Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 5-2018


Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky was a great composer of the Romantic Era, and is admired as much—if not more—today as he was during his lifetime. Despite his successes, Tchaikovsky is seen as rather inept in adhering to symphonic forms. This paper contrasts the first and last symphonies that Tchaikovsky wrote, and compares the First Symphony’s adherence to symphonic forms and the Sixth Symphony’s weaker adherence to symphonic form. While both symphonies are well written, the Sixth Symphony is a much more emotional, dramatic, and skillfully crafted work. This is in part due to Tchaikovsky no longer feeling that he needed to follow classical conventions to the letter, and giving himself more freedom to write in ways that suited his compositional tendencies.