This is an archived article. Click here for current issue.
Symphony No. 7, 2nd Mov't Theme (Allegretto)
Ludwig van Beethoven, arr. James Hill

Download free scores (Print-friendly PDF format):
Two-part arrangement in C minor (C6 tuning - g, c, e, a)
Two-part arrangement in D minor (D6 tuning - a, d, f#, b)

Beethoven completed his seventh symphony in 1812. This is the theme from the second movement of the work. It's a powerful theme; a mix of hope and tragedy, elation and despair. Beethoven himself considered it one of his best works.

Activity #1:

Listen to (and watch) these two performances of this piece. How are the two performances similar? How are they different?

Berlin Philharmonic performance (enlarge)
Tafelmusik performance (enlarge)

Activity #2:

You'll notice that dynamic markings are not included in the score. Using the above performances as your guide, determine the correct dynamic markings for this theme.

Related Reading: Ludwig van Beethoven | What is a symphony?


Symphony No. 7, 2nd Mov't Theme:
Teaching Notes

View print-friendly PDF Teaching Notes (C6 tuning - g, c, e, a)
View print-friendly PDF Teaching Notes (D6 tuning - a, d, f#, b)

Focus On:

  1. Ensemble skills
  2. Note reading
  3. Tone and dynamics

Key Points:

  • Note that the original key of this piece is A minor. The theme has been transposed to a key that fits comfortably on the ukulele fretboard (that's why it doesn't sound right when you play along with the videos above!).

  • The marking "Allegretto" means "moderately fast."

  • Use the fleshy side of the thumb to create a warm, rich tone on every note and/or chord. Pick and strum at the "sweet spot" of the ukulele: where the neck and the body meet.

  • Use the first line of this arrangement (m. 1-8) as a sight-reading exercise. First, clap the rhythm of Uke I, then play as written at a moderate tempo. Do the same for Uke II.

  • This is not an arrangement for a beginner-level class. It is a rhythmically challenging theme with many accidentals. Moreover, the piece requires a certain musical and emotional maturity. Use your judgement when deciding if this is an appropriate piece for your class.

Additional Suggestions and Comments:

  • Once you've taught your class to play the two-part arrangement as written, challenge your most advanced students to arrange the theme for solo ukulele.

  • The beautiful melodic line in Uke II m. 17-33 includes both the longest (half note) and the shortest (32nd note) rhythmic values in this arrangment. In order to make the 32nd-note figures sound smooth, use the left-hand third finger to "hammer-on" the second note in each 32nd-note pair:

Click here to see this example in D6 tuning (a, d, f#, b).

James Hill is editor of Ukulele Yes! and co-author of Ukulele in the Classroom. His online video-lesson program, The Ukulele Way, is used by thousands of students around the world. Visit for more..