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By Alan Belkin

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Introduction All through this book, we have related musical form to basic psychological principles, and consequently have formulated the composer's task in these terms. So-called "standard" forms are simply patterns of construction that recur frequently enough to have been labeled. However, two movements in sonata form can nonetheless be very divergent in organization and in character. To the extent that the standard forms are meaningful categories, it is our premise that they are useful because they address the same formal problems we have described throughout this book.

However the final cadence is still clearly the strongest than the preceding ones in the group. The phrase group is therefore less predictable than a period or double period, while still displaying a clear hierarchy of (cadential) structure. It can be useful in mitigating the squareness of other, more regular structures. Phrase Chain A phrase chain avoids a hierarchical organization of cadences; often its successive phrases are even based on different material. It is usually found in transitional or developmental sections, since the structure evolves rapidly and somewhat unpredictably.

But this is an opera, with a story that communicates closure; musically, there is nonetheless a slowing of harmonic rhythm and an arrival at relatively consonant harmony. There is also a reason in the story to suggest why the music is slightly open-ended: The child does not yet understand what has happened. The ending as a distinct section: the Coda Just as a beginning may be expanded into a substantial introductory section, in a work of substantial size, the ending may be enlarged to form a coda.

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A Practical Guide to Musical Composition by Alan Belkin


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