FORM The Structure of Music
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FORM: The Structure of Music: What is Form? • General: The overall structure of a piece of music. • Example: Notice this house. You can see that it has two wings on either side of the main entry. The form of this house would be diagramed as ABA Wing Entry Wing. How does Form appear in Music? • Music can also be described in terms of its overall form or structure. • Usually, we focus on the melody or theme in order to determine the form. When the melody changes, we assign a different letter (A= wing of the house, B=Entry way, A=other wing). This type of form in music would be called ternary or three-part. Types of Musical Forms • Binary: Two part = AB (sometimes referred to as verse/refrain) • Ternary: Three part = ABA Good example of this is the Minuet and Trio. Click here to see the Flash Presentation on this type of form. • An example of this is the third movement of Mozart’s Eine kleine nachtmusik (CD2/Track 9.) [Classical era] Types of Musical Form 2 • Rondo: The main theme (A) keeps returning. Click here to see the Flash presentation on Rondo form. • A terrific example of this form is the first movement of Vivaldi’s “Spring” from the Four Seasons. (CD1/Track 18) [Baroque Era] Notice how the main theme keeps returning. Types of Musical Form 3 • Theme and Variations: In this form, the main theme is presented in its entirety at the beginning of the piece. Then the composer changes how it sounds by using different musical techniques. Click here to see a Flash presentation about Theme and Variation. • A great example of this type of form appears as the second movement of Haydn’s Symphony No. 94 (Surprise) (CD2/Track 10) [Classical Era] Types of Musical Form 4 • One of the more difficult forms to follow is the Sonata Allegro form. Your book refers to it as the Sonata form or double binary. Please do not use double binary form. • This form appears in the first movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. and also with Mozart Symphony No. 40. Click here to listen to Mozart 40.