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The Double-period
Distinction Between Bipartite And Tripartite Forms
Lesson 4
Causes
The Sonatine Form
The Exposition
The Recapitulation
T The Second Rondo Form
The Third Rondo Form
The Necessity Of Form In Music


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The Exposition
The Recapitulation
Causes
Lesson 11
Relation To The Three-part Song-form
4 Mixture Of Characteristic Traits
The Phrase
The Principle Of Extension
Enlargement By Repetition
Lesson 8


Random Music Lessons

2 Abbreviation Of The Regular Form
Origin Of The Name
Lesson 14
1 Augmentation Of The Regular Form
Lesson 15
The Melodic Motive Or Phrase-member
Measures
Group Of Parts
The Recapitulation
Lesson 18



Preliminary Tones





It is a singularly effective and pregnant quality
of the element of musical rhythm, that its operations are not bounded
by the vertical bars which mark off the measures. That is to say, a
rhythmic figure (and, in consequence, a melodic figure or motive) does
not necessarily extend from bar to bar, but may run from the middle (or
any other point) of one measure, to the middle (or corresponding point)
of the next; precisely as prosodic rhythm comprises poetic feet which
begin either with an accented or with an unaccented syllable. See Ex.
10. Hence the significant rule, that a melodic member may begin at
any part of a measure, upon an accented or an unaccented beat, or upon
any fraction of a beat. For example:--

In No. 1, the motive begins squarely with the measure, upon the
accented beat. In No. 2, the same motive is enlarged by two tones at
the outset, which locates its beginning upon the fourth 8th--the second
half of the second beat. In No. 3 the motive begins upon an accented
beat, but it is the lighter (secondary) accent of the 3d beat. The
various conditions of unaccented beginnings in Nos. 4, 5 and 6 are
easily recognizable. In No. 7 quite a large fraction of a measure
precedes the first accent (at the beginning of the full measure).
Examine, also, all the preceding examples, and note the different
accented or unaccented locations of the first tone, in each figure and
motive.

When a figure or motive starts at the accented beat, it begins, so to
speak, in the right place; any tone or tones which precede the accent
are merely preliminary or introductory tones. While they are very
desirable and necessary, in the fulfilment of certain purposes, they
are not an essential part of the motive; they appear to represent the
ornamental rather than the stable element of the melodic sentence, and
their employment is therefore a matter of option and taste rather than
of absolute necessity. The accent indicates the point where the body
of the motive begins; the accent is the point where the stake is
driven; all that goes before is simply preparatory,--the changeable
material which flutters about the fixed center. Therefore the
preliminary tones do not indicate the essential or actual beginning
of the motive, but its apparent or conditional beginning only; or what
might be called its melodic beginning. For this reason, also, the
actual first measure of a motive or phrase or sentence of any kind is
always the first FULL measure,--the measure which contains the first
primary accent; that is to say, the preliminary tone or tones do not
count as first measure. For this reason, further, it is evident that
preliminary tones are invariably to be regarded as borrowed from the
final measure of the preceding motive or phrase; they must be accounted
for in someway,--must derive their metric pulse from some group,--and
as they cannot be a part of the first measure, they obviously form a
borrowed portion of the (preceding) last measure. This will be better
understood by reference to Ex. 14, No. 3; the two 16ths at the end of
the 4th measure (preliminary tones of the following phrase) are
borrowed from the f which precedes,--the final tone of the first
phrase, that would, but for this reduction, have been the full
half-note necessary to complete the four measures (like the final g).

Perhaps the most striking feature of this rule of preliminary tones is
the absolute freedom of its application. It is always wholly
optional with the composer to begin his figure or motive at whatever
part of the measure he may elect; at the accent or not; with or without
preliminary tones; to borrow beats from the preceding ending or not, as
his judgment or taste, or possibly some indirect requirement, may
decide. So valid is this license, that it is by no means unusual to
find consecutive members of the same phrase beginning at different
points in the measure. This results, apparently, in motives of
irregular, unsymmetric lengths; but no confusion is possible if the
student will recollect and apply the rule that the objective point (the
heart, so to speak) of each motive is the first primary accent it
contains; counting from these points, all irregularities of melodic
extent become purely accidental and harmless. For illustration (the
preliminary tones are marked a):--

In No. 1, the first motive evidently ends with the longer tone,
g-sharp. In No. 2, each one of the four motives differs from the
others in length; the sum of them is, however, exactly 24 beats, or 8
measures; hence, each one is actually a two-measure motive, counting
from accent to accent. The upper numbers indicate the actual, vital
beginning of each motive.

This very natural, and fairly common, inequality increases the
difficulty of analysis somewhat. A knowledge of the principal chords,
and familiarity with their manner of employment in composition, greatly
facilitates the task, because the harmonic design furnishes in many
cases the only unmistakable clue to the extremities of the melodic
members. The difficulty finally vanishes only when the student has
learned to appreciate the declamatory quality of all good melody, and
can detect its inflections, its pauses; can feel which (and how many)
of its tones are coherent and inseparable, and where the points of
repose interrupt the current, and thus divulge the sense of the melodic
sentence.





Next: Lesson 3

Previous: The Melodic Motive Or Phrase-member



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