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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
Application Of The Forms
Lesson 3
2 Abbreviation Of The Regular Form
The Principle Of Extension
Inherent Irregularity
Lesson 7


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The Five-part Form
Beats
Lesson 3
Distinction Between Bipartite And Tripartite Forms
The Small And Large Phrases
Defining The Figures
The Recapitulation
Inherent Irregularity
1 Augmentation Of The Regular Form
Preliminary Tones



The Melodic Figure





The smallest unit in musical composition is the
single tone. The smallest cluster of successive tones (from two to
four or five in number) that will convey a definite musical impression,
as miniature musical idea, is called a Figure. Assuming the single
tone to represent the same unit of expression as a letter of the
alphabet, the melodic figure would be defined as the equivalent of a
complete (small) word;--pursuing the comparison further, a series of
figures constitutes the melodic Motive, equivalent to the smallest
group of words (a subject with its article and adjective, for example);
and two or three motives make a Phrase, equivalent to the complete,
though comparatively brief, sentence (subject, predicate, and object).
This definition, amply illustrated in the following examples, serves
also to point out the significant resemblance between the structure of
language and of music. The principal melody is, as it were, the voice
of the speaker, whose message is framed wholly out of the primary
tones, or letters of the musical alphabet. The association of primary
tone-units, in successive order, results first in the figure, then in
the motive, then the phrase, period, and so forth, in the manner of
natural growth, till the narrative is ended. The following example,
though extending beyond our present point of observation, is given as
an illustration of this accumulative process (up to the so-called
Period):--

The tones bracketed a are the Figures; two (in the last measures,
three) of these are seen to form Motives; two of these motives make the
Phrase; and the whole sentence, of two phrases, is a Period. See also
Ex. 1 and Ex. 2, in which the formation of figures is very distinct.

The pregnancy and significance of each of these tiny musical words
(or figures, as we are to call them),--small and apparently imperfect
as they are,--can best be tested by concentrating the attention upon
each as if it stood alone upon the page; it is such vitality of the
separate particles that invests a musical masterwork with its power and
permanency of interest.

* * * * * *





Next: Defining The Figures

Previous: Lesson 2



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