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EpISODE 53 FORM AND ANALYSIS Pt. 2: SMALL FORMS

HOSTS- Jeremy Burns, Matthew Scott Phillips

 

TYPE- Theory

 

DURATION- 80:26

 

BUMPER MUSIC- "String Quartet No. 4, Movement II" (Matthew Scott Phillips)

ANNOUNCER- Mike Cunliffe

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DESCRIPTION

In part one of our "Form and Analysis" series, we familiarized ourselves with the building blocks of a form, such as motives, phrases and periods. Now, we will begin our official discussion on small forms. We will cover rounded, simple, sectional and continuous binary forms. Then we will move into ternary and compound ternary forms. Finally, we will close it out with a brief discussion on

theme and variations.

KEY WORDS

MOTIVE- The smallest possible musical idea. A recurring combination of notes and rhythms that are recognizable, in some shape or form, throughout the piece. Motives can be grouped together as sub phrases, which can grouped together as PHRASES.

 

PHRASE- The smallest possible musical statement that stands on it's own as a complete thought. These can vary in length and typically end in a state of either full or partial repose. This state of repose is also known as a CADENCE. PHRASES are often grouped together to form PERIODS.

 

PERIOD- When two PHRASES are played back to back and the 2nd of the two has a stronger CADENCE than the prior. This has a question/answer feel to it also known as the ANTECEDENT/CONSEQUENT.

 

ANTECEDENT- In a PERIOD, this is the first of the two phrases. It conveys a sense of questioning.

 

CONSEQUENT- In a PERIOD, this is the second of the two phrases. It conveys a sense of answering or response.

 

CADENCE- The harmonic goal, or resting point, of a chord progression or musical passage.

 

AUTHENTIC CADENCE- Considered the strongest of all cadences, this is typically a DOMINANT (V) chord resolving to the TONIC (I) chord.

 

HALF CADENCE- Considered the weakest, this cadence often leaves one desiring a greater resolution and a "cliff hanging" effect of suspense. The HALF CADENCE typically resolves to a DOMINANT (V) chord.

 

DECEPTIVE CADENCE- This usually occurs when a chord progression ends on a VI chord (or any chord that includes scale degree 1) when you would expect to hear the TONIC (I) chord.

 

THE PREVIOUS TERMS WERE DISCUSSED, IN DETAIL, IN

EPISODE 20-FORM AND ANALYSIS PT.1

 

BINARY- This form consists of two sections, an A and a B section. The sections may be OPEN or CLOSED.

 

TERNARY- This form consists of 3 sections, often an A and a B section, with a return of the A acting as the 3rd section. Also, there may be a C section. The sections may be OPEN or CLOSED.

 

CLOSED- A closed section will end with a complete harmonic resolution, such as an AUTHENTIC CADENCE.

 

OPEN- An opened section will end with an incomplete harmony, such as a HALF CADENCE, that will want to move into the next section.

EXAMPLES BINARY FORMS

-BINARY FORMS first came about, and were most prominent, in the CLASSICAL and the

 BAROQUE periods.

 

-Divided into two SECTIONS (A and B), they may be opened or closed.

 

-A section is CLOSED, or harmonically resolved, if it ends on the tonic.

 

-A section is OPEN, or harmonically unresolved, if it ends on another chord.

 

-The A section begins with TONIC and can end OPEN or CLOSED.

 

-The B section often (though not always) begins with a key other than the TONIC.

 

- A BINARY form can be either SECTIONAL, CONTINUOUS, SIMPLE, BALANCED OR ROUNDED.

  It could also be a combination of some of these.

Most BINARY FORMS have the following things in common:

 

 1. The B section is often longer than the A section.

 

 2. The A section normally consists of 2 phrases(a period). The B normally consists of two phrases,

     which could contain several phrases, within.

 

 3. The first phrase of B is usually the least stable.

 

 4. MAJOR keys usually modulate to V in the B section (in Classical music).

 

 5. MINOR keys usually modulate to III, sometimes V in the B section (in Classical music).

ROUNDED BINARY

THE A SECTION

 

-The A section can be OPEN or CLOSED. It closes with an AUTHENTIC CADENCE (V-I) in the original

  key or remains open with a HALF CADENCE, or some chord other than the tonic.

 

-Below you will see an A section. This PERIOD consists of two PHRASES. The 1st PHRASE ends on a

 HALF CADENCE. It lands on the V chord and is unresolved. The 2nd PHRASE ends in an

 AUTHENTIC CADENCE. This PERIOD repeats (see the dotted double lines on the end of the section)

 to make the A section.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE B SECTION

 

-The B section is CLOSED. It often goes to V and closes on an AUTHENTIC CADENCE that repeats a

  part of the A section. This rounds it out, so to speak.

 

-Below, we see a B section. There are two PERIODS, each consisting of two PHRASES. The 1st

 PERIOD contains the newly introduced "B material". It hangs around on the V chord and ends on a

 HALF CADENCE. The 2nd PERIOD is a the same PERIOD from the A section, above. It ends on an

 AUTHENTIC CADENCE and is, therefore closed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-In MINOR KEYS, the B section will often modulate to the RELATIVE MAJOR (III).

 

SIMPLE BINARY

-The A section is CLOSED. It closes with an AUTHENTIC CADENCE (V-I) in the original key.

 

-The B section is CLOSED. It often goes to V and closes on an  AUTHENTIC CADENCE,

 with no repeats from the A section.

SECTIONAL BINARY

-The A section can be OPEN or CLOSED. It closes with an AUTHENTIC CADENCE (V-I) in the original key or remains open with a HALF CADENCE.

 

-The B section is OPEN. It often goes to V and remains unresolved.

CONTINUOUS BINARY

-The A section is OPEN. It ends with a HALF CADENCE, in the original key, or an AUTHENTIC

 CADENCE (V-I) in a different key.

 

-The B section is a continuation of the unresolved A section. It often begins on V and closes on an

  AUTHENTIC CADENCE, in V.

BALANCED BINARY

-The A section is OPEN. It closes with a HALF CADENCE or an AUTHENTIC CADENCE (V-I) in a

 different key.

 

-The B section is CLOSED. It contains it's own material for half of the section and

  reprises the latter part of the A section to close it out.

TERNARY FORMS

TERNARY

-The A section is CLOSED. It closes with an AUTHENTIC CADENCE (V-I) in the original key.

 

-The B section is CLOSED. It often goes to V and closes on an  AUTHENTIC CADENCE, typically in

  the V (or which ever key it is now in).

 

-The A section returns, in it's original manifestation, though there may be a few small changes

 (embellishments, tempo, etc.). Unlike the original A section. This one typically doesn't repeat.

 

-Sometimes a C section will be introduced instead of the returning A section.

COMPOUND TERNARY

-The COMPOUND TERNARY form is the same as TERNARY. However, there are smaller forms

  occurring within each section of the form.

For a good example of COMPOUND TERNARY, check out Shubert's

Moments Musicaux, No.1 in C major, D780

THEME AND VARIATIONS

-If a composer repeats a theme or phrase note for note it is considered a

 “LITERAL COUNTER STATEMENT”.

 

-In THEME AND VARIATIONS, an original section will return with some alterations,

  such as the following:

 

 -Ornamental

 -Simplifying

 -Figured bass changes

 -Counterpuntal

 -Characteristic

 -Doubling, in octaves or unison

 -Tempo

 -Key change to minor.

 

THINGS TO REMEMBER

-Try actively listening for forms. This begins with being able to identify when a cadence happens.

 

-When listening for phases and cadences start off simple. Maybe listen to Bach, Mozart or some earlier composers before tackling Mahler, Berlioz or some of the later era classical composers.

 

-Music from the Baroque and Classical eras can be a bit less challenging to analyze, compared to later eras. So when listening for examples of smaller forms, look into these genres as a good study.

 

-Obviously, don't limit yourself to classical music. Listen for these elements in jazz, blues, bluegrass or whatever your favorite genre may be. These elements are universal to all music.

 

-Start thinking about labeling phrases and periods with lowercase letters (ex. aba') When we get into identifying forms this will be the language we speak.

 

EPISODE MUSIC

 

 "String Quartet No. 4, Movement II"

  (Matthew Scott Phillips)

 

  THE AMERNET STRING QUARTET

  Misha Vitenson, violin

  Franz Felkl, violin

  Michael Klotz, viola

  Jason Calloway, cello

MUSIC STUDENT 101

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