Notes on Form: Phrases and Periods

We are now beginning to study form in music.  You should be aware that as musicians have discussed formal issues over the last two hundred and fifty years or so, they have often used terminology in slightly different ways.  The differences are subtle, but they reside at the heart of basic definitions.  In preparing these notes, I have attempted to steer a course that is simple, that is internally consistent, and that would receive support from other musicians that is as broad-based as possible.  Don’t be surprised, however, if in reading about form or in talking about it with other musicians you encounter some of these disagreements about the use of terms.



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