A Greek word became Latin symphonĭa. The concept came to our language as symphony : a set of musical instruments and / or voices that sound simultaneously and accordingly.
By extension to this meaning, a symphony is called a composition created to be interpreted by a orchestra . Typically, a symphony is divided into four movements that differ from each other by the structure and the weather . There are, however, symphonies with another number of movements.
Symphonies, on the other hand, can be interpreted by different types of orchestras . There are some that are performed by more than a hundred musicians, while others can be performed by just a dozen.
The amount of musicians needed to perform a symphony has been changing throughout history; more precisely, it has increased, and this can be clearly seen when comparing a concert dedicated to the work of Haydn and another, to that of Gustav Mahler, for example, since for the first one a small chamber orchestra is enough, while for the second one one whose musicians are counted in hundreds may be necessary.
As expected, this has a significant impact on the character of the works and the sensations that music transmits to the listeners. While a single musician is enough to express from peace to anger, a war-inspired movement is more shocking the greater the number of performers.
Along the history , many composers achieved popularity thanks to the quality of their symphonies. One of them was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , who numbered 41 symphonies although he composed several more.
Also went down in history Ludwig van Beethoven , author of nine symphonies. The final movement of the "Ninth Symphony" , which includes fragments of the "Ode to joy" from Friedrich von Schiller , is one of the compositions most famous symphonic.
Johannes Brahms , Franz shubert , Gustav Mahler and Pyotr Tchaikovski They are other composers who achieved great recognition for their symphonies, which even today are usually performed by orchestras from all over the world. world in different concerts.
The concept of choral symphony , on the other hand, is a composition that has as interpreters a choir of singers, an orchestra and sometimes also a soloist. In general, these pieces have an appearance similar to that of the symphony, from a functional and structural point of view, and that is why they receive this name.
The first person to coin the term "choral symphony" was the celebrated French composer Hector Berlioz, one of the most prominent figures of the romanticism musical, who used him for the description of "Roméo et Juliette", for many considered his peak work.
The Ninth Symphony Beethoven, mentioned above, can be considered the direct predecessor of this type of symphony, since it is the first known work that gives the same importance to the human voice as to the rest of the instruments , in the context of a symphony, and this is seen in the writing of the melodies, but also in the quality and depth of the chosen text.
It should be noted that the idea of symphony is also used in other areas beyond the music , with reference to the harmony that exists between colors or, symbolically, at state of what works perfectly.
For example, in the field of cooking it is common to hear that a delicious dish is "a symphony of flavors for the palate", and this refers to the breadth of satisfactory sensations experienced by those who try it. Similarly, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, it is possible to describe a very nice picture or image as "a symphony of colors."