You are on page 1of 41

Principles of




BALANCE – symmetry/asymmetry
EMPHASIS - accent

Eadweard Muybridge, photographer

Repetition/Variation in Music

Small-scale repetition creates a sense of
pulse, rhythm and meter

Motific repetition is used to build phrases

Repetition of group of notes is a pattern
called an ostinato

Large-scale repetition creates FORM

an idea returns phrases within the after contrasting repeated phrase sections immediately REPETITION Immediate Sectional Large-scale EXTREME MODERATE RARE .

Some repetition in music PHILIP GLASS EINSTEIN ON THE BEACH (an opera) .

REPETITION Immediate Sectional Large-scale EXTREME MODERATE RARE .

1877. 83 1/2 x 108 3/4" .CAILLEBOTTE. Gustave Paris: A Rainy D ay. Oil on canvas.

1ST movement The motif is immediately repeated and varied – the music is built with this motif (aka motive) This section of music will return a minute later and then a couple of minutes later – large-scale. Mozart Symphony No. 40 in G minor. sectional repetition .

Mozart Symphony No. not yes (usual) exact RARE . 40 in G minor. 1ST movement REPETITION Immediate Sectional Large-scale EXTREME MOTIFIC MODERATE some.

3rd movement • each section is repeated • the first 2 sections return after a contrasting section • General form (design) is ABA • Specifically. but it is not dance music • triple meter . it is aabbccddab (does anyone listen that way?) Based on dance music. Mozart Symphony No. 40 in G minor.

40 in G minor. 3rd movement REPETITION Immediate Sectional Large-scale EXTREME Yes Yes MODERATE Some RARE Melodic shapes and evolution. rhythmic patterns . Mozart Symphony No.


departure. return” at multiple levels contour sequence . 1948. 23 of the textbook. appears on p. recorded 1957-58.) This example demonstrates repetition at three levels “statement. (From the CD Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane. A photograph of Thelonious Monk. Thelonious Monk. Epistrophy c. with a stupid caption.

DEPARTURE and RETURN: ABA . FORM The simplest form is unvaried repetition: AAAA . . . But many forms depend on the sense of STATEMENT. A complete lack of repetition creates a complex form: ABCDEFGHI . . .

Song Forms Verse-refrain (ABABAB) . The Jovial Tradesmen AABA – very standard. The statement-departure-return (or statement-contrast) structure works at two different levels.Ex. verse-refrain-verse-refrain-bridge-verse-refrain (“refrain” is also known as “chorus”). . abab and the larger AABA. Actually. . . The text varies (usually) only on the verse: text: v1 – r – v2 – r – bridge – v3 – r music: a – b – a – b – bridge – a – b . it is ababCab.

Earth. assky. we all. and the world can't erase his fantasies Take a ride in the sky. miles away Our voices will ring together until the twelfth of never. on our ship fantasii all your dreams will come true. ourthe kingdom twelfthofofdoing never Take our voices will a ride ring in the forever. Wind & Fire. right away Every thought is a dream. Eddie del Barrio & Verdine White Every man has a place. Fantasy (1977) Maurice White. will live forever. rushing by in a stream. And we will bringing life tountil live together. as one . in his heart there's a space. oneon our ship fantasii all your dreams will come true.

now in review . Earth. victory in a land called fantasy. now in review Come to see. fantasy. . bring your mind to everlasting liberty a glowing light will see you through Come to see. . loving life. all your dreams come true loving life. Wind & Fire. now I'm on my way recognize it's your life. in the land called fantasy loving life. from your lips. victory in a land called fantasy. in your stride with the wind. yes I'm free. other kind. victory. a new decree. as you fly away You will find. for you and me. It's your day. and say many lives has brought you to I am free. and as you stay for the play. that has been in search for you. . shining day. to your soul is ecstasy As you glide. has in store for you. Fantasy (1977) Come to see. to behold. give a smile.

boring. too predictable) Expectations denied: EXPRESSION! (meaningless. MUSICAL FORM: So what? Expectations confirmed: SATISFACTION! (clichéd. incompetent) . wrong.

. Other Forms We will encounter many types of forms such as: Variation – A A’A’’A’’’ . . Binary – AABB Rondo – ABACA Sonata – intro-A-B-A-B-dev-A-B’-coda and an entire zoo of forms perhaps not entirely worth cataloging. .

385. "Haffner" LOW/HIGH (contrast in register) LONG/SHORT Contrast in timbre (sound color): Bach. 35 in D Major. Brandenburg Concerto No.first movement from Symphony No. K. CONTRAST IN MUSIC Mozart -. 2 (also contrast in dynamics – loud and soft) .


Assymetical balance in music? A concerto sets a soloist or small group of soloists “against” an orchestra .

EMPHASIS accent .

etc. Music for Pieces of Wood. usually a voluntary constraint that is part of the creative process SPECIFIC TO AN INDIVIDUAL WORK. TYPE OR MEDIUM Examples in music: deriving everything from a single theme (musical idea). Three Voices (1982) . NOT THE GENRE . Clapping Music. Bliss (1999) Morton Feldman. or other pieces DC Meckler. Steve Reich. type of instrument. limiting the number of pitches. limitation of a composition to a few ECONOMY essential elements.

ECONOMY – very little suggests a lot Picasso. Femme .


19 x 23 in .Shahn. Ben. Vacant Lot. 1939 Watercolor and gouache on paper mounted on plywood panel.

usually lots of time. BIG 2nd mvt No. Each in 4 movements. No. 3 – BIG finale (4th mvt) . 2 & 3). 1 – BIG 1st mvt No. Example: 3 Beethoven string quartets (Op 59. Proportion in music A matter of time. 1. 2 – nervous 1st mvt.

human. monumental. although it has an entirely different meaning than “musical scale. The term can also apply to musical works. SCALE SCALE .”) .” (“A symphony is a large-scale musical work when compared to a song.the size of a work compared to the environment: miniature.

maximum height 31 feet 8 inches x 40 feet 5 inches x 31 feet 6 inches. and aluminum with motors. dimensions variable. steel. 1985 Vinyl-covered wood. Knife Ship I. Claes Oldenburg. .

mid-16th century.Miniature Leaf from Futuh al-Haramain (Description of the Two Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina). 8x5 in. Ottoman. .

. . .a bit bigger .

Schoenberg Pop songs – 3-6 minutes Early symphonies – 25-35 minutes Later symphonies – 45 min . Some examples of time scales in music Less than a minute .1 hr Longest – Mahler – 1 ½ hrs Short opera – 2 hours Average opera – 3-4 hours (including intermissions) Long opera – 5 hours Longest traditional opera – Wagner’s RING – 18 hours . Webern. Miniatures – Chopin.


Epistrophy repetition at three levels a a b b a'a'b'b' a'a'b'b' a a b b c c' c'' d d' a'a'b'b' (The little mark indicates some degree of variation.) Three levels of repetition: small-scale (motific) – aa phrase level – a a b b compared to a'a'b'b' sectional – the return of the a'a'b'b' after the bridge (c c' c'' d d') . Monk.

departure. return” – STATEMENT: a a b b DEPARTURE: a'a'b'b' a'a'b'b' RETURN: a a b b – STATEMENT: a a b b a'a'b'b' a'a'b'b' a a b b DEPARTURE: c c' c'' d d' RETURN: a'a'b'b' (complete structure: AA’A’ABA’) – STATEMENT: AA’A’ABA’ DEPARTURE: solos – RETURN: AA’A’ABA’ A [ending] . Monk. Epistrophy “statement.

Monk. Epistrophy contour and sequence contour – melodic analog of shape in art – a rises – b rises and falls sequence – repeating a pattern up or down a scale step or series of steps – d d’ .

De Staat.Louis Andriessen. English horn. 1973-1976) Contrast in timbre (sound color): DOUBLE REEDS/BRASS/VOICES+PIANO (double reeds = woodwind instruments: oboe. (The State. bassoon) .

one that is closely related to the rule of variety within unity: repetition and surprise. inventions . the unexpected. At the other extreme are breaks. phrases and incidents that recur like musical motifs and serve as signs to emphasize continuity. Meter and its accents. satisfies another two- fold requirement. continuity and interruption. What we call development is merely the alliance between repetition and surprise. moreover. Repetition is a cardinal principal in poetry. Octavio Paz. changes. rhyme. “Telling and Singing” in The Other Voice . VARIATION: the alliance between repetition and surprise The extensive poem. recurrence and invention. the epithets in Homer and other a word.

35 in D Major. Brandenburg Concerto No. K. "Haffner" LOW/HIGH (contrast in register) LONG/SHORT Contrast in timbre (sound color): Bach.first movement from Symphony No. 2 (also contrast in dynamics – loud and soft) . CONTRAST IN MUSIC Mozart -. 385.