- an elaborate instrumental composition in three or more movements, similar in form to a sonata but written for an orchestra and usually of far grander proportions and more varied elements.
- an instrumental passage occurring in a vocal composition, or between vocal movements in a composition.
- an instrumental piece, often in several movements, forming the overture to an opera or the like.
Origin of symphony
OTHER WORDS FROM symphonypre·sym·pho·ny, noun, plural pre·sym·pho·nies.
Words nearby symphony
SYMPHONY VS. ORCHESTRA VS. PHILHARMONIC
What’s the difference between a symphony, an orchestra, and a philharmonic?
The most common (and general) term is orchestra. Most large orchestras include many different instruments and classes of instruments, including strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion.
The word symphony primarily refers to a complex, multipart musical composition (like Beethoven’s fifth symphony), but it’s also a short way of referring to a symphony orchestra—a large orchestra, the kind that performs symphonies. (Smaller orchestras—those with about 25 people—are often called chamber orchestras). As a noun, the word philharmonic can refer to a symphony orchestra or to the organization that sponsors it (sometimes called a philharmonic society, in which philharmonic is used as an adjective). The word orchestra most commonly refers to the group of musicians, but it can also refer to the space reserved for them, usually the front part of the main floor (sometimes called the orchestra pit).
Both symphony and philharmonic are sometimes used in the names of orchestras, as in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Here’s an example of symphony, orchestra, and philharmonic used correctly in a sentence.
Example: I’ve attended performances of this symphony by the Berlin Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between symphony, orchestra, and philharmonic.
Quiz yourself on symphony vs. orchestra vs. philharmonic!
Should symphony, orchestra, or philharmonic be used in the following sentence?
Mozart composed this _____ in 1786.
How to use symphony in a sentence
It was a matter of making sure that the instruments played together in symphony.Turning space images into music makes astronomy more accessible|Maria Temming|October 16, 2020|Science News
When we watch at home, when we watch with our attention scissored up by other screens, that amplitude of feeling is next to impossible, like listening to a symphony from outside the concert hall.
Last year, only 8 percent of pieces performed by major symphony orchestras were composed by women.
Now in his inbox he suddenly had evidence of the full symphony.
Blumenthal Center for the Performing ArtsThe Blumenthal Center for the Performing Arts is an excellent venue for local symphony, opera, dance & theater companies, as well as a film & photography museum.Charlotte : Celebrating Diversity in the Queen City|LGBTQ-Editor|August 11, 2020|No Straight News
If Japanese whisky is like a symphony, then I am a contented listener.Watch Out, Scotland! Japanese Whisky Is on the Rise|Kayleigh Kulp|November 16, 2014|DAILY BEAST
And the Marc show where the only song was Bittersweet Symphony.It's Who You Know: The Power Players of New York Fashion Week|Barbara Ragghianti|September 3, 2014|DAILY BEAST
It runs as a polyphonic symphony compared to the simple percussion section of the heart or the synchronized cellos of the liver.
But seriously, what do you get when mix the Seattle Symphony with Sir Mix-A-Lot?Psy and Snoop Dogg’s ‘Hangover,’ World Cup Puppy, and More Viral Videos|The Daily Beast Video|June 15, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Members of the San Francisco Symphony orchestra make $160,000 a year.
He directed the Ninth Symphony, and played twice himself with orchestral accompaniments.
Then came two pieces by the orchestra; next, my three solos in a row, and a symphony of Haydn closed the programme.
One year he was carried away by Beethovens Eighth Symphony, the next he pronounced it very nice, but nothing more.
In consequence of his illness, Tchaikovsky was unable to finish the symphony during the summer.
His symphony was severely criticised, rejected, and pronounced unworthy of performance.
British Dictionary definitions for symphony
Derived forms of symphonysymphonic (sɪmˈfɒnɪk), adjectivesymphonically, adverb
Word Origin for symphony
Cultural definitions for symphony
An extended musical composition for orchestra in several movements, typically four. Among the composers especially known for their symphonies are Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Franz Josef Haydn, Gustav Mahler, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.