Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis


School of Music


Music Composition

First Advisor

Reginald Bain


This study will examine the lasting effects of musical humor, exemplified by the symphonic Scherzi of Beethoven. In toying with expectations derived from established Classical Period models, Beethoven helped change formal and structural traditions. This change is apparent in the compositional choices made by future composers who emulated his clever manipulation of conventional patterns. After discussing the nature of musical humor, this study will examine Classical precedents, and the development and extensive imitation of Beethoven's symphonic Scherzo. Once the wit and humor of Beethoven's Scherzi became standard methods of composition, the amusing qualities were stripped away as the unexpected became expected. However, the imitation and replication of Beethoven's humorous techniques shifted the perceived boundaries of the stylistic traditions, and a new paradigm was formed.