In What Aspects Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique is Influential to the Development of Music in the Romantic Era?
Wong Shing Yu (08691051)
Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique is influential to the development of music in the Romantic era in three aspects. The first is the use of the signature motive “idée fixe”. Berlioz wrote in his essay “De l’imitation musicale”:
The aim of the second kind of imitation, as we have said before, is to reproduce the intonations of the passions and the emotions, and even to trace a musical image, or metaphor, of objects that can only be seen.
Although thematic materials are already observed in Beethoven’s “Pastoral” 6th, Berlioz’s procedure ...view middle of the document...
The impact can also be seen in Berlioz’s introduction of numerous innovative instrument-playing methods – an off-stage oboe to imply distance, violins played with the wood of their bows to invoke terror, and a strikingly modern minimalist passage of chords for four solo tympani to suggest echoing thunder. Also important is Berlioz’s specificity of instructions – when to use mallets of different heads for drums, when to place and remove mutes, all notated on the score. Quoted from the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musician:
The influence of his orchestration has been immense, directly upon Liszt, Wagner, the Russians, Strauss and Mahler, but more profoundly by his emancipation of the procedure of orchestration.
To conclude, Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique had significant impact on the development of program music, modern orchestration and use of music materials (Dies irae) in the Romantic era.
1. Erin Brooks, 2003. The Dies Irae (“Day of Wrath”) and the Totentanz (“Dance of...