Musical forms and structures

I really should learn this stuff. I mean, aside from what I’ve absorbed already: sonatas have three movements, the middle one’s usually slower, the last one ends with a bang, concertos feature a soloist, etc. Just the basics.

But I just do not want to slog through all that crap and then get bogged down with it. I’m much more attracted to the idea of applying other structures to music. I hate saying that, because I do not want to sound like all of the people who keep me from being able to read composer forums without rolling my eyes … who are just so different and so unique that they surely can’t fit their ideas into the oppressive and boring Dead White Male™ framework! That framework tends to work nicely, and it’s a good idea to learn The Rules first before you learn how to bend and break them. That way, you can bend and break them mindfully and not just because you don’t know any better.

But at the same time, I want to sort of discover this stuff on my own, without someone looking over my shoulder going, “And now you have to go into V.” If I want to go into V, I want to dig it up myself by doing. I’d like to see if I can’t suss some of this stuff out on my own, because it’s more fun that way, and it makes for more robust knowledge. I think I’d like to do this for a couple years to see what I can manage on my own before I open a book and let someone else talk to my inside my head and tell me how to do it.

And I like the idea of using literary structures as frameworks for music instead. Like that analogy I made of the Fm I wrote to a five-paragraph essay — you make a thesis sentence, an idea that’s got three interesting parts in it. Develop the first part, then the second, then the third. Then, go back and restate the first idea and see how it’s changed now with the development of each part. Disassemble your idea, then let the parts evolve … then bring them back together. What animal do you now have?

I’d love to see what other literary forms are out there to do this with — compare/contrast, debate, typical plot structure (establishment, initiation of conflict, rising action, climax, denouement), that sort of thing. I imagine that a lot of this will mirror musical forms anyway. After all, music is a narrative, and there are only so many ways to evolve something. Underlyingly, everything is essentially the same.

I think, instead of musical forms, I’d like to read up a bit on rhetoric and literary forms, and see what I can do with them. I do love abstraction. And it’s far more fun to have someone say, “This type of essay requires an element of foreshadowing,” and try to figure out how that applies to music than to have someone just go, “Put an authentic cadence there because you’re supposed to.”

Some links:

Chiastic structure
Synchysis
Literary Elements
Figures of speech
Essay information and types

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