FORM in music is the organization of musical elements in time. In a musical composition, pitch, tone color, dynamics, rhythm, melody, and texture interact to produce a sense of shape and structure. Techniques That Create Musical Form
Repetition, contrast, and variation are essential techniques in short tunes as well as in compositions lasting much longer. Repetition creates a sense of unity; contrast provides variety; and variation, in keeping some elements of a musical thought while changing others, gives a work unity and variety at the same time. Repetition. In music the repetition of melodies or extended sections is a technique widely used for binding a composition together. Through repetition, a melody is engraved in the memory. Contrast. Forward motion, conflict, and change of mood all come from contrast. Opposition of loud and soft, strings and woodwinds, fast and slow, major and minor propels and develops musical ideas. A composer can emphasize the power and excitement of one musical idea by contrasting it with another idea that is calm and lyrical. Variation. In the variation of a musical idea, some of its features will be retained while others are changed. For example, the melody might be restated with a different accompaniment. Or the pitches of a melody might stay the same while its rhythmic pattern is changed. A whole composition can be created from a series of variations on a single musical idea. Types of Musical Form
Strophic form (AAA). A design in vocal music, in which the same music is used for several different verses (strophes) of words. Example: "Deck the Halls" has many verses of words sung to the same music. Binary Form (AB). A composition subdivided into two large sections is in two-part form (AB). Two-part form gives a sense of statement (A) and counterstatement (B) and in which both main sections are repeated. Ternary Form (ABA). During the last few centuries ternary form has probably been used most frequently. This form can be represented as statement (A), contrast or departure (B), return (A). Rondo form. This form has a recurring theme alternating with different (usually contrasting) sections called "episodes". It may be asymmetrical (ABACADAEA) or symmetrical (ABACABA). A recurring section, especially the main theme, is sometimes more thoroughly varied, or else one episode may be a "development" of it. A similar arrangement is the ritornello form of the Baroque concerto grosso. Arch form (ABCBA). It resembles a symmetrical rondo without intermediate repetitions of the main theme. Sonata Form. Sonata form (also called "sonata-allegro form") is a musical debate within a single movement based on the conflict and ultimate resolution of two opposing key centers. Sonata form is the First movement form of virtually every Classic instrumental work, though It may be used in other movements as well.) This unique Classic form has three distinct dramatic aspects within a binary harmonic plan: Exposition (Tonal Opposition). The two opposing key centers (and associated themes) are introduced: Theme 1 is in the “home” key; Theme 2 is in a different key. Development (Escalation of tension). The material passes rapidly passes through many distant keys, and may be fragmented/reworked in a variety of ways. Recapitulation (Tonal Resolution). Theme 1 and Theme 2 both appear in the “home” key. In the tradition of Classic debate, Theme 2 realizes its weaker stance, and wholeheartedly throws its support to its opponent’s stronger argument—the “home” key.) Sonata-rondo Form. It contains elements of both sonata form (contrasting subjects in related keys) and rondo form (return to the main subject after each episode). Sonata-rondo is like RONDO in that it has clearly defined, dance-like sections, but it usually has transitions joining the sections. And the second theme, B, occurs twice, so it is called a second subject, instead of an episode. Sonata-rondo is A B A CAB A, whereas rondo is A B A C A. Sonata-rondo form is...
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