Beethoven's 9th Symphony and the 19th Century Orchestra

Experience forms of orchestral music

Join Harvard University faculty Thomas Forrest Kelly in this online course to discover Beethoven’s monumental 9th Symphony and other forms of orchestral music.

Featuring faculty from:
3 weeks
3-5 hours a week
Certificate Price
Program Dates
Start Beethoven's 9th Symphony today.

What You'll Learn

Ludwig van Beethoven’s 9th Symphony premiered in Vienna in 1824 and continues to be one of the most popular symphonies in the repertoire. The monumental symphony’s size and complexity stretch traditional instrumental forms to the breaking point, and its famous choral finale changed our view of orchestral music forever.

Harvard’s Thomas Forrest Kelly (Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music) guides learners through all four movements of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, highlighting aspects of symphonic form, describing Beethoven’s composition process, the rehearsals and premiere performance, and the work’s continued relevance today.

You will learn the basics of musical form and analysis, the genres and styles used and the circumstances of this symphony’s first performance and subsequent history. Learners in this course need not have any prior musical experience.

The course will be delivered via edX and connect learners around the world. In this course participants will:

  • Identify and describe the forms of 18th- and 19th- century orchestral music
  • Understand the instruments and voices of the orchestra and choir
  • Appreciate cultural context and performance circumstances of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony

Your Instructor

Thomas is the Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music at Harvard University. He received his B.A. from UNC-Chapel Hill, and his Ph.D. from Harvard. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an honorary citizen of the city of Benvento, and a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Artes et Lettres of the French Republic.

Ways to take this course

When you enroll in this course, you will have the option of pursuing a Verified Certificate or Auditing the Course.

A Verified Certificate costs $149 and provides unlimited access to full course materials, activities, tests, and forums. At the end of the course, learners who earn a passing grade can receive a certificate. 

Alternatively, learners can Audit the course for free and have access to select course material, activities, tests, and forums. Please note that this track does not offer a certificate for learners who earn a passing grade.

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