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Old 03-29-2012, 08:06 AM   #61 (permalink)
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I'm not a music specialist, I've studied very little theory myself and most of my theory knowledge comes from personal observations and friends who have studied music at university level, but...


It depends on what you mean by "standard". There are some style of music that you can pin down so far as a sort of ABABACBB(modulated) - namely most entires into the Eurovision Song Contest in the last 40 years - but I'm not sure if that "Pop music" format has a name unto itself. The lack of a name doesn't make it any less common or predictable, though. Then you have things like the Sonata form, which isn't well represented in letter format, because of the way the development and exposition sections build on the initial forms, but aren't repetition.

Virtually every form of music has its own set of templates. It's what makes that music sound like... that music, as much as the instrumentation. Music is driven by patterns, and we notice the exceptions that break the patterns. Ergo, there are a lot of templates :P
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:49 AM   #62 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr dave View Post
This brings up a situation I've pondered on quite a bit over the years in regards to Verse / Chorus / Verse songs.

If ABABA is Ternary
and ABABAC is a Rondo

How many other 'standard' variations are there? What would something like ABABCBAB become?
Always a pattern in musical form will start with A.
Then there's a B.
Followed by an A.
Followed by a B or a C.
Followed by an A.

It's a pattern, so there will always be an A after the next sequence.

So usually Rondo examples will look like this:
ABACABAD or
ABABABAC or
ABABACADAE or anything else.

There are musical forms called Compound Ternaries, which are composed of A's and B's but with bits of the others in between. For example:

ABABA can be AbBAbBaA
*so, we can say that the first A is divided into two parts: The A and the b.

The form you have given me is ABABCBAB.

Now, this is definitely a Rondo, but in a different taste. Usually, a rondo will follow a pattern of A's, but as you can see, the BCB is very much together. You have seen me talk about compound ternaries, but I am not very sure if there is a such thing as a "compound rondo". But I'm sure you can write it as ABABcbAB (the only reason I lowercased the cb is for understanding that there is a pattern of A's) . There really is no limit to what you can create with musical forms, you can make one and name one.

Other standard music forms:

Progressive/Alternative:
ABCDEFGH
ABACADAEAF
ABACADEFG
ABCBCDCECFC
(listen to Coheed and Cambria, Mastodon, Periphery, Tesseract, or any other form of Prog for info.)

Rock:
ABABAC
ABABA
ABABc

*it doesn't really matter what the letters represent, but usually A will represent verse and B will represent Chorus. But in some songs like in Progressive and Alternative, the A's can represent choruses and B's verses. Or ABCDEFG = verse and H = chorus, this is especially true in MAAAANNNY of Coheed and Cambria's songs.

NOTE: This is not the only way you can write musical forms, this is MY way and there really is no RIGHT WAY to do it. (Just as you can write Major chords with a triangle hmmm?)
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Old 03-29-2012, 12:37 PM   #63 (permalink)
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MoonlitSunshine is off to a good start. Mr. Dave is good too.

Form is what you want it to be. I've written and played a lot of those little

||:A:||fine
||:B:||DC al fine

pieces. They're cute, simple, and easy.

Basically a lot of music, especially popular things today, are in sections. The letters are clear ways to mark them. But here are a lot of forms:

Strophic form is just the same section over and over, maybe slightly altered. Thus you get AAAAA... or AA'A"A'''... . The A' is said "A-prime", A" is "A-double prime" etc.

The opposite of Strophic is Chain form or Free form. These are the other extreme and hit ABCDEF.... Medlies practice this, but usually a medly will end with A after the whole chain finishes.

Before we go further, it's important to realize that there's no right or wrong. There are common practices, but that doesn't stop you from making one that goes ABACDECDEFGCBCEH. If this works for you, you might have just made a new form. Form allows for pieces to be predictable, which is good for both listener (people get mentally satisfied when they hear something they think is coming), and also the performers, because they all have to move together. If a performing group knows the piece's form, they just have to think of a few sections, and their piece is ready to go. Great for improv players too.

Let's continue to other popular forms:

Binary form is simply AB. These can have repeat signs and make them AABB. Same thing really. These can be rounded binary, in which you have ||:A:|| ||:B A':|| The B section isn't terribly different from A, however, and the final A is usually only part of the original A section.

Ternary form is a closely related one. This is usually ABA or AABA or probably even AABBA. Basically, you state your main theme (A), go away from it (B), and then come back to it (A). AABA was popular for Arias of the 18th century (called Da Capo Arias, since they go back to the beginning and play the first section again). This form made divas shine. Apparently Arias were the most popular songs from operas. They were best songs as far as the public was concerned. This form also worked its way into a 32 bar song. This was used throughout the 1900's. The first 16 measures were A A, the next 8 (B) was called the Middle 8, and then you have A again for the end. Very popular form. The B section in ternary is quite different from the A material (where rounded binary was not), and then the final A section is a full return of the A section (where rounded binary was only half).

Then we have Rondo form, which, as the other have stated, is A_A_A_A_A_A where the blanks can be other sections. The important thing is that we start A with and come back to A as every other section. A couple popular Rondo forms are ABACABA and ABACABADA. A variation on this idea is Arch form, which comes out as ABCBA. I think the name speaks for itself. A larger one, then, would be ABCDCBA.

Theme and Variation is where you play a piece of music, usually not too long, and then you play it again with some kind of varied result. The Major key goes to minor, the melody is infused with triplets, the bass and treble lines switch, or whatever you want. This can be repeated into many variations on the original melody.

-------------

The granddaddy of musical form though is probably Sonata Form. This came about in the classical period, and set the standard. A lot of people groan about this, so I'll try to simplify how it works.

A sonata, in general, is a 3 or 4 movement work. If it has 4 sections, they'll be like this, based on tempo:
Movement I - Allegro (fast).
Movement II - Adagio/Lento/Andante (something on the slower side)
Movement III - Minuet and Trio (Usually. This is a 3/4 piece in rounded binary or "Minuet form".)
Movement IV - Presto/Vivace/Allegro (something on the fast side)

If you had a three movement sonata, the third movement above would be omitted.

For those of you unaware, when you play many movements in a set, traditionally you'd play the first one in its entirety (it's a piece in itself). Then you would stop playing. Then you'd play the second one, finish, stop playing. Then the third, and finally the fourth in the same manner. Only when you're done with the full sonata would the audience applause.

The second and fourth movements' forms are usually very simple - rounded binary, ternary, or rondo are great choices. The bulk of the form analysis for sonatas is found in the first movement, and is called Sonata Allegro Form.

There are three parts to a sonata allegro form - Exposition, Development, and Recapitulation.

Here is what happens in the Exposition part:
The sonata can start with an intro. (Optional)
After that, it plays Theme One in the tonic key (you have to start somewhere).
Then it can play an interlude going to a related key (usually the dominant [V] or relative key).
Then it plays Theme Two, in the related key.
Then it plays a coda to end the section.

Development

All hell breaks loose in this part. You have the material from Theme One and Theme Two, and they all mix and modulate, sequence, imitate, repeat, whatever you want. It's basically a roller coaster ride of the material from the two themes.

Recapitulation
This section ends the sonata allegro form. This happens much the same way as the Exposition.
Theme One comes back in the tonic key.
BUT now you have Theme Two in the TONIC key as well.

You can imagine like you (Theme 1) and your friend (Theme 2) are having an argument. You're on opposing sides (I and V, respectively). This is the exposition.

Then you have your discussion, talking about his mother's parents (foreign keys), how you felt when you didn't get to share ice cream last Friday (sequences), etc. That's the development.

Finally you reach a conclusion and agree (Theme 1 and 2 are both in the same key). And you won the argument, of course, since you both ended in the tonic where you started. So the moral of the story is that your friend is stupid for disagreeing in the first place.

-------------

I know this is a lot to take in, but hopefully it's in digestible chunks.

Up last is a favorite of mine - Fugue (fugal) form. This is difficult because it has to do with counterpoint, but the sections are still apparent.

All fugues will start with the main Subject - a melodic statement. This can be likened to a Motive, but in fugal analysis, it's called the Subject.

After the subject dies, two things happen -

1. A second voice comes in, usually at an interval of the 5th, and plays the subject again in the new key of the 5th. This is called the Answer.

2. The first voice turns into other melodic material, supporting the answer. This is called the counter subject. The counter subject now will partner the subject (answers) whenever they come in. They're best friends, but the subject/answer is the main character of the story, where the counter subject is more of a supporting role.

When the second voice ends, the third voice comes in with the subject on the tonic key. It's a subject because it's on the tonic key, rather than an answer, which is on the 5th (dominant). Voice two becomes the new counter subject. Voice one, having done the subject and counter subject roles already, is free do do whatever it wants and supports the other two voices, but it's just musical fluff. There's no importance of what it turns into.

If there are more voices, they keep ping-ponging with subject and answers, and then turning into counter subjects to support the new-coming voices. This whole section from the start up to this point is called, like Sonata Allegro Form, the Exposition. This ends when your last voice finishes its initial subject/answer (it doesn't have to become a counter subject).

Throughout the rest of the fugue, you have two parts that will alternate - subject material, and episodic material.

After the Exposition, you have an episode. The episode will modulate to new keys, transition in any way it wants, and move the music to different places. The episode is in lack of a full subject (in any key).

A subject section has at least one full subject. This can be in any key, and any voice.

The episodes and subject sections just keep ping-ponging back and forth until the end of the fugue, where you usually have a coda to end in the tonic key.

A useful term in fugal works is stretto. This is caused by many subjects entering (but not finishing). Instead of hearing a full subject by one of the voices, many voices interrupt one another before the subjects can finish. It's a really cool effect that builds tension, and usually happens near the end of the fugue.

------

That's all.

Well, time for breakfast.
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Old 03-29-2012, 01:35 PM   #64 (permalink)
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^ What a great post! Fugue form is my favourite too, especially Bach - the absolute master of fugue:

Here's one of my faves, Prelude and Fugue in C-sharp Major, WTC Vol. I



Oh, I should also add that fugues can have up to 5 different voices - Bach's Fugue in Bb minor from WTC 1, and the one I posted above (C# major) are the only two from that collection to have 5 voices. All the other fugues have only 3 or 4 voices. A three voice fugue has Upper, Middle, and Lower voices, and a four voice fugue has Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Bass voices. There is also one fugue with only 2 voices - No. 10 in Em from WTC 1. That one is just played like a canon.

Also, fugue expositions can have a false entry of the subject - that is, the first part of the subject appears but not the rest. It's almost like stretto, but in the exposition and usually only in one voice.
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Old 03-29-2012, 02:22 PM   #65 (permalink)
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Burning Down - very cool addition. Just to reiterate, because it can't be said enough - Bach IS the master of fugue.

I hadn't heard the one you posted before, but my favorite fugue hands down has to be BWV 578 - "little fugue" in G minor.


J.S. Bach - BWV 578 - Fuga g-moll / G minor - YouTube

Again, Bach's a master in polyphonic music.

I wanted to append your voices discussion. Just because you found a fugue with 5 voices, doesn't mean you're limited to that :P. You could probably have a 50 - voice fugue, where each voice of a symphonic orchestra has a part (even the percussionist on a marimba!) Granted, you'd have a lot of muddied sounds, what with all the plethora of musical voices, but it'd still work and be fugal, don't you think?

That being said, 3-5 are totally common. 2's a little thin, and anything heavier than 5 is probably too chaotic to function in a pleasant way.

But oh, the possibilities.
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:24 AM   #66 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the replies, I thought my question was rather simple and would get a few examples and a link haha wasn't expecting this.

This is off topic now but I wonder...

Quote:
Originally Posted by venjacques View Post
AABA was popular for Arias of the 18th century (called Da Capo Arias, since they go back to the beginning and play the first section again). This form made divas shine. Apparently Arias were the most popular songs from operas. They were best songs as far as the public was concerned.
ABBA the band, a slight twist on that method to cash in with a bunch of divas using a slight twist on the form that created 'the best' songs for the public?

As for Fugues being based on counterpoint melody and interaction between the instruments is that basically the same deal as rock guys doing trade-offs or call / answer riffs? The way it's described sounds like what happens during a 12 bar blues where one guitar plays the clunk-a-clunk-a-clunk rhythm while the other punches it up with lead licks.

Sorry if I seem to be trivializing the theory, I'm coming from an ignorant rock background. Basically I had a verse / chorus / verse tune with a twist that I was a little curious about haha

Quote:
Originally Posted by venjacques View Post
That's all.

Well, time for breakfast.
Enjoy and thanks

@Burning Down - I can't really say much more than that was a nice piano piece. Hearing a single person perform all the voices provides a great counterpoint to my normal environment where each voice is a different instrument and player.
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:52 AM   #67 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr dave View Post
@Burning Down - I can't really say much more than that was a nice piano piece. Hearing a single person perform all the voices provides a great counterpoint to my normal environment where each voice is a different instrument and player.
It is nice! Originally written for the harpsichord, as the piano had not yet been invented during Bach's time. Here is the same piece on the harpsichord:

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Old 03-30-2012, 02:48 PM   #68 (permalink)
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I adore harpsichord and clavichord and am always in awe of accomplished organists.

mr dave - ABBA (the band) probably has nothing to do with deriving itself (themselves) from the form. According to wikipedia, ABBA's the name of a Swedish fish-canning company. But the parallels are un'can'ny

Call-and-answer type music has been around a while. Perhaps the fugue is a great illustration of it, and that's a great observation. For what it's worth, I think modern call-and-answer comes from the gospels and American slave songs.

I know rock has a long lineage from the hands of Blues, Folk, Country, Swing, and Gospel music. Perhaps its ties into the gospel branch gave it that element. But call and answer is a varied form or Imitation, which has been around since at least the baroque period. After all, fugues are imitative monsters, and you nailed that on the head with your observation.

Fugues differ from the concept of a lead line over the clunk-a-clunk of accompaniment by the element of all voices (in this case, parts) would be the melody and the accompaniment and everything else. You could argue that the main voice (the one to start off the fugue) is more important than the others, but that argument is easily lost as the piece progresses.

In jazz and rock and all, normally you have one lead (usually guitar and/or voice in rock, usually trumpet/sax/voice in jazz), and everything else is strictly a background instrument. There's never (ok, rarely) any trade off to other instruments. Even in a drum solo, usually the guitars and other instruments stop playing altogether.
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:49 PM   #69 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venjacques View Post

In jazz and rock and all, normally you have one lead (usually guitar and/or voice in rock, usually trumpet/sax/voice in jazz), and everything else is strictly a background instrument. There's never (ok, rarely) any trade off to other instruments. Even in a drum solo, usually the guitars and other instruments stop playing altogether.
Not in a live show. Go to any bar that has a blues night or house band and the call and response goes between drummer/guitarist...bassist/singer...and pretty much any combination you could imagine. When guys have been playing to gether for a while it really shows and is amazing how they can connect through different instruments.
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Old 04-04-2012, 05:25 PM   #70 (permalink)
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I posted this in my "dilemma" thread but I haven't got a response. By the way, if you really want to give some advice I'd suggest you look into "my guitar dilemma" thread more often.

So here it is:


So, I thought I had a fair idea of how to tell what key a certain progression is in. If it starts and ends on the same chord then it is In the key of that chord. Or whichever chord gives that feeling of resolving the progression (which is always gonna be the last chord) is the chord that tells you the key. Am I right?

Well I've got a new problem on my hand. Let's say you have practically two different progressions in the same song - a different progression for the chorus and verses, for example - how do you tell what the key of the entire song is?

Let's say the verse progression is: Am/G/D/C. So this progression would be in the key of C because the progression resolves on C?

Now let's say the progression for chorus is: C/Am/F/D. This progression is in the key of D?

Keep in mind that those progressions are part of the same song. How do I tell what the key of the whole song is when both progressions are in a different key? I'm sure I'm wrong somewhere along the lines, but as of now, I'm confused.

I guess I could solo in the key of C for the verses and then in the key of D for the chorus.

Edit: I've been working with the first progression. The one that goes Am/G/D/C. I've been soloing over it using a mixture of the "A" minor blues scale and dorian mode and it sounds good. That brings me to another question, if the progression is in the key of "c", why does a scale in the key of "a" sound good? I've also been using the "c" major pentatonic and that sounds good as well. I've even mixed the "c" major pentatonic and the "a" minor pentatonic and it doesn't sound bad. Why is this? Isn't it wrong to mix a scale in the key of "c" with a scale in the key of "a"? And isn't it wrong to play a "a" Minor scale over a progression in the key of "c" major? Maybe that progression isn't even in "c" major, maybe I'm mistaken. I'm hoping you can put some clarity on this for me.
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