall, saxophones and a double bass on a balcony, a marching band marching in, etc. Here's a link if you're interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwcTP-wHdcY
I do, however, take contention with one of your remarks in your response. It seems as if you're saying that the concert band is an unusual or novel ensemble. I have to disagree. The concert band is quite wide-spread, and I'd say that Johan de Meij's Symphony No. 1 "The Lord of the Rings" is one of the most often performed symphonies of the 20th century. Saxophilist (talk) 05:29, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
You are welcome. I do not regard concert bands as unusual or novel in themselves. I do think that symphonies are to be judged on their compositional qualities, not the ensembles for which they are written. If "including some 21st century examples" means adding stuff based purely on their scoring, however extravagant, then no, I don't see any point in doing that. The "best symphonies written for concert band" belong in an article on the concert band. The "best symphonies of the 21st century" belong in this article, regardless of whether they are written for orchestra, band, choirs, or jazz trio. On the other hand, if you mean you have got some critical evaluations from reliable sources establishing particular composers or symphonies as being of outstanding significance for the development of the form of the symphony, regardless of what they are written for, then by all means bring them forward.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 06:11, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
Do you have any tips on finding sources? They would be much appreciated. Saxophilist (talk) 08:01, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
And I think deciding which symphonies are the best of the 21st century is entirely subjective. Saxophilist (talk) 08:03, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
Tips on finding sources: I have been using GoogleBooks searches so far, but expect to move on to other resources eventually (JSTOR and RILM are both very useful). The main problem so far is that most of the items I have encountered are specialized books on band literature, which feeds directly into the problem I have described: they will tell me about the biggest frogs in their own small pond, but do not attempt to place the works in the larger context of 20th-century music generally. The one notable exception I have found is the book by Battisti, though he ventures only to evaluate Miaskovsky's Symphony No. 19 in such a broader context.
As for evaluating symphonies, I don't see why the 21st century should be any different from earlier ones. We will of course have to wait a few years before we can gain the perspective we have presently got on, say, the 18th century. Subjectivity is not the only basis we have, either, as you will see if you follow up the sources I have provided on the Schoenberg Chamber Symphony No. 1, and the five symphonists who best reflect 20th-century temporal concepts. Note that neither of these sources claims to take such a simplistic point of view as finding "the best" symphonies of the century. This might be a legitimate approach for "best lemon sherbet in Los Angeles" or "best four-wheel-drive vehicle for less than $35,000", but when it comes to comparing symphonies in the diversity of styles we have had around us now for a hundred years or more, it really is like comparing apples and oranges.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 17:21, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
Thank you, Jerome, I will try to find some sources sometime.
And I think we need to establish something. Are concert band symphonies unusual or novel, or are they legitimate? How many compositions must exist for a medium for it to move from "novel" to an established position? I can probably easily list over 100 symphonies for concert band composed since the mid 1900s. Have there been that many percussion ensemble symphonies or piano symphonies or choir symphonies composed in that timeframe? Saxophilist (talk) 18:39, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
This sounds as if you think you are arguing against me, but the opposite is the case. No, indeed, concert band symphonies are neither unusual or novel—at least not today. (Before 1932 may have been a different matter, and in the context of 1840, of course, Berlioz's Grand symphonie stands out as a novelty.) This is precisely my point: why are we singling out band symphonies for special mention at all? If there are significant symphonies that happen to have been written for band, then by all means let us seek out reliable sources that explain why they are especially notable examples of the form. If their importance depends solely on the fact that they are better than other symphonies written for band, then I would say they are not worthy of inclusion here. The same would apply to symphonies for string orchestra or jazz band. When we get down to symphonies for percussion orchestra, we really are talking about a novelty. As far as I am aware, there is only one such symphony, the one by Charles Wuorinen. Although I imagine some percussion enthusiast may come along shortly to inform me otherwise, I doubt very much that any competitors are likely to challenge the Wuorinen work for "best in its class". Similarly, there are not many symphonies written for the piano, so here there is some excuse of mentioning them as a novelty. If such works also have made important contributions to the development of the idea of what a symphony is or can be, either because or in spite of the medium for which they are composed, then all the better. Band symphonies, by contrast, will either stand or fall on their quality not as "band music", but as symphonies, and must therefore compete in the same arena as symphonies written for orchestra.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:10, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

Jerome, I understand your point, and it's a very good point indeed. However, I would say that a significant amount of symphonies being composed for an ensemble other than the orchestra is an important development in the symphony form. Do you disagree? And I feel that mentioning some examples of this ensemble is worthwhile to the article. Saxophilist (talk) 07:06, 31 December 2014 (UTC)

Sheer numbers do not impress me very much, no. Please read the paragraph I recently added about the significance of Beethoven for the symphony after the beginning of the 19th century. The whole point is that, prior to Beethoven, symphonies were two-a-penny in most composers' output (or more like, two-dozen-a-penny). Beethoven changed this in a profound way, so that ever after a symphony is a summation of a composer's ability at that point in his career, demonstrating utmost skill in composing large-scale works. Many have attempted to match Beethoven, only a few have emerged with honour (perhaps none with complete success). There have been some who have reverted to the factory model of cranking out hundreds of symphonies, with the predictable result in terms of quality. Many thousands of symphonies have been composed since Beethoven, only a few are worth mentioning in this article. Tell me which ones those are, and if some of them happen to have been written for band, very well, then, please do mention them. But spare me the ones written for band only because the composer thought he had a better chance of getting his music performed in that medium. These do neither their composers nor the band medium any honour.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 07:30, 31 December 2014 (UTC)
A further thought: The rise of the band symphony is a matter of real importance for the article Concert band, since the shift from a repertory consisting primarily of popular and light music in the 19th and early 20th century (predominantly marches, but also waltzes, schottisches, polkas, cakewalks, medleys, and transcriptions of popular opera overtures) to one that includes more serious forms of concert music is important for the performing medium. In order for the mere statistical facts to be of any importance for this article, it would be necessary to put them into context by documenting also the relative numbers of orchestral symphonies (I don't have the data, but it is my impression that the sheer number of symphonies overall composed per decade increased enormously over the first half of the 20th century), string-orchestra symphonies, organ symphonies, etc. It is only in such a context that the numbers of band symphonies might become meaningful in themselves. Considering the scope and focus of this article (and every article and book on the symphony of which I am aware), I suspect that a statistical sieving of this sort would require an article of its own. The alternative would be expansion of this article by about three orders of magnitude, in order to deal even-handedly with symphonies in all media by composers on the level of the ones currently mentioned as distinguished band-symphony composers (e.g., Persichetti, Giannini, Reed, de Meij), which of course should include the many 18th- and 19th-century composers of comparable importance. I do not think that such an expansion would serve the reader of this article well, though separate articles could be created for readers interested in, say, 20th-century German symphonies (few of which are important enough to stand beside Mahler, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Martinů, Davies, or even Miaskovsky), or 19th-century Scandinavian ones.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 17:38, 31 December 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps you missed my point. Prior to the mid-1900s, symphonies were almost exclusively something written for orchestra, with only a small number of examples for other mediums. Then, starting in the mid-1900s, a significant number of symphonies started to appear for something other than orchestra, namely, the concert band. This signaled a change in the symphony form; it went from something written for orchestra almost exclusively to something more accepting of other ensembles. Saxophilist (talk) 19:36, 31 December 2014 (UTC)
How does this contribute to changing the form of the symphony? Does sonata-allegro form cease to be the basis of at least opening movements, for example? Is the concept of the two-dimensional symphony developed further by the symphonies that are scored for winds and percussion alone? I think I must be missing your point, or perhaps you are missing mine. If a whole lot of really bad symphonies written for clarinet choir should suddenly appear, is this a significant event for the history of the symphony? I think not. Put another way, what is a symphonic band but an orchestra that omits the string section and doubles the clarinets to compensate?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 20:24, 31 December 2014 (UTC)
Didn't you say something along the lines of the symphony being closely linked to it's instrumentation? Isn't a deviation from the standard instrumentation a new development for the symphony? I do understand your point. You want to mainly focus on the actual music, while I think evolutions in instrumentation is worthy of mention.
And no, a concert band is not an orchestra without strings and double the clarinets. The concert band has significantly more winds, and a larger variety of winds. Orchestras usually do not use the saxophone family or euphoniums. Orchestras also generally do not have a full complement of clarinets. A standard otchestra has two soprano clarinets and occasionally a bass clarinet. The concert band, on the other hand, generally has 10+ clarinets of various sizes, typically 6-9 Bb clarinets, and at least one bass clarinet. Others, such as the Eb clarinet, the alto clarinet, and the contra-alto clarinet or contrabass clarinet are also common. Also, concert bands generally use double the trumpets and tubas that the orchestra uses. Saxophilist (talk) 06:22, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
I do not recall ever saying anything about the symphony being closely linked to its instrumentation. It is true that people generally do tend to use the word "symphony" to refer not to the form but to an orchestra of the usual 19th-century makeup.
I don't understand how the concert band is not essentially the same thing as an orchestra. The saxophones and doubling clarinets simply replace the strings. There is no fundamental re-structuring of the timbres, registration, or spatialization inherent in moving from the symphony orchestra with strings (and only optional saxophones and euphoniums) and the concert band without strings (and mainly optional double reeds). Mainly, though, I do not see any growth of the symphony, as represented by the most important early 20th century composers of the form (Mahler and Sibelius), and those composers of symphonies after 1932 (the year of Miaskovsky's 19th Symphony), that has anything at all to do with instrumentation. Please give me an example to the contrary.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 08:02, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
Here are some quotes from you on your talk page that you made during our earlier discussion:
"but for the rest it gives the false impression that the form is not associated with any particular musical medium."
"Ask anyone on the street what a symphony is, and I will bet you good money they will say it is a piece of music for orchestra."
"all of which confirm that the usual assumption is that a symphony is an extended work for orchestra."
"a symphony is primarily a composition for orchestra,"
"so why should we conceal from the reader the fact that most people today regard the symphony as primarily an orchestral form of music?"
"As for the symphony not being defined by the instruments, I beg to differ, and I have got the New Grove, Harvard Dictionary of Music, the OED, and a few dozen other reliable sources on my side."
" I do agree that the lede should say all this, including the fact that it is a form ordinarily associated with the symphony orchestra."
Anyways, I think you get the idea. In all the above quotes, you are linking the symphony form with the orchestra. Saxophilist (talk) 07:13, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
The clarinets and saxophones don't necessarily replace the strings, though they may play some of the string parts when a concert band plays a transcription of an orchestral piece. No one ever said "Hey, lets make a new orchestral ensemble and replace the strings with 10 extra clarinets and add in some saxophones and euphoniums, and double the trumpets and tubas too." The concert band has it's own evolution of its instrumentation. Also, the melody in concert band pieces is often passed to many sections or groups of instruments in the ensemble. Though, I will say that an average person probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between an orchestra and a concert band if you played them multiple recordings (unless they knew what to listen for). And the double reeds aren't optional in concert bands. Every modern band piece I've come across includes the oboe and bassoon, and sometimes a cor anglais and contrabassoon as well. The oboe is especially important, as it often has solos. Saxophilist (talk) 07:24, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
OK, that is not quite what I meant, but I take your point. In any case, there is and has now been for some time mention that symphonies can and have been written for media other than the symphony orchestra, with special emphasis on concert bands. So why are you going on about it?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 17:05, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
Well, isn't that a development? Going from nigh-exclusively an orchestral form to being composed for other mediums as well in significant numbers (mainly the concert band). Saxophilist (talk) 08:30, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
Anyways, I've been working on a "Concert band symphonies" page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Saxophilist/sandbox) as suggested to supplement this one. It's mainly a list so far. Feel free to make some suggestions. Saxophilist (talk) 08:30, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
Sure, that is a development, and one that is covered adequately in this article as it stands. The concert-band symphonies article should have a hyphen in the title (for the unit modifier) but beyond that sounds like a good idea, since it is a legitimate place to discuss such things as "best band symphonies" regardless of where they may rank in the field of symphonies generally. I imagine you have already given some thought about the best way of relating this to the list of concert band literature.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 21:09, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
Thank you! I think I'll entitle the article "Symphonies for concert band". Does that work well? And why would it need a hyphen (symphonies for concert-band)? I don't think I've come across it worded that way before. And yes, the article is quite good how it stands in regards to non-symphoy orchestra symphonies. Saxophilist (talk) 23:22, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
You are welcome. I like "Symphonies for concert band" better, and in that form it does not use a hyphen. When used as an appositive modifier, "open compounds" (that is, groups of two or more words spelled separately but together describing a single thing) require a hyphen because they are being used as what is called a "unit modifier". This means that the two (or more) words together modify a following one. The classic example is "a fast sailing ship" compared to "a fast-sailing ship". The former is a ship powered by the wind capable of rapidity; the latter is a ship of any sort that happens at the moment to be moving at a high speed. The three-word succession "concert band symphonies" is not quite so ambiguous, but without the hyphen technically means band symphonies intended for performance in concerts, rather than symphonies composed for ensembles called "concert bands". This punctuation refinement is explained as MOS:HYPHEN.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 00:25, 4 January 2015 (UTC)
Thank you! That makes very good sense. Saxophilist (talk) 06:14, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
You are welcome. Such matters are refinements that most people care little about, but fall into the same category as the grocer's apostrophe. Readers who do understand the difference will notice them, and will not easily forgive you for their abuse. You might enjoy reading MOS:DASH, too, when you have a spare moment.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 06:36, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

TAFI setup[edit]

Find sources: "Symphony" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR · free images · wikipedia library Find sources: Gnews · Gnewspapers · Gbooks · Gscholar · NYT · Wikipedia Reference Search Bananasoldier (talk) 04:55, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

Citations[edit]

Can people stop demanding citations of dates for each symphony if the article linked to begins with a date and footnote? The "improvement" is adding many "citation needed" tags where a relevant citation is easily found in an accompanying article, but isn't itself necessary for a history of the symphony. Thanks! -- Michael Scott Cuthbert (talk) 19:46, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
There are and have been no such demands, though placing "citation needed" tags with precision is difficult in these cases. In fact, I put editorial notes on each of them reading "Source verifying notability needed", since there is doubt in my mind that the items in question are symphonies of sufficient importance to mention in the article at all. There is an extended discussion further up this talk page about this.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 22:06, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
Definitely quite a few are unnotable (in the context of a broad, but brief, history of the symphony) and should be removed from this article. Thanks. -- Michael Scott Cuthbert (talk) 07:41, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
And, as I cautioned, the lede statement you removed has now been restored.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 05:37, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

Inline citations linked to notes section[edit]

I like the article formatted with inline citations (linked to a Notes section), because this lists the works cited in the article directly above the Sources section, making for much easier reference compared to having to scroll up and down, back and forth, from the article's body to the sources section. I had performed this before, but it was reverted per WP:CITEVAR. Since the citations have been reinstated (by other editor(s)), placing this notice here per WP:CITEVAR to establish consensus for the change. Pinging involved editors: Qwertyxp2000, Bananasoldier, DutchTreat, Antandrus, Jerome Kohl. NORTH AMERICA1000 20:37, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Support – I support the use of inline citations (linked to a notes section), per the above. NORTH AMERICA1000 20:37, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support – I support the use of inline citations due to the number of repeated sources and getting the balloon help over each one allows for the reader to see the annotated text without scrolling to the bottom. DutchTreat (talk) 20:44, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose – I would like to be able to support this statement, but it is plain that the expression "inline citation" is being misunderstood or misused. parenthetical references are inline citations, just as much as SFN or full-footnote citation are. With due respect, using such footnotes does not make checking references easier, but rather more difficult since it make a three-point click necessary. The preferable solution is to link the inline (Harvard) citations directly to the alphabetical list of sources. This is the way the references in this article were for quite some time, before Opus33 objected to the "sea of blue" phenomenon (see the consensus discussion from last December, above), and I agreed to remove the links. I am perfectly willing to listen to arguments for restoring the links, but I see no reason to complicate the referencing with three-point clicks.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 20:52, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I have clarified my nomination by adding "(linked to a Notes section)" to it above, and added "linked to notes section" in the section header. NORTH AMERICA1000 22:19, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Pinging Opus33, overlooked previously, who was a major participant in the previous consensus discussion.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 00:58, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Modest support. Earlier, in the interest of collegiality (why provoke disputes over trivia?) I endorsed the Harvard-style references. But if there's an actual quasi-vote, as there seems to be now, I would say I'm in favor of footnotes. This is because I think they are audience-friendlier. Harvard-style references are good if the audience is a scholarly audience and is likely to be familiar with a fair number of the references being cited. But WP has more of a general-public audience. For them I suspect it is more important to be able to read the article text fluently, with minimal visual interruptions. No information is lost this way; the reader who cares to can click on the notes.
One other bit: WP authors are supposed to cite quite a bit more frequently in the text than scholarly authors; we get no benefit of the doubt and have to provide a citation for everything we say. This makes for quite a bit of clutter (visible in the Symphony article right now) if you use the Harvard system. Opus33 (talk)
  • If a consensus is emerging for footnotes versus the Harvard method, I will not oppose it. In general I don't like swapping out an existing style for another (ENGVAR, CITEVAR, etc.) just because of someone's preferences - but Opus makes a good point about the density of references and visual clutter. JK also makes a good point about the three-point clicks. However there does seem to be a trend on Wikipedia to increase the frequency of citations, so yes the footnote method does seem to be more reader-friendly. I'm open to persuasion either way. Antandrus (talk) 17:38, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Withdrawing opposition – I think I know when I'm outnumbered. Opus33's point about clutter is well taken, even if I still do not see how interposing another click level between the reader and the sources is supposed to increase clarity of reference. If making this otherwise cosmetic change to the references will facilitate resumption of work on the very real problems with this article, then let it be so. There are of course a number of other formatting options that might address the clarity issue better, and certainly the SFN template ought to be used instead of nesting HARV templates within "<ref></ref>" markup, which makes editing much more awkward and increases the likelihood of typos. One reason for the citation clutter, by the way, has been the insistence of some (mostly drive-by) edits in the past to insist on citations for every word in some paragraphs ("bassoon" comes to mind) instead of collecting the citations together at the customary place, at the end of the paragraph or, at least, waiting until the end of a sentence. In one case, an inline citation introducing a paragraph (this is the bassoon again) was deemed by someone not to be sufficient, and the same citation had to be duplicated at the end of the paragraph as well. This level of contentiousness has been matched only by the intensity of efforts to stuff the article with inessential list data, often with the whiff of promotionalism for minor composers of symphonies or personal causes. With an increased number of responsible editors regularly working on this article, I hope it will be possible to raise it from its only just-achieved C class to a level commensurate with the importance of its subject (an importance which itself is doubtless an attractant to the self-promoters and hobby-horse riders). Let us move ahead.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 17:14, 3 February 2015 (UTC)