A Symphony is a major work for an orchestra, usually with 4 movements - (1) allegro, (2) lento, (3) minuet or scherzo, then (4) allegro or presto. It represents the culmination of the development of large scale orchestral works from the baroque, through the classical, up  to the romantic period. These movements provide contrasts, though in the later romantic works, there were often connecting themes or motifs uniting the movements.

The first movement of a classical symphony is in sonata form. The second, slow movement often uses several tranquil melodies. The third movement is often a minuet and trio, especially in the symphonies by Mozart and Haydn. Beethoven made this movement faster, and he called it a scherzo, meaning a joke. The fourth movement is sometimes in rondo form, or else it may be in sonata form like the first movement.

A few of the most famous symphonies of all time are Beethoven's 5th, Schubert's 8th (The Unfinished), Tchaikovsky's 6th (Pathetique), Dvorak's 9th (The New World), Mozart's 41st (The Jupiter), and Haydn's 94th (The Surprise).