Talk:List of symphonies by key

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This page is ginormous. Is it possible to split it up into one page for each key? Isopropyl 04:54, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

I have thought about breaking this article into a series of disambiguation pages (for example, to distinguish between the numerous examples of symphonies in C major which have dedicated articles in Wikipedia). But a person wishing to research the tonality of the classical symphony might find it more convenient to have the symphonies available in a list on one page. Defrosted 23:53, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
I understand the convenience aspect, but I believe that a researcher would find several pages organized in a clear manner much more useful than one (exceedingly) large page. Isopropyl 23:57, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

Propose we split this page up a little. How are things in music usually divided? Would it make more sense to A-D, E-G, or major-minor? I have no musical knowledge. Isopropyl 18:36, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

Does this list make sense??[edit]

Many symphonies have 4 movements that are not all in the same key. Any clarification?? Georgia guy 20:40, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

Yes, commentary should be added to this list about the relationship between musical key and symphonic structure, although the main exposition should really belong to the main entry for symphony. The symphonies in this list have been sorted according to the nominal key in their titles (e.g., Beethoven's Fifth is Symphony No. 5 in C minor, op. 67). You have rightly observed that composers (luckily) do not write every movement of their symphonies in the same key; they modulate, even within an individual movement, to shape the structure of the piece as well as to leaven our interest. Although a symphony may begin in the nominal key and may not finish in or even return to it after the first movement, the nominal key remains important for establishing harmonic bearings and influences the choice of destination key as well as the route that is taken to reach it. The most common changes of key involve jumping from the original tonic to the dominant or subdominant, or switching between relative minor and relative major keys. Modulation to distantly related keys can be achieved smoothly through a gradual succession of related keys, such as through the circle of fifths.
Many composers, especially in the Romantic period, associated certain keys with specific emotional content and their symphonies traced the heroic journey from tempestuous beginnings, written in a sad minor key, through to the triumphant finales that typically appeared in the parallel major key of the nominal minor. For instance: Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 begins with and bears the titular key of E minor. After moving through the related keys of D major and then A major in the next two movements, the symphony ends exuberantly in E major, the parallel of E minor [1].
Hope this explanation helps. (My music theory needs much improvement). Defrosted 23:53, 25 February 2006 (UTC)


Was going to include a few works- the Myaskovsky 17, for G sharp minor, for example, but I see that this is supposed to be a list of famous works. Fair enough. The Dukas, the Dvorak 2nd, the Haydn 46, the Prokofiev 2nd-4th and 7th are debatable (the Prokofiev 2nd-4th and 6th and 7th are a big drop in -popularity- and recognition below the 1st and 5th, as are quite a few of the symphonies listed, and the Dukas is practically obscure, though not so much so as the Myaskovsky.) Schissel | Sound the Note! 03:27, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

I added the Haydn 46. I admit it is obscure, but it felt that each key needed at least one representative. (Shostakovich 2 is B flat by and -- though I haven't seen what the actual score says). I think that explains some of the other obscure choices for the more obscure keys as well. I think this list used to be more 'complete' rather than 'famous', but it got cluttered with the dozens of symphonies in C and D that someone decided to pare it down. It doesn't matter to me which direction this page goes (though it might get unwieldy listing a dozen Haydn symphonies each for C, D & G). DavidRF 06:32, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Hrm. As to Shostakovich sym 2, gives H-dur, as does (an den Oktober in H-dur). (Of course, practically all the works that I know on the list, I either don't know or both like and find notable- those are just different questions than the ones that I thought were on the table. But yes, thanks for the clarification. The Haydn 46 is on the radio enough- or has been; I don't know where that's going... that a "typical classical radio listener" can say that they've heard it several times, the Dukas and Korngold less so- though perhaps also the Glazunov 4 and 5 also, lately. (And Glazunov 1- once his most famous symphony- gives an extra E major to that hardly over-populated category, as would a symphony of Monn's if it were more often played, of course, Haydn 29 (1765) and Schubert 7 likewise. And then there's Rott's! (Ok, and several others...))


add very well-known symphonies to this page to show the distribution (F major more common than that surely?), and symphonies (a long list, not just the few that show up in A minor, say, but relatively notable ones that have had 2 or 3 recordings or enough mentions in reference works) in individual pages eg List of symphonies in A minor &cie. Schissel | Sound the Note! 06:58, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

(hrm. It's probably true that the most famous Haydn C minor symphony is no. 95... by a nose, since that one isn't very well-known either, I think... *opens window and calls for more performances of no. 52*) Schissel | Sound the Note! 01:52, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Plus, as influential and important as Haydn 39 is, his most "famous" G minor symphony is almost surely "The Hen" (which is certainly fun, but I quickly forget the stormy beginning once the clucking starts). Yes, its going to be tough to maintain this page if its only 'famous' symphonies. Since the "ginormous" comment above motivated paring down the page, someone went back and (re-)added early Dvorak and non-organ Saint Saens, lesser Shostakovich as well as stuff like Mozart 16 and 20. I'm leaning towards going back to complete, but how would we make the page more navigable? DavidRF 13:34, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
I say we split off for the most often used keys but keep a representative sample here. So C major and C minor should definitely get their own list pages, but not A-flat major and G-sharp minor. As a matter of fact, I'm gonna get started now. Anton Mravcek 21:53, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

B-flat major timpani[edit]

The discussion of whether Michael Haydn or Brother Joe "gets credit" for the first timpani parts in a B-flat major symphony makes no sense. Whether the timpani was written as a transposing instrument or at pitch is of no musical consequence whatsoever, and most likely the decision of a copyist or publisher, not the composer. If Michael Haydn's symphony in B-flat is the first to use timpani in that key, then it's the first to use timpani in that key, end of story. (talk) 00:09, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

D flat major[edit]

Rangstrom's symphony no. 3 is in D-flat major, for one thing (I think???)... (though often mis-listed as D-sharp major.)

Erwin Dressel's (1909-1972) Symphonie Des-dur was published in 1928 by Friedrich Hofmeister in Leipzig. Schissel | Sound the Note! 16:00, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

If Rangstrom and Dreßel are both in the New Grove, their D-flat symphonies need to be listed in here. Though the fact that Dreßel's was published by Hofmeister (the grandson of the Hofmeister who rejected Mozart's piano quartets?) might make him notable enough even if Grove omits him. Anton Mravcek (talk) 21:39, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Dreßel isn't, and Rangstrom may be; but that's known as "shifting the goalposts"- if one states something is (probably) the "only D-flat major symphony" one means only, not "only D-flat major symphony by a notable composer". (Rangstrom is not a license-plate vanity composer, in any case; while google searches are not reliable measures of notabily either- there are better- "ture rangstrom" gives 22,000 hits, the second and fourth of them, not unexpectedly, Wikipedia entries. I should remember to include his second (Mitt land) and fourth (Invocation, for organ and orchestra) in the List of symphonies in D minor entry where all symphonies by notable composers do belong, though... knew I'd forgotten that.

The two recordings I know of, of no. 3 are on cpo and Musica Sveciae.) Schissel | Sound the Note! 05:42, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

So I should have been more specific. I thought the way I had worded it was specific enough to preclude someone from saying, "Oh, I'll write a D-flat major symphony right now and list it here!"
As it happens, Dressel is listed in the New Grove. Jindřichův Smith (talk) 21:54, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

I will admit that last was a guess on my part that I should not have made... certainly the Oxford Compact Dictionary includes and omits by the oddest criteria, or so it seems to me (though then again it's the compact dictionary.) If Rangström isn't I would be more surprised. (A quick look reveals too that the 3rd symphony, 1915, of Paul Büttner (üttner) is also in D-flat...) but while he's de-Notable (to borrow phrasing particularities from mathematics) he's not considered en-notable as yet, though if someone translates the de article, that might change. His 4th symphony is recorded, but not the 3rd.) Schissel | Sound the Note! 23:31, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

Another: Robert Farnon's first (of three?) from 1941. ( Schissel | Sound the Note! 02:31, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Omitted modes do not default to major in the 20th century (more an issue in the sublists)[edit]

The list is incomplete in a fashion - as of the mid-20th century if not earlier, symphonies were inscribed (published and otherwised) as "Symphony in C" whether they were in C major, C minor, or C (pick a mode), for instance. (Egon Wellesz symphony no. 1 "in C" op 62 is in C minor if a bit extended in harmony, by any reckoning; outer movements both are mainly centered around that mode. Mislisted as C major in some sources but the score, at least- not sure about the manuscript alas- headed (first page, if I recall) "in C". Is it similarly w/ Shostakovich 15? Pizzetti symphony "in A", even Widor's much earlier first symphony "en fa"- is/may be similar cases. Schissel | Sound the Note! 17:39, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

"Op." (opus) spelled "op."[edit]

This doesn't only affect this page, of course, but I may as well start here. Wikipedia is the only place I have ever, ever seen "Op." spelled with a small "o", in the name of a work, e.g. Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor, op. 67. Is there a particular reason for this? Is it some sort of agreed policy/guideline? Can someone show me some reputable music publications where this is the style? It's not even done this way consistently in Wikipedia (although it seems to be on this page, at the moment), which says to me that many writers prefer "Op.", which has long been the standard format afaik. -- JackofOz (talk) 04:42, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Upper case Op. seems good to me, too. Antienne (talk) 23:29, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
There's no reason to capitalize "op.". Lower case is the default for scholarly sources on music, for example Grove's. Standard program style in professional settings also is to use lower case. (talk) 00:04, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

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