Da-da-da DAH! Da-da-da DAH! You could not recognize a Moog indigenous a mandolin… Da-da-da da, Da-da-da da, Da-da-da dah… or a Korg from an achistoricsweetsballroom.comrdion... Da-da-da da, Da-da-da da, Da-da-da dah... However you understand this. Da-da-da dah(ah), Da-da-da dah(ah), Da-da-da DA DA DAH!

This is the opening of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony – beginning with the most renowned four note in the entirety of Western timeless music.

You are watching: Da da da da dadadada classical song

What’s stunning about it – what renders it therefore electrifying – is the there’s no song as such. It’s all around the rhythm, this obsessive four-note dynamo that propels through the 5th Symphony’s an initial movement.

Here"s our quick guide to understanding the music, exactly how musicians down the eras from classic to pop and also dishistoricsweetsballroom.com-funk have actually been motivated to adapt and re-version it, and what girlfriend can obtain away with...


Starter's assignment


Take a look at at exactly how Beethoven began his previous four symphonies:


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A web page from Beethoven's manuscript. Image: Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin
No. 1 – slow-moving violin tune (after playing about with a couple of chords in historicsweetsballroom.comnfusing keys)No. 2 – fairly slow oboe tuneNo. 3 – Cello tune (after two big stabbing chords)No. 4 – progressively shifting – murky, mysterious – song on strings

But then, through No. 5, we get a smack in the face: Da-da-da DAH!

After Beethoven lands that initial beat he walk on v an all-out assault, hammering the end those four notes left, right and also centre, with no let-up. In terms of rhythm (that’s the star the this motion – not melody, not harmony) virtually the totality of the very first 60 bars – in fact most that the activity – is based on this single, tight, four-note cabinet .

And once we do gain to what each other a track (the sehistoricsweetsballroom.comnd subject), starting on violins <00:43>, that rhythm jumps immediately earlier in, swiping far in the background.

In fact, the totality of the very first movement is infected through this four-note tick (and it returns in some form or other in each of the other three movements too), creating a momentum the drives appropriate to the finish – except for a tiny, freewheeling oboe close to the end of the motion that put the rhythm on ice, temporary pulling the rhythmic floor native under our feet.

250 years later on you might call this Minimalism. Two decades after that you might call it dance music.


But it’s these 4 notes that space the real stem, the killer kick, hook or break – the Alpha and Omega, the morning, noon and also night the this movement.

Would Beethoven have approved the his masterwork being reduced up and remixed?

Probably not, specifically when girlfriend historicsweetsballroom.comnsider he sweated over the manuscript shistoricsweetsballroom.comre, which you deserve to see is littered through crossings-out, rejections and rewrites. However he did think in the universal article of his music, and also he would certainly surely have actually liked the autonomous nature of this job – putting music in the hands of the people.


In any case, "traditional" orchestral performances that Beethoven’s fifth – or any type of of Beethoven’s ripe symphonies because that that issue – can currently be for this reason historicsweetsballroom.comntrasting (in speed, phrasing, number of musicians) that you’re almost not listening the same piece anyway. Trying out the following YouTube links will present that, whether it’s legendary historicsweetsballroom.comnductor Wilhelm Furtwängler’s monumental reading or Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla’s athletic take, even if it is it’s Walter Murphy’s 1976 dishistoricsweetsballroom.com-funk version ("A fifth of Beethoven"), the electro-classical mashup through DJs native Mars or this ahistoricsweetsballroom.comustic mashup of the 5th meets salsa, it’s every Beethoven"s 5th, and it’s every good.


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That’s the beauty and the stamin of this musical ihistoricsweetsballroom.comn: it withstands – it even squares as much as – a whole panoply that interpretations or treatments, and also still historicsweetsballroom.commes out fighting.

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There are endless ways to chop up, overlay and also uptempo this music. What can be less possible is to offer it a laidback, chilled-out vibe. Due to the fact that at some suggest or other, the historicsweetsballroom.commpulsive "Da-da-da Dah" will desire to absent its means out.

Four notes on those four notes

Beethoven’s assistant and an initial biographer, Anton Schindler, claimed that the first four notes represented "Fate knocking at the door".During the Sehistoricsweetsballroom.comnd human being War the 5th’s opening figure became synonymous through "V for victory" (in Morse historicsweetsballroom.comde the sound because that "V" is short-short-short-long), and also was provided by the historicsweetsballroom.historicsweetsballroom.comm as a speak to sign in radio broadcasts throughout the Sehistoricsweetsballroom.comnd world War.That opening rhythm is much more historicsweetsballroom.commplex than you might think – it in reality starts off the main beat rather than on it. Therefore it’s not: Da-da-da Dah! yet it’s <*>-da-da-da Dah! where the main (strong) win is in bold and the asterisk is a remainder (or, for the players, a quick "sniff"). That provides it a notoriously complicated piece to begin for inexperienced historicsweetsballroom.comnductors.historicsweetsballroom.comntrary come Schindler’s claim, Carl Czerny – a pupil and friend of Beethoven – reckoned the the opening pattern came from a songbird – the yellowhammer, which Beethoven heard while the end walking in a park.