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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
The Sonata-allegro Form
Cadences In General
Lesson 7
The Phrase-group
Lesson 12
Lesson 16
Origin Of The Name


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Enlargement By Repetition
Modification Or Disguising Of The Cadence
Part Ii
The Principle Of Extension
Species Of Cadence
Tempo
Evolution
Contents Of The Phrase
1 Augmentation Of The Regular Form
Perfect Cadence



The Phrase





It is not altogether easy to give a precise definition of
the phrase. Like so many of the factors which enter into the
composition of this most abstract, ideal, and intangible of the arts,
the phrase demands considerable latitude of treatment, and will not
readily submit to strict limitations or absolute technical conditions.
Perhaps the most correct definition is, that the term phrase is
equivalent to sentence, and represents the smallest musical section
that expresses a complete idea; not necessarily wholly finished, and
therefore independent of other adjoining phrases, but at least as
complete in itself as is an ordinary brief sentence in grammar, with
its subject, predicate, and object. It should be sufficiently long to
establish the sense of tonality, the consciousness of beginning,
course, and ending, and should exhibit a certain (though limited)
amount of palpable and satisfying melodic and harmonic contents. For
this reason, the Phrase, and nothing smaller, should be regarded as the
structural basis of musical form.

The factors defined in the preceding chapter (the figure and motive)
are, as a rule, decidedly less than is demanded of a complete phrase,
which--as has been intimated--usually consists in the union of two
(possibly more) motives,--just as the motive is compounded of figures,
and the latter of single tones.

In some, comparatively rare, cases the composer gives a phrase an
independent place upon his page, as complete miniature sentence, not
directly connected with other phrases. This may be seen, very plainly,
at the beginning (the first four or five measures) of the Songs Without
Words, Nos. 28, 41, 35, 3, 4, 16. Examine each, carefully, and the
nature of the phrase in its most definite form will become apparent.

Such independent phrases are most likely to be found, like the above,
at the beginning or end of a larger composition, to which they are
related indirectly, as isolated introduction, or postlude. Thus, the
following complete phrase appears at the beginning of a song:


Its division into two melodic motives, and the subdivision of these
into figures, is plainly marked.

When the phrase assumes such a conspicuous position, and is so complete
and definite in its effect as the ones just seen, there is naturally no
difficulty in recognizing and defining its extremities. But the task
of phrase analysis is by no means always thus easy.





Next: Length Of The Regular Phrase

Previous: Lesson 3



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