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Music in the making. Produced by Milliken university under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. School of music and concert pianist Elizabeth Travis chairman of the piano department in a recorded consideration of musical form Professor Travis is assisted by Jim and who will play the music a little straight ins and now a few measures from Rhapsody by Brahms.
The greatest music has organic growth. Or in other words music often has a so-called germ idea which develops into the complete form. This tonal architecture corresponds somewhat to the architects design or cathedral. Presently we shall hear some examples. But before we do let's examine for a moment some of the elements necessary to our art. We must have balance proportion contrast repetition and recognizable musical ideas or to put it another way. We must have themes with enough character to our ears as they are used to build up the structure of the composition. In handling the fluid medium of sound the composer plays a different role than does a writer since the composer is in a position to dictate and
control materials out of which he makes music in a spoken language generally total meanings arise out of what we have come to agree that words themselves mean. In music the meaning was a rise out of what the sounds do you know other words music means what the sounds do. Terminology involves many confusing duplications and contradictions of terms. For example the term phrase is strictly applied to a division of a musical sentence as it is in language. But phrasing in general includes a consideration of both larger and smaller groups of demarcation. The normal length of a musical sentence sometimes called a period usually 8 bars or the equivalent of eight bars corresponding to the first two lines of the rows and when the theme from Schubert's impromptu in B flat major.
The division of such a musical Some are marked by cadences corresponding with the ends of lines of poetry The word phrase in that special application describes something normally four measures. Thus. The first phrase usually ends with a high cadence or with a full cadence on the dominant. As in our example. You will notice that this device does not give the impression of completion or finish the phrase or section consisting of two measures is still less emphatically
marked. It may have one of several less final cadences or perhaps none at all. Listen to this example. Still from Schubert's impromptu. Form is the first element that is apparent in plastic art and perhaps the last to be comprehended in music by making a mental effort to take account of the harmonic and melodic in the rhythmic structure of a composition. We may learn to enjoy it far better than we otherwise than otherwise would be possible. The great English pedagogue says that in order to arrive at any satisfactory and intelligent basis for understanding and projecting form we must consider everything in the light of progression. That is movement toward some more or less clearly defined destination or cadence. Let's take the opening bars of America as one of the
simplest. It consists as you know of three bits each with its little climax and the third bit forming a capping climax to the other two. That is the first bar progresses to the second the third to the fourth and the fifth to the sixth. Like this. Now we find in the opening measures of humans novelette an F major a very similar structure that is too short or less accented progressions kept by a longer and stronger one. To protect the structure or form of a piece of music it is often very necessary
to disregard the bar lines which separate the piece measures. For example if we observe the accentuation of the bar lines in this novel the rhythm will sound upside down like this. What we wish to expose in order to give sense to these measures is the swing of the music itself. That is each of the three progressions moving toward its climax and the third progressing toward a more important climax. And now listen once again the same phrase played first incorrectly then with the proper accentuation which exposes the correct musical idea.
Thank you Kay. It is interesting to note that rhapsody on this program has made use of an irregular grouping of measures. We find that instead of the usual bar groups discussing implies a five bar period. Would you please place. The answer. At the end of these 10 bars on the dominant of the minor. Listen to the entire phrase.
We have another which this time. With different facets of form.
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Music in the making
Musical form
Producing Organization
Millikin University
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
In this program, Elizabeth Travis discusses musical form and composition.
Series Description
Instructional comments and musical illustrations using faculty and students from the Millikin University School of Music. The first thirteen programs in the series focus upon historical aspects of music. The second half of the series explores music's technical side.
Broadcast Date
Media type
Producing Organization: Millikin University
Speaker: Travis, Elizabeth
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 56-8-18 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:23
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Chicago: “Music in the making; Musical form,” 1956-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 6, 2023,
MLA: “Music in the making; Musical form.” 1956-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 6, 2023. <>.
APA: Music in the making; Musical form. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from