Definition of symphony in English:

symphony

noun

  • 1An elaborate musical composition for full orchestra, typically in four movements, at least one of which is traditionally in sonata form:

    ‘Beethoven's Fifth Symphony’
    • ‘This left Wilms with little time for composing, but four symphonies date from the last decade of the 18th century.’
    • ‘In the 1770s he began composing symphonies, concertos, operas and theater music.’
    • ‘A childhood prodigy, Nino Rota began as a conductor and composer of symphonies, ballets and operas, before writing scores for a large number of Italian and, later, Hollywood movies.’
    • ‘Like the Poco Allegretto of the composer's third symphony, the wistful melody of this movement gives the score poignancy that stamps it as one of the great creations of the romantic era.’
    • ‘Like other great composers he mastered a wide range of musical genres, including symphonies, concerti, film music, operas, program pieces and ballets such as Romeo and Juliet.’
    • ‘His 1781 discovery of the planet Uranus has overshadowed his musical compositions (18 symphonies, two viola and one oboe concerto, nine sonatas and various keyboard and vocal music).’
    • ‘It should be added that there's little reason to hear these four symphonies as a true cycle, or at least to digest them at a single sitting.’
    • ‘But before the last movement of the symphony, a solo for soprano, Mahler's musical realisation of a child's view of heaven, he discreetly opens his score.’
    • ‘For the dedication of the new capital of Brasilia in 1960 Jobim composed Brasilia, Sinfonia del Alvorada - a four movement symphony.’
    • ‘Both symphonies betray the composer's interest in nature and its cyclical patterns.’
    • ‘Joseph Haydn's Scherzandi are bite-size symphonies in four movements, each seven or eight minutes in length.’
    • ‘Since the Brahms symphony had four movements, each break was accompanied by enthusiastic newcomers clapping and then falling into silent confusion when few people joined them.’
    • ‘The work on the disc least like the others is the five movement symphony for chamber orchestra entitled In Autumn Days.’
    • ‘He was a prolific composer, writing symphonies, concertos, sonatas, and dramatic works.’
    • ‘I was looking for someone who could illustrate the connection between the third movement of the symphony and the song that is quoted in it.’
    • ‘Every note he wrote will be played, from the familiar string quartets, piano concertos, violin sonatas and symphonies to more obscure compositions, such as his 100 folk songs and cantatas.’
    • ‘The Czechs are over-endowed with great composers, but the symphony that stirs them most comes from a minor master.’
    • ‘After all, aren't the Beethoven symphonies central to our musical culture and universally popular for very good reasons?’
    • ‘Schumann's claim of a high degree of thematic ‘interrelatedness’ in the symphony's four movements is perhaps somewhat exaggerated.’
    • ‘To return to the musical analogy, the symphony sounds slightly different when played by different orchestras, even though the score is the same.’
    work of art, work, creation, artistic work, literary work, musical work, opus, oeuvre, piece, arrangement
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1historical An orchestral interlude in a large-scale vocal work.
    2. 1.2North American
      ‘the Boston Symphony’
      (especially in names of orchestras) short for symphony orchestra
      • ‘For example, when an audience is carried away by a great performance of a symphony, it is as if their minds are united together.’
      • ‘Now they play fifteen to twenty concerts a year together, while Misha plays ninety to 100 other engagements as soloist, chamber musician or with symphonies.’
      • ‘He now travels the world performing with renowned symphonies and conductors.’
      • ‘The centre will allow West Vancouver to host every kind of performance, from professional dance companies to the Vancouver symphony to theatre troupes.’
      • ‘Sprung from the remains of the bankrupt New Orleans Symphony, it is the only full-time symphony in America owned and operated by its members.’
      • ‘We don't want them showing up at the theater at the wrong time, or coming in anticipation of a circus when the symphony is playing.’
      • ‘He has also worked with symphonies and chamber groups from the Brooklyn Philharmonic to Zurich's Ensemble Fur Neue Musik.’
      • ‘Twenty-two months after I'd last seen him, Bellman came to San Francisco for a series of performances with the symphony.’
      • ‘Ryan and David were doing homework when Steve came in from his performance with the symphony.’
      • ‘The clunky beat suddenly gives way to a choir and symphony.’
      • ‘And the programme was a drama set over the day preceding the first public performance of the Eroica symphony.’
      • ‘His works have been performed by symphonies in Akron, Springfield and Cleveland, Ohio, as well as the Warsaw Philharmonic.’
    3. 1.3 Something regarded as a composition of different elements:
      ‘autumn is a symphony of texture and pattern’
      • ‘Its complex and lengthy finish is a symphony of flavours that seems born for chicken tikka.’
      • ‘Both serious wine connoisseurs, Graf and Rydman collaborated with the chairs and bistro moderne chef Philippe Schmidt on a symphony of food and wine that had patrons swooning.’
      • ‘I will let the image speak for itself, for it has already spoken volumes to my heart in a symphony of simplicity and raw beauty.’
      • ‘Last night was a symphony of exhaustion, earthquakes, and poor cooking decisions.’
      • ‘The leaves of the trees were of different colors, offering a symphony of tones that only I seemed to hear.’
      • ‘And so she did, watching in quiet disassociation as the sun began to rise over the distant trees, lighting the sky on fire with a symphony of reds and oranges.’
      • ‘In the tall, chapel-like gallery at the entrance, one gazed up, across and through the shimmering expanse of Summer Moon, a symphony of color, light and energy.’
      • ‘By the same token, few Wall Street firms would be thrilled with a home page that's a symphony of pink and lilac.’
      • ‘The sun was low leaving a fiery blush upon the land and a symphony of colors to the sky.’
      • ‘It's not the bikes that let us down; for under £200 it's possible to buy a sleek-looking number that is a symphony of titanium and tyre.’
      • ‘Her home is a symphony of old junk, as Sidhe's is a collage of flat spaces.’
      • ‘Modern ceramic Raku is a symphony of glazes, creating an oil-slick effect of colors.’
      • ‘In spring, the pond garden that will later be a symphony of deep purples, yellows, blues and reds is a pristine, almost bridal white.’
      • ‘We splashed under a symphony of 40 waterfalls and - my favourite - floated on a rubber tube along the quarter-mile lazy river ride.’
      • ‘Birds have not evolved yet but the air is filled will a symphony of croaks and calls of amphibians and insects.’
      • ‘‘Newspaper design should be a symphony of black, grey and white,’ I remember him saying.’
      • ‘The diversified, conflicting and discordant notes of contemporary society will over time be blended to create a symphony of unity and peace.’
      • ‘The decor of the chalet was a symphony of dark wood and white drapes.’
      • ‘In the Glasgow of my childhood I woke to a symphony of glass, metal and steam.’
      • ‘It was ‘heavenly’, described as, ‘A symphony of white and dark chocolate mousse, with mangosteen sorbet’.’

Origin

Middle English (denoting any of various instruments such as the dulcimer or the virginal): from Old French symphonie, via Latin from Greek sumphōnia, from sumphōnos harmonious, from sun- together + phōnē sound.

Pronunciation:

symphony

/ˈsɪmf(ə)ni/