1778: Haydn: Symphony No. 65 in A major (MIXED METER), age 46

Start with this: It is one of the most delightful 3 minutes of music I’ve ever heard in my life. When I heard it I started smiling, and then I laughed, because it is in every way something I would expect right now, not 243 years ago.

Fascinating mixed meter:

Instead of being in 3/4, which every minuet was, you would have be a professional dancer for this because it keeps switching to 4/4. And yet Haydn wrote the whole thing in 3/4, so that four of his 3/4 measure sound like three in 4/4, and by looking at his score you can see that this is exactly what he had in mind. This is call a hemiola, and it’s amazingly effective. Today those bars would be written in 4/4 time. Listen to this. Try to count in 3.

You won’t be able to do it. That’s the trick, and that’s what makes this so cool.

Movement: 3 Menuetto and Trio

Adam Fischer:

  1. Vivace e con spirito
  2. Andante
  3. Menuetto and Trio
  4. Finale: Presto

Instruments:

  • two oboes
  • two horns
  • strings

Nickname:

This symphony has none, and why some symphonies have nicknames and others do not is a mystery. But since I remember things better with a “tag”, I gave it one – Mixed Meter. I could also have used: weird rhythm, tricky rhythm, hemiola, and so on. But this gives me something to use in the future, because I will not remember that this is #65, or that the key is A major.

1 thought on “1778: Haydn: Symphony No. 65 in A major (MIXED METER), age 46”

  1. There is something so natural to the rhythm that the mixed meter is both not noticeable but it is. Above all, I needed and enjoyed the cheeriness on this day.

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