chapter 4 musical form and musical style l.
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Chapter 4 Musical Form and Musical Style. Form in Music. Form Memory Outer form Inner form. Repetition Contrast Return Variation Genre. Key Terms. Form in Music. Overall shape of a musical work Arrangement, relationship, or organization of various elements of music Rhythm

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key terms


Outer form

Inner form






Key Terms
form in music
Form in Music
  • Overall shape of a musical work
  • Arrangement, relationship, or organization of various elements of music
    • Rhythm
    • Pitch and melody
    • Dynamics
    • Harmony
    • Tone color
    • Texture
    • Tonality
form in music4
Form in Music
  • Musical works can divide into clear sections with clear-cut relationships or unfold gradually and organically
  • Form is not purely intellectual
  • Our experience of form shapes our emotional response to a work
  • The emotional trajectory of a work is forged by careful use of repetition and contrast
form in music5
Form in Music
  • Musical works are formed through repetitions and contrasts of elements
    • Repetitions may be strict or free
    • Contrasts may be subtle or dramatic
  • Repetitions and contrasts define relationships between phrases of a melody or sections of a work
  • Memory is the key to hearing these relationships as they unfold in time
form in music6
Form in Music
  • Possible relationships between phrases, themes, or sections
    • Repetition (a a)
      • Parallelism
      • Identical or nearly identical restatement of a phrase, theme, or section
      • Feels reassuring, but lacks excitement
form in music7
Form in Music
  • Possible relationships
    • Contrast (a b)
      • A new phrase or section
      • May have subtle connections to previous material, or may be entirely new
      • Provides excitement of new phrase, theme, or section, but doesn’t feel stable or complete
form in music8
Form in Music
  • Possible relationships
    • Variation (a a’)
      • A restatement of previous material, but one or more elements are altered
      • Simultaneous repetition and contrast
      • Similar enough to sound like the same idea, but definitely not identical
      • Variation can change or transform the mood or feeling of a phrase, theme, or section
form in music9
Form in Music
  • Possible relationships
    • Contrast and return (a b a)
      • Unlike repetition, return is restatement of original material after contrasting material
      • You can’t return home if you never leave!
      • Commonly used, emotionally satisfying formula (unity and variety)
      • Combines excitement of new material and sense of relief with return of familiar material (homecoming)
listening for form
Listening for Form
  • Try several examples—which of these do you hear?
    • Repetition?
    • Contrast?
    • Variation?
    • Contrast and return?
form and forms
Form and Forms
  • Form is organization of elements in a work
  • A form refers to one of many standardized patterns used by composers
  • Possible forms include:
    • Strophic form (A A A …)
    • Ternary form (A B A)
    • Fugue
    • Baroque dance form (aabb)
    • Sonata form
form and forms12
Form and Forms
  • An example: A B A form
    • Three large sections: statement, contrast, return
    • Each section might have its own form
      • A = a b a
      • B = c d c
      • A = a b a
    • Such “nesting” arrangements are often used to create more complicated forms
form and forms13
Form and Forms
  • “Outer” and “inner” form
    • Standard patterns outline a work’s overall shape—its “outer” form (e.g., A B A)
    • “Outer” forms are reassuring, provide a satisfying, easy-to-follow overall shape
    • “Outer” forms do not describe the content of each section, its moment-to-moment inner workings, or the feel of contrasting material—its “inner” form
form and forms14
Form and Forms
  • “Inner” Form
    • Take any work in A B A form
      • Is B in a different mode or key?
      • Is B’s contrast due to rhythm, texture, tone color, or some other element?
      • Does the return convey excitement, trickiness, or relief?
    • Take any other work in A B A form
      • The answers will be different!
    • Same “outer” form, different “inner” form
musical genres
Musical Genres
  • Categories or types of musical compositions
  • A genre can be defined by a its:
    • Performing forces (number and kind of instruments or voices used)
    • Function or purpose
    • Text
  • Not to be confused with form
musical genres16
Musical Genres
  • Examples of genres:
    • Concerto
    • Mass
    • Oratorio
    • Symphony
    • Sonata
    • String quartet
    • Song cycle
    • Madrigal
    • Opera
genre vs form
Genre vs. Form
  • A genre is defined by its broadest features (performers, function, etc.)
  • A form is defined by its internal sections and their interrelationships
genre vs form18
Genre vs. Form
  • In literature, poetry is a genre
    • A work in verse
    • Usually breaks down into stanzas and lines
    • Often uses poetic meter and rhyme
    • Traditionally intended for public reading
  • Haiku, sonnets, and limericks are forms
    • Each has a specific number of lines (3, 14, and 5, respectively)
    • Each uses a specific poetic meter (or specific number of syllables per line)
    • The last two have an expected rhyme scheme
genre vs form19
Genre vs. Form
  • In music, the symphony is a genre
    • a large work in several movements for orchestra (performing forces)
    • written for entertainment at a public concert (function)
  • Each movement of a symphony may use a different form—Haydn’s 95th uses:
    • Sonata form
    • Theme and variations
    • Minuet form
    • Rondo form
listening for genre
Listening for Genre
  • Try several examples—answer these questions:
    • What is the function of this music?
      • Public or private entertainment? Worship? Patriotic? Commercial?
    • What are the performing forces?
      • Orchestra? String quartet? Chorus? Solo voices? Piano? Rock band? Jazz combo?
    • What is the genre?