Symphonie Fantastique: Movement 5

Symphonie Fantastique: Fifth Movement – “The Witch's Sabbath”

Listen for:

  • During the first minute of music, which instruments (or instrument family) are used the most? Pay close attention to the use of techniques like tremolo and pizzicato (see the Vocabulary handout). Discuss briefly how these techniques are played.
  • In the second listening excerpt, which instruments(s) do you think would create the “bell” sound? What mood does the sound create – is it somber or upbeat? Why? The theme (see Vocabulary handout), which Berlioz called the “idée fixe” or fixed idea, appears here – which instrument(s) plays it? What mood does it create? Do you think it would have the same effect if was played by a different instrument(s), such as the flute? Why or why not?
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