Musical Complexity Made Clear!

Here is a brief passage, consisting of seven insrumental voices,  from the second movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony:

Line Separator plain .jpg

The New York Symphony Playing Beethoven Symphony No. 5

(Click the image for a lightbox view)

Line Separator plain .jpg

 

Voice One: just the cellos playing pizzicato:

cello pizzicato.jpg
Line Separator plain .jpg

Voice Two: added violas three notes above

 Cellos and violas bowing

Cellos and violas bowing

Line Separator plain .jpg

Voices Three and Four: added bassoon and clarinet octave leaps

CLARINET-AND-BASSOON.jpg
Line Separator plain .jpg

Voice Five: added double bass melody

 Chicago Symphony Orchestra Bass Section

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Bass Section

Line Separator plain .jpg

Voice Six: added second violin melody

Second Violins.jpg
Line Separator plain .jpg

Voice Seven: added first violins, completing the ensemble

First Violins.jpg


Line Separator plain .jpg
 First measures of the passage

First measures of the passage

 

Thanks to Benjamin Zander for this illuminating exercise.