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Chapter Nine
Melodic Form
The Phrase

1 Phrase a = mm.1-4 Phrase b = mm.5-8
Measure 6 is a sequence (modified real) of m.5.

2 Phrase a = mm.9-12 Phrase b = mm.13-16

Measures 13-15 are a tonal sequence.
Measures 9-12 sound sequential but do not have the intervallic consistency
characteristic of a sequence.

3 Different ways of analyzing these phrases are possible. Grammatically,

there are two phrases (mm.4-10 and mm.10-17). Musically, however,
there appear to be three based on the melody’s sequential structure:
mm.4-8, mm.9-12, and mm.13-17. These three phrases would be symbol-
ized a b c because they are tonally sequential.
4 Phrase a = mm.1-4 Phrase b = mm.5-8 Phrase c = mm.9-11
Measures 7-8 are a tonal sequence of mm.5-6. Measure 9 is a partial
sequence of m.5 (or m.7).

Combining and Extending Phrases

A. Phrase-period analysis can be problematic because conventional theory allows only

two possibilities for phrases that are not either a repetition or varied repetition—
similarity or contrast. This permits a large gray area. Be prepared for differences of
opinion, and realize that more than one opinion may be supportable.

1 Contrasting period a b Even though the second phrase ends on the

third scale degree, it ends metrically stronger than the first and sounds
more conclusive because it seems to complete the thought begun in the
first phrase.
2 The two phrases are similar in so many ways that the period sounds
parallel, even though the second phrase does not begin identically to the
3 Contrasting period a b (b begins in m.4 and clearly contrasts to a.)
4 Phrase group a a’ (Both phrases end the same way.)
5 Contrasting period ab

œ œ œ œ œ. œ.
& b 4 œ œ œœœ œ Œ Œ œ œ œœ œ
œ œ
. . œ . .

6 ˙ œ. œ ˙
&b œ ˙ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ. œ Œ Œ
11 œ œ œ œ œ. œ. ˙
œ .
œ œ œ œ # œ. œ
Precadential extension

& b œ œ œœœ œ œ Œ Œ
. . p
˙ œ œ œ œ œ œ. œ. œ . œ œ œ ˙ œœ
œ œ
œ œ œ
&b Œ Œ
ends here
Motive: mm.1-2

The phrases form a parallel period because the second phrase begins identical to
the first and is longer than the first only because of the internal extension.

a b
Andante un poco Adagio SP
b b 2 œ. œ œ œ œ œ œ nœ œ œ œ . œ œ œ œ bœ œ œ œ œ
&b b 4 J J
poco f SP

b b œ œ œ œ œ nœ œ œ bœ nœ œ œ
œ œ bœ œ œnœ œ

&b b œ

Precadential extension
b b nœ œ nœ œ œ œ nœ
&b b œ œ œ œ

nœ nœ œ œ

b b b œa’. œ œ œ œ œ œ nœ œ œ œ . œ œ œ œœœœœœ
& b J J

œ œ œœ œ œ œ
Precadential extension
b b œ œ œœœœ œ œ œ œ
&b b œ œ nœ
b b
&b b œ œ œ
œ œ œ
Unlike many Brahms melodies, this one is not particularly motivic.

The phrases form a parallel double period a b a c because the two phrase
pairs begin identically.

1 Phrase group Sequence (modified)

2 3 4

&b c ˙ Œ ˙ ˙˙
œœ œ œ
˙ œœœ œœœœ b # ˙˙˙ œœ # ˙˙ œ œ nœ˙˙ œ ˙˙
Œ œ b˙ Œ ˙
? b c ˙ n˙ b˙ . ˙
b w w ˙. œ w
b Sequence (modified)
Œ j‰ œ
5 6 7 8

& œ
œœ ˙œ˙ œ œœœ œœœ œœœ ‰ œœ # ˙˙˙ ... n œœ w
## # ww ˙ n ˙
Œ œ b˙ Jj ‰ Œ
? b ˙ œ bœ Ów ˙ w
b b˙ œ œ w
˙ ˙ J ‰ nw

Parallel period: a (mm.1-8) a’ (mm.9-16)

Motive: mm.1-2
Although each two-measure segment is similar, none are completely sequential.
While mm.13-14 (with pickup) are a transposition of mm.7-8, sequences are
normally considered to follow each other directly.

1 The simplest solution (although not the most creative) is to repeat the
phrase and end on the tonic.

2 Many solutions are possible. Just make sure to end on the tonic to create a

3 The first phrase must be fairly much the same as the second (to be consid-
ered a’), and it must also end on the tonic so that a phrase group (not a
period) is formed by the two.

4 First, repeat a, varying it slightly but ending on a pitch other than the
tonic. Then, compose a contrasting phrase with a couple extra measures
that lead to a tonic ending.