Musical form is the way in which the music is organized or structured. Some time when we listen to a piece of music we can identify different sections of the song based on how it is composed. In contemporary music we have verses, chorus and even a bridge in a song. This is a clear description of how a piece of music is structured.
There are three techniques that are commonly used in musical form. They are repetition, contrast and variation.
Repetition allows us to recognize familiar sections of music hence causing us to remember the melodic and harmonic structure of the piece.
Contrast exists when there is a change of mood in the music. A number of factors can cause contrast in the music such as dynamics, tempo, articulation and tonality.
Variation is another aspect to consider when thinking about musical form. Variation is when some features in the music change while others are retained. Some of the things to consider are;
1) The way in which accompaniment is been played compared to the melody of the music.
(For example – One simple description of variation is when the main melodic structure of a song changes but the rhythmic pattern remains.)
2) The pitch of musical instruments might have been change in comparison to the rhythm.
3) The way in which notes are played in comparison to the main notation of the music.
Types of Musical Form
There are two types musical form that I would like to discuss in this article. They are binary and ternary form.
Binary (two-part) Form: A B
In binary form the music has two large sections, part (A) and part (B). Binary or two-part form gives a sense of statement in (A) and counterstatement in (B). However, both sections can have immediate repetition in the music. Therefore this type of form can be written as ABB, AAB or AABB.
Ternary (three-part) Form: A B A
Ternary form is more popular in most musical composition. In ternary or three part form there are three main sections that can be identified. Ternary form can be represented as statement (A), contrast or departure (B) and return (A). The contrast between statement (A) and section (B) can be of any length and any kind. The return (A) section of the form can occur smoothly with a clear expectation or it can be unexpected.
Like binary form, ternary form can be subdivided. Each section can be sub divided as follows;
A (a b a) B (c d c) A (a b a)
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