Lessons in Music Form - A Manual of Analysis of All the Structural Factors and - Designs Employed in Musical Composition
by Percy Goetschius
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(Royal Wuerttemberg Professor)






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The present manual treats of the structural designs of musical composition, not of the styles or species of music. Read our AFTERWORD.

It undertakes the thorough explanation of each design or form, from the smallest to the largest; and such comparison as serves to demonstrate the principle of natural evolution, in the operation of which the entire system originates.

This explanation—be it well understood—is conducted solely with a view to the Analysis of musical works, and is not calculated to prepare the student for the application of form in practical composition. For the exhaustive exposition of the technical apparatus, the student must be referred to my "Homophonic Forms."

The present aim is to enable the student to recognize and trace the mental process of the composer in executing his task; to define each factor of the structural design, and its relation to every other factor and to the whole; to determine thus the synthetic meaning of the work, and thereby to increase not only his own appreciation, interest, and enjoyment of the very real beauties of good music, but also his power to interpret, intelligently and adequately, the works that engage his attention.

* * * * * *

The choice of classic literature to which most frequent reference is made, and which the student is therefore expected to procure before beginning his lessons, includes:—

The Songs Without Words of Mendelssohn; the Jugend Album, Op. 68, of Schumann; the pianoforte sonatas of Mozart (Peters edition); the pianoforte sonatas of Beethoven.

Besides these, incidental reference is made to the symphonies of Beethoven, the sonatas of Schubert, the mazurkas of Chopin, and other pianoforte compositions of Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Chopin, and Brahms.


BOSTON, MASS., Sept., 1904.










































THE NECESSITY OF FORM IN MUSIC.—So much uncertainty and diversity of opinion exists among music lovers of every grade concerning the presence of Form in musical composition, and the necessity of its presence there, that a few general principles are submitted at the outset of our studies, as a guide to individual reflection and judgment on the subject.

Certain apparently defensible prejudices that prevail in the minds of even advanced musical critics against the idea of Form in music, originate in a very manifest mistake on the part of the "formalists" themselves, who (I refer to unimpassioned theorists and advocates of rigid old scholastic rules) place too narrow a construction upon Form, and define it with such rigor as to leave no margin whatever for the exercise of free fancy and emotional sway. Both the dreamer, with his indifference to (or downright scorn of) Form; and the pedant, with his narrow conception of it; as well as the ordinary music lover, with his endeavor to discover some less debatable view to adopt for his own everyday use,—need to be reminded that Form in music means simply Order in music.

Thus interpreted, the necessity of form, that is, Order, in the execution of a musical design appears as obvious as are the laws of architecture to the builder, or the laws of creation to the astronomer or naturalist; for the absence of order, that is, Disorder, constitutes a condition which is regarded with abhorrence and dread by every rational mind.

A musical composition, then, in which Order prevails; in which all the factors are chosen and treated in close keeping with their logical bearing upon each other and upon the whole; in which, in a word, there is no disorder of thought or technique,—is music with Form (i.e. good Form). A sensible arrangement of the various members of the composition (its figures, phrases, motives, and the like) will exhibit both agreement and contrast, both confirmation and opposition; for we measure things by comparison with both like and unlike. Our nature demands the evidence of uniformity, as that emphasizes the impressions, making them easier to grasp and enjoy; but our nature also craves a certain degree of variety, to counteract the monotony which must result from too persistent uniformity. When the elements of Unity and Variety are sensibly matched, evenly balanced, the form is good. On the other hand, a composition is formless, or faulty in form, when the component parts are jumbled together without regard to proportion and relation.

Which of these two conditions is the more desirable, or necessary, would seem to be wholly self-evident.

The error made by pedantic teachers is to demand too much Form; to insist that a piece of music shall be a model of arithmetical adjustment. This is probably a graver error than apparent formlessness. Design and logic and unity there must surely be; but any obtrusive evidence of mathematical calculation must degrade music to the level of a mere handicraft.

* * * * * *

Another and higher significance involved in the idea of Form, that goes to prove how indispensable it may be in truly good music, rests upon the opposition of Form to the material.

There are two essentially different classes of music lovers:—the one class takes delight in the mere sound and jingle of the music; not looking for any higher purpose than this, they content themselves with the purely sensuous enjoyment that the sound material affords. To such listeners, a comparatively meaningless succession of tones and chords is sufficiently enjoyable, so long as each separate particle, each beat or measure, is euphonious in itself. The other class, more discriminating in its tastes, looks beneath this iridescent surface and strives to fathom the underlying purpose of it all; not content with the testimony of the ear alone, such hearers enlist the higher, nobler powers of Reason, and no amount of pleasant sounds could compensate them for the absence of well-ordered parts and their logical justification.

This second class is made up of those listeners who recognize in music an embodiment of artistic aims, an object of serious and refined enjoyment that appeals to the emotions through the intelligence,—not a plaything for the senses alone; and who believe that all music that would in this sense be truly artistic, must exhibit "Form" as the end, and "Material" only as a means to this end.

* * * * * *

Still another, and possibly the strongest argument of all for the necessity of form in music, is derived from reflection upon the peculiarly vague and intangible nature of its art-material—tone, sound. The words of a language (also sounds, it is true) have established meanings, so familiar and definite that they recall and re-awaken impressions of thought and action with a vividness but little short of the actual experience. Tones, on the contrary, are not and cannot be associated with any definite ideas or impressions; they are as impalpable as they are transient, and, taken separately, leave no lasting trace.

Therefore, whatever stability and palpability a musical composition is to acquire, must be derived from its form, or design, and not from its totally unsubstantial material. It must fall back upon the network traced by the disposition of its points and lines upon the musical canvas; for this it is that constitutes its real and palpable contents.

THE EVIDENCES OF FORM IN MUSIC.—The presence of form in music is manifested, first of all, by the disposition of tones and chords in symmetrical measures, and by the numerous methods of tone arrangement which create and define the element of Rhythm,—the distinction of short and long time-values, and of accented and unaccented (that is, heavy and light) pulses.

This is not what is commonly supposed to constitute form in music, but it is the fundamental condition out of which an orderly system of form may be developed. As well might the carpenter or architect venture to dispense with scale, compass and square in their constructive labors, as that the composer should neglect beat, measure and rhythm, in his effort to realize a well-developed and intelligible design in the whole, or any part, of his composition. The beats and measures and phrases are the barley-corn, inch and ell of the musical draughtsman, and without these units of measurement and proportion, neither the vital condition of Symmetry nor the equally important condition of well-regulated Contrast could be clearly established.

The beat is the unit of measurement in music. The measure is a group of beats,—two, three, four, or more, at the option of the composer. The bounds of the measures are visibly represented (on the written or printed page) by vertical lines, called bars; and are rendered orally recognizable (to the hearer who does not see the page) by a more or less delicate emphasis, imparted—by some means or other—to the first pulse or beat of each measure, as accent, simply to mark where each new group begins. Those who play or sing can imagine how vague, and even chaotic, a page of music would look if these vertical bars were omitted; and how much more difficult it would be to read than when these (not only accustomed, but truly necessary) landmarks are present. Precisely the same unintelligible impression must be, and is, conveyed to the hearer when his landmarks, the accents, are not indicated with sufficient emphasis or clearness to render him sensible of the beginning of each new measure.

* * * * * *

The same primary system of measurement and association which is employed in enlarging the beats to measures, is then applied to the association of the measures themselves in the next larger units of musical structure, the Motive, Phrase, Period, and so forth. Unlike the measures, which are defined by the accents at their beginning, these larger factors of form are defined chiefly at their end, by the impression of occasional periodic interruption, exactly analogous to the pauses at the end of poetic lines, or at the commas, semicolons and the like, in a prose paragraph. These interruptions of the musical current, called Cadences, are generally so well defined that even the more superficial listener is made aware of a division of the musical pattern into its sections and parts, each one of which closes as recognizably (though not as irrevocably) as the very last sentence of the piece.

Cadences serve the same purpose in music, then, as do the punctuation marks in rhetoric; and an idea of the senselessness and confusion of a musical composition, if left devoid of cadences in sufficient number and force, may be gleaned from an experimental test of the effect of a page of prose, read with persistent disregard of its commas, colons, and other marks of "cadence."

* * * * * *

Another evidence of Form in music, that is at once subtle and powerful, rests upon what might be termed the linear quality of melody. The famous old definition of a line as a "succession of points," tallies so accurately with that of melody (as a "succession of single tones"), that it is not only proper, but peculiarly forceful, to speak of melodies as tone-lines. Our conception of a melody or tune, our ability to recognize and reproduce it, depends far more upon its undulations, its rising, falling, or resting level, than upon its rhythmic features (the varying lengths of its tones). These movements trace a resonant line before our mind's eye as surely, though perhaps not as distinctly, as the pencil of the artist traces the lines of an image upon the paper; and this process is going on constantly, from beginning to end, in every piece of music. In a portrait it describes the contours of face and figure,—in a word, the Form; in the musical composition it fulfils, to a great extent, the self-same mission, that of defining the Form. One clear, predominating tone-line traces the "air" or tune of the piece; and this is often the only line that arrests the hearer's attention; but there are other tone-lines, less prominent and less extended and coherent, gliding along harmoniously beside the Melody proper, which (something like the shading in a picture) contribute to the richness of the design, and perform their share in proving and illuminating the Form of the whole.

This is most salient in music for orchestra, where each player describes an individual tone-line, rendered all the more distinct and recognizable by the specific "color" of his instrument; and that is the chief, perhaps the sole, reason why the orchestra is esteemed the most complete and perfect medium of musical expression.

UNITY AND VARIETY.—As much as opinions and beliefs may differ, among music critics, as to the necessity of Form in music, and the conditions of its existence, no reasonable objection can be taken to the hypothesis that Clearness and Attractiveness are the two vital requisites upon which the enjoyment of any art depends. The artist's utterances or creations must be intelligible, and they must be interesting. The lack, partial or total, of either of these qualities neutralizes the force of the intended impression, in precise proportion to the default.

In musical composition these two requisites are embodied in the principles of Unity and Variety.

Unity—in its various technical phases of Uniformity, Regularity, Similarity, Equality, Agreement, or whatever other synonym we may find it convenient to use—is the condition out of which the composer must secure intelligibility, clearness, definiteness of expression. Glance at Ex. 2, and note the evidences of unity (similarity) in the rhythmic and melodic formation of the first four measures.

Variety—in its most comprehensive application—is the medium he must employ to arouse and sustain the hearer's interest. Glance again at Ex. 2, and note the contrast between the two halves of the first four measures, and between these and the following two measures.

These conditions are, of course, squarely opposed to each other, though their interaction is reciprocal rather than antagonistic; and, from what has been said, it is obvious that they are of equal importance. Hence, as was declared on the second page, the great problem of the art-creator consists in so balancing their operations that neither may encroach upon the domain of the other. For too constant and palpable Unity will inevitably paralyze interest; while too much Variety will as surely tend to obscure the distinctness of the design.

* * * * * *

The workings of the principle of Unity (to which attention must first be given, because it appears to come first in the order of creation) are shown in the following elementary details of composition:—

(1) Music is not an art that deals with space, but with Time; therefore the units of its metrical structure are not inches and the like, but divisions of time, the basis of which is the beat. The principle of Unity dictates that the beats which are associated in one and the same musical sentence shall be of equal duration. Every musician admits the necessity of keeping "strict time"—that is, marking the beats in regular, equal pulses. The sub-divisions of the beats (for example, the eighth or sixteenth notes within a beat) must also be symmetric. So imperative is this law that it generally prevails through the entire piece, with only such temporary elongations or contractions (marked ritardando or accelerando) as may be introduced for oratorical effects.

(2) The beats are grouped in measures of uniform duration; that is, containing equal numbers of beats.

(3) The natural accent falls upon the corresponding beat, namely, the first, of each measure; therefore it recurs regularly, at uniform intervals of time.

(4) The melodic contents of the first measure, or measures, are copied (more or less literally) in the next measure, or measures; and are encountered again and again in the later course of the piece, thus insuring a fairly uniform melodic impression from which the character and identity of the composition are derived. Turn to the 8th Song Without Words of Mendelssohn, and observe how insistently the figure

and its inversion

run through the whole number.

(5) The specific figure of the accompaniment is usually reproduced from measure to measure (or group to group) throughout whole sections of the piece. Observe, in the 37th Song Without Words, how constantly the ascending figure of six tones recurs in the lower part (left hand). Glance also at No. 30; No. 1; No. 25. Many other evidences of Unity are invariably present in good music, so naturally and self-evidently that they almost escape our notice. Some of these are left to the student's discernment; others will engage our joint attention in due time.

* * * * * *

In every one of these manifestations of unity there lies the germ of the principle of Variety, which quickens into life with the action of the former, always following, as offspring and consequence of the primary unity. Thus:—

(1) The beats, though uniform in duration, differ from each other in force. The first pulse in each measure (or metric group of any size) is heavier, stronger, than the following. It—the first—is the "impulse," and is what is called the accent. This dynamic distinction it is that gives rise to the two fundamental classes of rhythm, the duple and triple. In duple rhythm the accent is followed by one unaccented or lighter beat, so that regular alternation of heavy and light pulses prevails incessantly. In triple rhythm the accent is followed by two lighter beats, creating similarly constant, but irregular alternation of heavy and light pulses.

This distinction is so significant and so striking, that the music lover who is eager to gain the first clues to the structural purpose of a composition, should endeavor to recognize which one of these two rhythmic species underlies the movement to which he is listening. It is fairly certain to be one or the other continuously. Of duple measure, the march and polka are familiar examples; of triple measure, the waltz and mazurka. The "regularity" of the former rhythm imparts a certain stability and squareness to the entire piece, while triple rhythm is more graceful and circular in effect.

(2) The same dynamic distinction applies also to whole measures, and

(3) to accents. The first of two successive measures, or of two or more accents, is always a trifle heavier than the other.

(4) The melodic contents of the first measure may be exactly reproduced in the succeeding measure; but if this is the case, they are very unlikely to appear still again in the next (third) measure, for that would exaggerate the condition of Unity and create the effect of monotony.

The measure marked b is exactly like a. But c is all the more contrasting, on account of this similarity.

Or, the melodic contents of a measure may be thus reproduced, as far as the rhythm and direction of the tones are concerned, but—for variety—they may be shifted to a higher or lower place upon the staff, or may be otherwise modified.

Compare the groups marked a and b, and observe how the principles of unity and variety are both active in these four measures, and how their effect is heightened by the formation of c.

(5) The figures of the accompaniment, though reproduced in uniform rhythmic values and melodic direction, undergo constant modifications in pitch and in shape, similar, to those shown in Ex. 2. See, again, No. 37 of the Songs Without Words and note the changes in the formation of the otherwise uniform six-tone groups.

LESSON 1.—The student is to study this chapter thoroughly, and write answers to the following questions; if possible, without reference to the text:—

1. What does Form in music mean?

2. Define the conditions which constitute good form.

3. When is a composition faulty in form?

4. What do discriminating listeners recognize in music?

5. What is the difference between the sounds of music and those of language?

6. How does this prove the necessity of form?

7. By what is the presence of form in music shown?

8. What is the beat?

9. What is the measure?

10. By what means are the measures indicated, (1) to the reader; (2) to the listener?

11. To what does the further multiplication of the beats give rise?

12. What are cadences?

13. What purpose do they serve in music?

14. What is the best general name for a melody?

15. What object does it fulfil in music form?

16. What are the two vital requisites upon which the enjoyment of an art creation depends?

17. What purpose does Unity serve?

18. What purpose does Variety serve?

19. What is the great problem of the art-creator?

20. Define the conditions that confirm the principle of unity in music.

21. Define the evidences of variety in music.


TIME.—Time is the same thing in music that it is everywhere else in nature. It is what passes while a piece of music is being played, sung, or read. It is like the area of the surface upon which the musical structure is to be erected, and which is measured or divided into so many units for this, so many for that, so many for the other portion of the musical Form. Time is that quantity which admits of the necessary reduction to units (like the feet and inches of a yardstick), whereby a System of Measurement is established that shall determine the various lengths of the tones, define their rhythmic conditions, and govern the co-operation of several melodies sung or played together. Time is the canvas upon which the musical images are drawn—in melodic lines.

TEMPO.—This refers to the degree of motion. The musical picture is not constant, but panoramic; we never hear a piece of music all at once, but as a panorama of successive sounds. Tempo refers to the rate of speed with which the scroll passes before our minds. Thus we speak of rapid tempo (allegro, and the like), or slow tempo (adagio), and so forth.

BEATS.—The beats are the units in our System of Measurement,—as it were, the inches upon our yardstick of time; they are the particles of time that we mark when we "count," or that the conductor marks with the "beats" of his baton. Broadly speaking, the ordinary beat (in moderate tempo) is about equivalent to a second of time; to less or more than this, of course, in rapid or slow tempo. Most commonly, the beat is represented in written music by the quarter-note, as in 2-4, 3-4, 4-4, 6-4 measure. But the composer is at liberty to adopt any value he pleases (8th, 16th, half-note) as beat. In the first study in Clementi's "Gradus ad Parnassum," the time-signature is 3-1, the whole note as beat; in the 8th Sung Without Words it is 6-16, the sixteenth note as beat; in the last pianoforte sonata of Beethoven (op. 111), last movement, the time-signatures are 9-16, 6-16, and 12-32, the latter being, probably, the smallest beat ever chosen.

MEASURES.—A measure is a group of beats. The beats are added together, in measures, to obtain a larger unit of time, because larger divisions are more convenient for longer periods; just as we prefer to indicate the dimensions of a house, or farm, in feet or rods, rather than in inches.

Measures differ considerably in extent in various compositions, inasmuch as the number of beats enclosed between the vertical bars may be, and is, determined quite arbitrarily. What is known as a Simple measure contains either the two beats (heavy-light) of the fundamental duple group, or the three beats (heavy-light-light) of the triple group, shown in the preceding chapter. Compound measures are such as contain more than two or three beats, and they must always be multiplications, or groups, of a Simple measure; for whether so small as to comprise only the fundamental groups of two or three beats (as in 2-4, 3-8, 3-4 measure), or so large as to embrace as many as twelve beats or more (as in 4-4, 6-4, 6-8, 9-8, 12-8 measure), the measure represents, practically, either the duple or triple species, Simple or Compound. Thus, a measure of four beats, sometimes called (needlessly) quadruple rhythm, is merely twice two beats; the species is actually duple; the alternation of heavy and light pulses is regular; and therefore the third beat is again an accent, as well as the first, though less heavy. A measure of 6-8 is triple species, with accents at beats one and four, precisely as if an additional vertical bar were inserted after the third beat. In a word, then, the size of the adopted measure is of no consequence, as long as it is retained uniformly through the section to which it belongs; and there is no real difference between 2-4 and 4-4 measure, excepting in the number of bars used.

A curious and rare exception to this rule of the compound measure occurs when five or seven beats are grouped together. This involves a mingling of the duple and triple species, and, consequently, an irregular disposition of the accents; for instance, 5-4 measure is either 3+2 or 2+3 beats, with corresponding accentuation:

RHYTHM.—This word signifies arrangement,—a principle applied, in music, to the distribution or arrangement of the tones according to their various time-values. The system of measurement (or metric system) furnishes tone material with all the details of division, proportion and comparison; but this, alone, is not rhythm. The metric system affords the basis for rational and definable rhythm, but "rhythm" itself does not enter into the proposition until differentiated factors are associated and opposed to each other.

The first measure of this hymn is, by itself, merely an exponent of the metric principle, for it consists of three uniform quarter-notes. The second measure, however, is a rhythmic one, because, by dotting the first of the three beats, three different time-values are obtained (dotted quarter, eighth, and quarter). Further, by association and comparison with each other, both measures assume a collective rhythmic significance.

The rhythmic disposition of the tones is to a certain extent optional with the composer, but by no means wholly so; the rules of rhythm are probably the most definite and obvious of all the rules of music writing. They do not concern the analytical student intimately, but at least the general distinction between regular and irregular rhythm should be understood:—We have seen that the natural accent (the "heavy" pulse) is invariably represented by the first beat of a rhythmic group; and that one or two lighter pulses intervene before the next accent appears. Further, it is self-evident that the rhythmic weight of a tone is proportionate to its length, or time-value; longer tones produce heavier, and shorter tones lighter, impressions. The deduction from these two facts is, then, that the rhythmic arrangement is regular when the comparatively longer tones occupy the accented beats, or the accented fractions of the beats; and irregular when shorter tones occupy the accents, or when longer tones are shifted to any comparatively lighter pulse of the measure or group.

The rhythm of the second measure in Ex. 3 is regular, because the longest tone stands at the beginning of the measure, thus confirming (and, in fact, creating) the accent. The rhythm in Ex. 1 is also regular, throughout, the light eighth-notes occupying the light third beat, and the heavy dotted-quarter the heavy pulse (in the third measure). Ex. 2 is strikingly definite in rhythm, because the time-values are so greatly diversified; and the arrangement is regular.

On the other hand, the following is an example of irregular rhythm:

The longer (heavier) tones are placed in the middle of the measure, between the beats; the tie at the end of measure 3 places the heavy note at the end, instead of the beginning, of the measure, and cancels the accent of the fourth measure. These irregular forms of rhythm are called syncopation. See also Ex. 6, second Phrase.

MELODY.—Any succession of single tones is a melody. If we strike the keys of the piano with two or more fingers of each hand simultaneously, we produce a body of tones, which—if they are so chosen that they blend harmoniously—is called a Chord; and a series of such chords is an illustration of what is known as Harmony. If, however, we play with one finger only, we produce a melody. The human voice, the flute, horn,—all instruments capable of emitting but one tone at a time,—produce melody.

Melody constitutes, then, a line of tones. If, as we have said, Time is the canvas upon which the musical images are thrown, Melodies are the lines which trace the design or form of these images. This indicates the extreme importance of the melodic idea in music form. Without such "tone-lines" the effect would be similar to that of daubs or masses of color without a drawing, without the evidence of contour and shape.

A good melody, that is, a melody that appeals to the intelligent music lover as tuneful, pleasing, and intelligible, is one in which, first of all, each successive tone and each successive group of tones stands in a rational harmonic relation to the one before it, and even, usually, to several preceding tones or groups. In other words, the tones are not arranged haphazard, but with reference to their harmonious agreement with each other. For a model of good melody, examine the very first sentence in the book of Beethoven's pianoforte sonatas:—

The tones bracketed a, if struck all together, unite and blend in one harmonious body, so complete is the harmonic agreement of each succeeding tone with its fellows; the same is true of the group marked c. The tones bracketed b and d do not admit of being struck simultaneously, it is true, but they are all parts of the same key (F minor), and are closely and smoothly connected; hence their concurrence, though not one of harmony (chord), is one of intimate tone relation and proximity. Further, the whole group marked 2 corresponds in its linear formation, its rising, poising and curling, exactly to the preceding group, marked 1. This, then, is a good melody,—tuneful, interesting, intelligible, striking and absolutely definite.

In the second place, the tones and groups in a good melody are measured with reference to harmony of time-values; that is, their metric condition, and their rhythmic arrangement, corroborate the natural laws already defined:—uniformity of fundamental pulse, uniform recurrence of accent, and sufficient regularity of rhythmic figure to insure a distinct and comprehensible total impression. This also may be verified in the time-values of Ex. 5. Scrutinize also, the melodic and rhythmic conditions of Exs. 1 and 2,—and the examples on later pages,—and endeavor to vindicate their classification as "good" melodies. Ex. 4, though an exposition of irregular rhythm, is none the less excellent on that account; on the contrary, this irregularity, because wisely balanced by sufficient evidence of harmonious and logical agreement, only heightens the beauty and effectiveness of the melody.

* * * * * *

Whenever whole bodies of tone are played successively, a number of melody lines are being described,—as many, in fact, as there are tones in each body. For example, in playing a hymn-tune we describe (on the keyboard) the four separate melodies known as the soprano, alto, tenor and bass voices. In a duet, unaccompanied, there are two melodic lines; if accompanied, other melodic lines are added to these. Thus we recognize the same system of associated lines in music as in architecture or drawing. Very rarely indeed does one single unbroken line portray a complete image.

But in music, as in drawing, the lines differ in their degrees of importance and prominence; and, very commonly, one line over-shadows all, or nearly all the rest. This strongest tone-line is therefore apt to be designated, somewhat unfairly, the melody (the "tune" or "air" is more just). But, at all events, this predominating melodic line is the most important factor of the form, the one upon which the definition and recognition of the "form" depend; and it is therefore necessary that the student learn to distinguish it, to acquire the habit of centring his attention upon it,—in reading, listening to, or analyzing music; and, in playing, to give it the emphasis it requires.

The importance of a tone-line depends solely upon its conspicuousness. The principal melody—the Melody—is the one which is most salient, which most attracts the hearer's attention. For this reason the composer is induced to place his chief melody above the rest of the tone-lines, because the uppermost tone strikes the ear more acutely than the lower ones, and therefore the succession of highest tones constitutes a conspicuous line that attracts and impresses the sense most keenly.

Here then, at the top of the harmonic tone-complex, we look for the chief melody; and here it will be found,—excepting when arbitrary emphasis (by accentuation) is imparted to some lower tone-line, so that it, for the time being, assumes a prominence equal, or superior, to that of the uppermost line. (This divided prominence is seen in the 18th Song Without Words—the duet.)

LESSON 2.—Write careful and complete answers to the following questions:—

1. What is Time, as applied to music?

2. What is tempo?

3. Give a full definition of the beat.

4. By what time-value is it most commonly indicated?

5. Give a full definition of the measure.

6. Why do measures differ in size?

7. What is a simple measure?

8. What is a compound measure?

9. Define duple and triple rhythms. (See also Chap. I.)

10. What does the term rhythm signify?

11. How is it applied in music?

12. When is the rhythm regular?

13. When is the rhythm irregular?

14. Define the difference between melody and harmony.

15. Give a full definition of melody.

16. What are the conditions of a good melody?

17. In what respect does music resemble architecture or drawing?

18. Are the tone-lines in a composition of equal importance?

19. What significance is to be attached to the principal tone-line?

20. Upon what does the importance of a tone-line depend?

21. Where is the chief melody usually placed?


THE MELODIC FIGURE.—The smallest unit in musical composition is the single tone. The smallest cluster of successive tones (from two to four or five in number) that will convey a definite musical impression, as miniature musical idea, is called a Figure. Assuming the single tone to represent the same unit of expression as a letter of the alphabet, the melodic figure would be defined as the equivalent of a complete (small) word;—pursuing the comparison further, a series of figures constitutes the melodic Motive, equivalent to the smallest group of words (a subject with its article and adjective, for example); and two or three motives make a Phrase, equivalent to the complete, though comparatively brief, sentence (subject, predicate, and object). This definition, amply illustrated in the following examples, serves also to point out the significant resemblance between the structure of language and of music. The principal melody is, as it were, the voice of the speaker, whose message is framed wholly out of the primary tones, or letters of the musical alphabet. The association of primary tone-units, in successive order, results first in the figure, then in the motive, then the phrase, period, and so forth, in the manner of natural growth, till the narrative is ended. The following example, though extending beyond our present point of observation, is given as an illustration of this accumulative process (up to the so-called Period):—

The tones bracketed a are the Figures; two (in the last measures, three) of these are seen to form Motives; two of these motives make the Phrase; and the whole sentence, of two phrases, is a Period. See also Ex. 1 and Ex. 2, in which the formation of figures is very distinct.

The pregnancy and significance of each of these tiny musical "words" (or figures, as we are to call them),—small and apparently imperfect as they are,—can best be tested by concentrating the attention upon each as if it stood alone upon the page; it is such vitality of the separate particles that invests a musical masterwork with its power and permanency of interest.

* * * * * *

DEFINING THE FIGURES.—It is not always easy to distinguish the figures in a melodic sentence. While they are unquestionably analogous to the words in speech, they are by no means as concrete, nor are they separated as distinctly, as the words upon a written or printed sheet. This is in keeping with the intangible quality of music, and the peculiar vagueness of its medium of expression; the quality which veils its intrinsic purport from the mass of music admirers, and lends it such exquisite and inexplicable charm to all hearers alike.

In a word, it is not the common practice for a composer to cut up his melodic sentences into separately recognizable small particles, by distinctly marking each component figure. Here and there it is done, by way of contrast, or emphasis, or for a definite rhythmic effect,—as shown in Ex. 2 and Ex. 6. But more generally the figures are so closely interlinked that the whole sentence may impress the hearer as one coherent strain, with an occasional interruption. The very minute "breaks" between figures are often nearly or quite imperceptible; and in many cases it is possible to define the figures of a motive in various, equally plausible ways, simply because the "breaks" (which are of course surely present, and become more and more apparent between the larger members of a composition) are likely to be too inconsiderable among these, smallest factors of the melodic form.

The following three guides may serve to indicate the extremities of the melodic figures:—

(1) A brief rest, or a longer tone, usually marks the end of a figure. This is fully illustrated in Ex. 6. See also Ex. 10, Ex. 12.

(2) Similarity of formation (rhythm and melodic direction) almost invariably defines the mutually opposed, and therefore separable, divisions of the melody,—both small and large. For example (the figures are bracketed a):—

See also Ex. 1. The operation of this exceedingly important rule of "corresponding formation" (about which more will be said later on) is seen—on a larger scale—in Ex. 2, Ex. 5, and Ex. 6, where it defines the whole motive.

(3) In default of more definite signs, the figures may be found to correspond to the metric groups (that is, in lengths of whole or half measures). Thus:—

This example illustrates the interlinking of the figures, and suggests the difficulty that may be encountered in the effort to define melodic figures. The difficulty is probably greatest in melodies of a lyric character, where it is necessary to sustain the coherency of the sentence; for instance, in many of the Songs Without Words,—see No. 40, No. 22, and others, in which an entirely definite separation of the figures is well-nigh a hopeless task.

For this reason,—that is, because the melodic divisions are so minute and vague between these smaller particles of the musical sentence,—it is advisable to give no heed to any factor smaller than the "motive," and to undertake the analysis of nothing less than the latter; for even the most scrupulous "phrasing," in the playing of a composition, must avoid the risk of incoherency almost certain to result from distinctly separating all the figures. The melodies in Ex. 8 should not betray the secret of their formation.

THE MELODIC MOTIVE OR PHRASE-MEMBER.—This, as has already been stated, is a somewhat longer section, compounded of two or more figures. Being thus longer, the "breaks" or spaces between motives are generally more emphatic and recognizable than those between the figures, and therefore it is easier, as a rule, to define the extremities of motives.

Melodic motives differ in length from one to four measures; by far the most common extent, however, is two measures, and the student will do wisely to accept this dimension and analyze accordingly, unless there is unmistakable evidence to the contrary. The indications are precisely the same as those illustrated in the preceding two examples as guides for the definition of figures.

For example:—

In the first of these examples the extent of the motives is proven by each of the three given guides: the rest, which marks the end of the first member; the similarity of melodic and rhythmic formation, which proclaims the beginning of the second member, parallel with that of the first; and the regular (two-measure) dimension. In Nos. 2 and 3 there are no rests between the motives, and the melodic formation differs; here it is the standard of two measures that defines the members.

Ex. 3 is a two-measure motive. In Exs. 2, 5, and 6, the motives are all two measures in length.

In the following:—

one is tempted to call each single measure a motive, because of the number of tones it contains, and the weight (length) of the final tone, which makes a much more emphatic interruption than commonly occurs between figures.

And in the following, on the other hand:—

the entire four-measure sentence is evidently one motive, for there is no recognizable indication of an interruption at any point. The same is true of the two melodies given in Ex. 8.

The following illustrates an irregular (uneven) association of members:—

Here again, there may be a disposition to adopt the upper line of brackets, assigning a single measure to each motive. But both here, and in Ex. 10, the student is advised to adhere to the two-measure standard; he will avoid much needless confusion by so doing,—at least until he shall have so developed and sharpened his sense of melodic syntax that he can apprehend the finer shades of distinction in the "motion and repose" of a melody. Adopting the lower line of brackets, we discover successive members of unequal length, the first one containing two, the next one three measures.

PRELIMINARY TONES.—It is a singularly effective and pregnant quality of the element of musical rhythm, that its operations are not bounded by the vertical bars which mark off the measures. That is to say, a rhythmic figure (and, in consequence, a melodic figure or motive) does not necessarily extend from bar to bar, but may run from the middle (or any other point) of one measure, to the middle (or corresponding point) of the next; precisely as prosodic rhythm comprises poetic feet which begin either with an accented or with an unaccented syllable. See Ex. 10. Hence the significant rule, that a melodic member may begin at any part of a measure, upon an accented or an unaccented beat, or upon any fraction of a beat. For example:—

In No. 1, the motive begins squarely with the measure, upon the accented beat. In No. 2, the same motive is enlarged by two tones at the outset, which locates its beginning upon the fourth 8th—the second half of the second beat. In No. 3 the motive begins upon an accented beat, but it is the lighter (secondary) accent of the 3d beat. The various conditions of unaccented beginnings in Nos. 4, 5 and 6 are easily recognizable. In No. 7 quite a large fraction of a measure precedes the first accent (at the beginning of the full measure). Examine, also, all the preceding examples, and note the different accented or unaccented locations of the first tone, in each figure and motive.

When a figure or motive starts at the accented beat, it begins, so to speak, in the right place; any tone or tones which precede the accent are merely preliminary or introductory tones. While they are very desirable and necessary, in the fulfilment of certain purposes, they are not an essential part of the motive; they appear to represent the ornamental rather than the stable element of the melodic sentence, and their employment is therefore a matter of option and taste rather than of absolute necessity. The accent indicates the point where the body of the motive begins; the accent is the point where the stake is driven; all that goes before is simply preparatory,—the changeable material which flutters about the fixed center. Therefore the preliminary tones do not indicate the essential or actual beginning of the motive, but its apparent or conditional beginning only; or what might be called its melodic beginning. For this reason, also, the actual "first measure" of a motive or phrase or sentence of any kind is always the first FULL measure,—the measure which contains the first primary accent; that is to say, the preliminary tone or tones do not count as first measure. For this reason, further, it is evident that preliminary tones are invariably to be regarded as borrowed from the final measure of the preceding motive or phrase; they must be accounted for in someway,—must derive their metric pulse from some group,—and as they cannot be a part of the first measure, they obviously form a borrowed portion of the (preceding) last measure. This will be better understood by reference to Ex. 14, No. 3; the two 16ths at the end of the 4th measure (preliminary tones of the following phrase) are borrowed from the f which precedes,—the final tone of the first phrase, that would, but for this reduction, have been the full half-note necessary to complete the four measures (like the final g).

Perhaps the most striking feature of this rule of preliminary tones is the absolute freedom of its application. It is always wholly optional with the composer to begin his figure or motive at whatever part of the measure he may elect; at the accent or not; with or without preliminary tones; to borrow beats from the preceding ending or not, as his judgment or taste, or possibly some indirect requirement, may decide. So valid is this license, that it is by no means unusual to find consecutive members of the same phrase beginning at different points in the measure. This results, apparently, in motives of irregular, unsymmetric lengths; but no confusion is possible if the student will recollect and apply the rule that the objective point (the heart, so to speak) of each motive is the first primary accent it contains; counting from these points, all irregularities of melodic extent become purely accidental and harmless. For illustration (the preliminary tones are marked a):—

In No. 1, the first motive evidently ends with the longer tone, g-sharp. In No. 2, each one of the four motives differs from the others in length; the sum of them is, however, exactly 24 beats, or 8 measures; hence, each one is actually a two-measure motive, counting from accent to accent. The upper numbers indicate the actual, vital beginning of each motive.

This very natural, and fairly common, inequality increases the difficulty of analysis somewhat. A knowledge of the principal chords, and familiarity with their manner of employment in composition, greatly facilitates the task, because the harmonic design furnishes in many cases the only unmistakable clue to the extremities of the melodic members. The difficulty finally vanishes only when the student has learned to appreciate the declamatory quality of all good melody, and can detect its inflections, its pauses; can feel which (and how many) of its tones are coherent and inseparable, and where the points of repose interrupt the current, and thus divulge the sense of the melodic sentence.

LESSON 3.—Analyze the third Song Without Words of Mendelssohn (A major, the so-called Hunting Song); first of all, locate the principal melody,—it is not always the uppermost line of tones; then divide this melody into its melodic motives, marking the "breaks" which separate each from the following one; the figures may be noted, also, but only mentally. No. 35 may also be analyzed in the same manner.


THE PHRASE.—It is not altogether easy to give a precise definition of the phrase. Like so many of the factors which enter into the composition of this most abstract, ideal, and intangible of the arts, the phrase demands considerable latitude of treatment, and will not readily submit to strict limitations or absolute technical conditions. Perhaps the most correct definition is, that the term phrase is equivalent to "sentence," and represents the smallest musical section that expresses a complete idea; not necessarily wholly finished, and therefore independent of other adjoining phrases, but at least as complete in itself as is an ordinary brief sentence in grammar, with its subject, predicate, and object. It should be sufficiently long to establish the sense of tonality, the consciousness of beginning, course, and ending, and should exhibit a certain (though limited) amount of palpable and satisfying melodic and harmonic contents. For this reason, the Phrase, and nothing smaller, should be regarded as the structural basis of musical form.

The factors defined in the preceding chapter (the figure and motive) are, as a rule, decidedly less than is demanded of a complete phrase, which—as has been intimated—usually consists in the union of two (possibly more) motives,—just as the motive is compounded of figures, and the latter of single tones.

In some, comparatively rare, cases the composer gives a phrase an independent place upon his page, as complete miniature sentence, not directly connected with other phrases. This may be seen, very plainly, at the beginning (the first four or five measures) of the Songs Without Words, Nos. 28, 41, 35, 3, 4, 16. Examine each, carefully, and the nature of the phrase in its most definite form will become apparent.

Such independent phrases are most likely to be found, like the above, at the beginning or end of a larger composition, to which they are related indirectly, as isolated introduction, or postlude. Thus, the following complete phrase appears at the beginning of a song:

Its division into two melodic motives, and the subdivision of these into figures, is plainly marked.

When the phrase assumes such a conspicuous position, and is so complete and definite in its effect as the ones just seen, there is naturally no difficulty in recognizing and defining its extremities. But the task of phrase analysis is by no means always thus easy.

LENGTH OF THE REGULAR PHRASE.—Fortunately for the work of analysis, there are certain established landmarks of forms, so conscientiously observed, and so firmly grounded in the practices of classic writing (because the necessary consequences of natural law), that it is generally practicable to fix fairly regular and plausible boundaries to the phrase, notwithstanding the freedom and elasticity which characterize the application of the syntactic principle in music.

Therefore the student will find that a phrase, in the great majority of cases, covers exactly four measures, and will seldom be misled if he looks for the end of his phrase four measures beyond its beginning. This refers, be it understood, only to measures of average size (in the ordinary time denominations, 3-4, 4-4, 6-8 measure). If the measures are uncommonly large (9-8, 12-8), the phrase will probably cover no more than two of them; or, if small (2-4, or 3-4 in rapid tempo), the phrase may extend to the eighth measure. The operation of this four-measure rule is exhibited with striking regularity and persistence in the Jugend Album of Schumann (op. 68); throughout its forty-three numbers there are probably no more than a half-dozen phrases whose length differs from this standard. For example:

It will be observed that the first (and also the third) of these phrases consists of two exactly similar two-measure motives. This seems to lend some confirmation to the idea of a two-measure phrase; but the student is warned against deviating from his four-measure standard, upon such evidence as this. Many instances will be found, like these, in which the impression of a complete phrase is not gained until the motive of two measures has been thus repeated; the repetition is necessary, in order to finish the sentence, and this proves that the two measures alone do not constitute the "complete idea" which we expect the phrase to represent.

The same regularity of dimension will usually be found in all kinds of dance music; in technical exercises (for instance, the etudes of Czerny and others); and in all music of a simple or popular character.

* * * * * *

EXCEPTIONS.—In its ordinary, normal condition the phrase is a musical sentence four measures in length. But this rule has its necessary exceptions; necessary because, as we have learned, the principle of Variety is quite as vital as that of Unity or symmetry. The phrase is not always regular; by various means and for various reasons, it occasionally assumes an irregular form. When such irregular phrases are encountered (phrases of less or more than four measures) the student will best distinguish them by defining their extremities, their beginning and ending—as "beginning" and "ending," without reference to their length. This should not be attended with any serious difficulty; at least not to the observant student who reads his musical page thoughtfully, and attaches some meaning to the figures and motives of the melody; who endeavors to recognize the extent to which the successive tones appear to cling together (like the letters in a word) and constitute an unbroken melodic number,—and, in so doing, also recognizes the points where this continuity is broken, and a new number is announced. Much assistance may be derived from the fact—striking in its simplicity—that the ending of one phrase defines, at the same time, the beginning of the next, and vice versa. The locating of one, therefore, serves to locate the other. There is, usually, something sufficiently indicative about a "beginning," to render it noticeable to a careful observer, and the same is true of an "ending." This is illustrated in the following:

No. 1 is from the pianoforte sonata, op. 10, No. 3, second movement; see the original. This phrase exhibits an ending, unmistakably, in the fifth measure, and not in the fourth. Its form is therefore irregular.

In No. 2 (from the first pianoforte sonata), the first phrase ends with the fourth measure, obviously, for the evidence of a new "beginning" in the following measure is perfectly clear; the phrase is therefore regular. But the next phrase runs on to the sixth measure from this point (the tenth from the beginning of the whole), because there is no earlier evidence of an "ending." Observe that the first phrase has a preliminary quarter-note, the second phrase none. Turning to Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words, the very first (introductory) phrase of No. 3 is five measures in length; the first one in No. 35 also contains five measures; the first one in No. 16, and in No. 9, contains three measures. The irregular phrase will be again considered (in a different aspect) in a later chapter.

The recognition of these syntactic traits of the melodic sentence is of great moment to the player, for they constitute the information upon which conscious, intelligent, effective phrasing depends; and without intelligent phrasing, without a clear exposition of the formation and arrangement of the members and phrases, full comprehension and adequate enjoyment of a musical composition is impossible.

* * * * * *

CONTENTS OF THE PHRASE.—The question may arise, what is it that makes a phrase,—the rhythm, harmony, or melody? Strictly speaking, all three; for music subsists in the ceaseless co-operation of these three primary elements of composition, and no phrase is wholly complete without the evidence of each and all. Generalizing the definitions already given, the function of each of these primary elements may be thus described: The element of harmony regulates the choice of the tones that are to sound together; the upright shafts of tone (chords) which determine the body, or framework, of the music. The element of melody regulates the choice of single tones, selected from the successive shafts of harmony, that are to form a connected line or strand of tones (in horizontal order, so to speak),—something like a chain or chains stretched from harmonic post to post, which describe the figure or outline of the musical image. The element of rhythm gives the whole body its life,—regulates the choice of varying lengths, defining the infinitely varied "tapping" of the musical mechanism.

It is evident, from this, that no vivid, satisfying musical impression can be created in the absence of any one of these essential elements. But, for all that, they are not of equal importance; and, in determining the extremities of the phrase (and of all other factors of musical structure), the melody takes precedence over harmony and rhythm. That is to say, that in his analysis of figures, motives, phrases, periods, and so forth, the student's attention should be centered upon the melody,—that chain of successive single tones which, as repeatedly stated, usually describes the uppermost line of the harmonic and rhythmic body. That is the reason why the illustrations given in this book are so frequently limited to the melody alone; it is the pencil point which traces the design, describes the form, of the musical composition.

LESSON 4.—Procure the Jugend Album, op. 68, of Schumann, and mark the phrases in Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 18, 20, and others. In the given numbers the phrases are all regular,—four measures in length.

Analyze in the same manner Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words, Nos. 27, 22 (first phrase, five measures), 48, 28, 35, and others; occasional irregularities may be encountered.

Also Beethoven, pianoforte sonata; op. 14, No. 2, second movement (C major, andante); and op. 26, first movement.

A few cautious experiments may also be made in analyzing any composition which the student may chance to be studying, especially if not too elaborate. The necessary safeguard consists in simply passing over every confusing point, limiting the analysis to those phrases that are self defining, for the present,—until greater experience and fuller information shall have been gained.


CADENCES IN GENERAL.—A cadence is the ending of a phrase. Strictly speaking, every interruption or "break" between figures, and between all melodic members, is a cadence; but the term "cadence" is applied to nothing smaller than entire phrases.

The cadence is the point of Repose which creates the necessary contrast with the condition of Action that prevails more or less constantly during the phrase; and the effect of this point of repose is, therefore, to separate one phrase from the next. The cadential effect is generally produced by two or three chords, the last one of which is called the cadence-chord, and stands, when the cadence is perfectly regular, upon an accented beat of the final measure. This, according to our definition of the phrase, will most commonly be the fourth measure.

For example:

The first chord in the fourth measure, on the accented beat, is the "cadence-chord"; but the preceding chord (and possibly the one before that, also) is naturally inseparable from the final one, and therefore the entire cadence would be defined technically as embracing both (or all three) of these chords. The effect of repose is obtained by the length of the final chord, which exceeds that of any other melody tone in the phrase; its time-value is a dotted quarter, because of the preliminary tone (e, before the first accent) which, in the original (op. 68, No. 28), precedes the next phrase in exactly the same manner.

Illustrations of the regular cadence will be found, also, in Ex. 15 and Ex. 16; in the latter,—consisting as it does of four consecutive phrases, four cadences occur, distinctly marked by the longer tone on the accented beat of each successive fourth measure.

MODIFICATION OR DISGUISING OF THE CADENCE.—The most natural and characteristic indication of a cadence is the longer tone, seen in the examples to which reference has just been made; for a tone of greater length than its fellows is, in itself, the most conclusive evidence of a point of repose, as compared with the shorter tones in the course of the sentence, whose more prompt succession indicates the action of the phrase. (See Ex. 29.)

From this the student is not to conclude that every long tone marks a cadence. The rhythmic design of a melody is obtained by a constant interchange of long and short tones, without direct reference to the cadence alone; and numerous examples will be found in which tones of equal, or even greater, length than the cadence-tone occur in the course of the phrase. We have already seen that the end of a motive, or even of a figure, may be marked by a longer tone, or its equivalent in rests; and have been taught to expect a cadence in the fourth measure only, as a rule.

But the direct evidence of a cadence afforded by a longer tone is considered not only unnecessary, but in many cases distinctly undesirable. While cadences are indispensable, in music of clearly recognizable form, it is equally true that they must not be so emphatic as to check the current of melody and harmony too frequently or completely, or destroy the continuity and coherence of the members. And it is therefore an almost invariable practice, especially in music of a higher order, to modify and disguise the cadences by some means or other; that is, to diminish the weight of the characteristic "longer tone,"—to counteract, partially or entirely, the impression of actual cadential cessation, by continuing (instead of interrupting) the rhythmic pulse. This is so very common, and so confusing a device, that the effect of the various methods employed to conceal or disguise a cadence must be thoroughly understood.

It is necessary to remember, always, the rule that governs the actual body of the phrase, and its possible preliminary tones; namely, that the vital, essential starting-point of a phrase (and other factors of musical form) is the first primary accent, the first beat of the first full measure. The length of the phrase is reckoned from this point, and consequently, the cadence-chord is entitled to all the beats that remain, from its accent to the very end of the final measure. For example:

In this case the cadence-chord is not modified or disguised in the least, but takes full advantage of the six beats that make the sum of the fourth measure.

This important fact concerning the actual value of the cadence-chord remains unchanged, through all the licenses taken in disguising or (apparently) diminishing its value. Whatever means may be resorted to, in modifying the cadence, they do not alter the fact that the cadence-chord is always entitled to this full sum of beats; and these beats virtually represent the cadence-chord, either in its unchanged form (as in Ex. 19 and Ex. 16) or in any of the manifold disguised forms illustrated in the following examples.

One of the simplest forms is shown in Ex. 15:—The cadence-chord, on the accented beat of the fourth measure, is entitled to the six beats contained in that final measure. One beat is borrowed for the preliminary tone of the next phrase (that does not appear in our example, but corresponds to the preliminary tone at the beginning); and three beats are represented by rests, which cancel the resonance of the melody-tone g, but do not actually negate the effect of the cadence-chord. In consequence of these two reductions, the time-value of the cadence-tone is diminished to two beats, and the whole cadence assumes a lighter, less obstinate and stagnant character. Of the six beats belonging to the cadence-chord, four are occupied by the tones of the accompaniment, which thus serves to bridge over the measure of repose without destroying the impression of a cadence.

The treatment of the cadence is similar to this in Ex. 18.

In Ex. 17, No. 1, the cadence-chord falls, properly, upon the primary accent (first beat) of the final measure—in this instance the fifth measure, as we have learned. The six beats to which it is entitled are all occupied by the simple reiteration of the final melody tone, while the sense of "interruption" is imparted by the long rest in the lower parts.

It is by thus sustaining the rhythmic pulse, during the measure allotted to the cadence-chord, that the desired dual impression,—that of cadential interruption without actual cessation,—is secured. It is like rounding off a corner that might otherwise be too angular or abrupt.

* * * * * *

The question naturally arises: What tones are chosen to provide material for this continuation of the rhythm? They are usually derived from the cadence-chord, or its auxiliary embellishments; and the methods employed may be classified as follows:

(1) The rhythmic pulse is marked in the accompanying (subordinate) parts, as seen in Ex. 15, Ex. 18, and the following:—

The point of repose is marked by the longer melody tone f, on the accent of the fourth measure. The value of the cadence-chord is recorded, however, in the living tones of the accompanying figure, which here (as in almost every similar case in composition) continues its rhythmic movement undisturbed.

(2) The cadence-chord, or, more properly, the cadence-tone in the melody, is shifted to some later beat in the cadence measure. Thus:

In this example there is in reality no irregularity, because the cadence-tone rests upon an accented beat (the fourth, in 6-8 measure), and the conditions of a cadence are fulfilled by any accent, primary or secondary, of the final measure. But it belongs, nevertheless, to this class of disguised cadences; for whatever results, thus, in abbreviating the value of the cadence-chord, lightens the effect of the cadence, and serves the desirable purpose so persistently pursued by all good writers. Further:—

Nos. 2 and 3 illustrate the method most commonly adopted in shifting the cadence-tone forward to a later beat; namely, by placing an embellishing tone (usually the upper or lower neighbor) of the cadence-tone upon the accented beat belonging properly to the latter. Nos. 4 and 5 are both extreme cases; the actual cadence-tone is shifted to the very end of the measure, so that the effect of cadential interruption is very vague and transient,—and will be quite lost unless the player is intelligent enough to emphasize, slightly, the phrasing (by making a distinct, though very brief, pause before attacking the following measure). See also Ex. 17, No. 2, the first phrase; here, again, the melody runs on (through tones which embellish the cadence-chord, f-a-c) to the last 8th-note of the fourth measure.

(3) A certain—entirely optional—number of tones are borrowed from the value of the cadence-chord, as preliminary tones of the following phrase. An illustration of this has already been seen in Ex. 14, No. 2 and No. 3. It is the employment of such preliminary tones, that, as thoroughly explained in Chapter III, creates a distinction between the melodic beginning and the actual vital starting point of the phrase; or that gives the phrase an apparently shifted location in its measures.

Further (the actual cadence-tone is marked):—

No. 1 illustrates, again, the absence of preliminary tones in one phrase, and their presence in the next. In each of these examples (excepting, perhaps, No. 2) the cadence is so thoroughly disguised that there is little, if any, evidence left of the "point of repose." In No. 4, particularly, the cadence-measure is rhythmically the most active one in the phrase. And yet the presence of a genuine cadence at each of these places, marked *, is as certain and indisputable as in Ex. 19. The ear will accept a cadence upon the slightest evidence in the right place,—where a cadence is expected. See, also, Mozart pianoforte sonata No. 10 (in D major), first 12 measures; measure 8 is a cadence-measure.

Here follow a few more examples which illustrate the most extreme application of this principle of borrowed tones,—a mode of treatment very common in the music of Mozart, Haydn, and, in fact, all classic writers:—

It is difficult to believe that in each of these cases the long array of 16th-notes should not constitute the actual beginning of the phrase, but are only preliminary; and yet this is the only correct view to take of it, and it is the view which will simplify all analysis, when thoroughly comprehended. It must be seen that the cluster of 16th-notes in the cadence-measure (of the preceding phrase) is one-sixteenth short of a full measure, and, therefore, it does not represent the first measure of the next phrase, because our inviolable rule is that the first measure of a phrase is its first full measure. The above examples emphasize the correct manner of counting the measures; and they simply illustrate possible methods of disguising the cadence.

In some cases it is difficult to determine whether the tones which thus disturb the "repose" of the cadence-measure belong to the cadence-chord (that is, to the present phrase), or, as preliminary tones, to the following phrase. Upon careful scrutiny, however, it will be found possible to decide, by examining their melodic bearing, to which phrase they pertain. In Example 22, they are manifestly (even in No. 5) a part of the present phrase; in Example 23 and 24 they are as certainly preliminary to the phrase which follows. In the following example they seem to constitute an entirely independent little "interlude," without direct reference to either phrase:

* * * * * *

THE ELISION.—Finally, there are some (very rare) instances where the composer appears to yield to the seductive influence of such extensive preliminary groups as those seen in Example 24, and by setting aside the trifling discrepancy, permits the apparent preliminary tones to represent the actual first measure of the next phrase. This is easily accomplished, when, as in Example 24, No. 2, it is only one 16th-note short of a full measure. And although this 16th, being the cadence-chord, is actually equivalent to the whole measure, it is sometimes less confusing to the hearer to silence it. This is called stifling the cadence (or Elision); and its presence depends simply upon sufficient proof that what was supposed to be the cadence-measure (and to a certain extent is such) is at the same time really the first measure of the next sentence. The following contains an illustration of the elision of a cadence:

The proofs of this very singular and apparently untrustworthy analysis are: (1) That there is absolutely no doubt about the first cadence, marked *; (2) that a cadence is consequently due, and expected, four measures later,—this proving the measure in question to be the "cadence-measure of the old phrase," as it is marked and as it appeals to our sense of cadence; (3) that the last four measures unmistakably represent a regular, compact phrase,—this proving that the "cadence-measure of the old phrase" is unquestionably at the same time the first measure, or actual beginning, of the new phrase. In a word, one measure is lost—not in effect, for the elements of the expected cadence are all present,—but in the counting. This lost measure is the stifled cadence-measure, omitted by Elision.

Such cases are, as stated, very rare; so rare that the student will do wisely to leave them quite out of his calculations.

In order to elucidate the embarrassing matter still more fully, we shall take two more examples of a very misleading character, which the superficial observer would probably define as elisions, but which are almost certainly regular cases of disguised cadence merely:

Here again there is no doubt of the presence of a cadence at the first *; but this "cadence-measure" appears almost as certainly to be at the same time the initial measure of a new phrase. This, however, proves not to be the case, because there are four measures left, without this one. That is, counting backward from the final cadence, we locate the "first measure" after, not with, the cadence-measure. And this is the way the passage was meant to sound by its author, and the way it will and must sound to the student who has properly cultivated his sense of cadence.

This case is extremely misleading; it is hard to believe (and feel) that the characteristic onset of the 16th-triplet figure does not herald the new phrase; but all the indications of strict, unswerving analysis (not to be duped by appearances) point to the fact that this is one of the common cases of disguised cadence, and not an elision of the cadence. The sforzando marks of Beethoven confirm this view, and, as in Example 27, we have our four measures to the next cadence, without this "cadence-measure."

The characteristic traits of all these various phases of cadence formation are:—

(1) That the actual cadence-tone in the melody may be of any time-value, from the full extent of the cadence-measure down to the smallest fraction of that measure. In Ex. 19 it was the former, unbroken; in Ex. 17, No. 1, also, but broken into the six pulses of the measure; in Ex. 20 it was shortened, by a rest, to one-half its real value; in Ex. 26 it was reduced to one-quarter of its true value; in Ex. 25, to one 8th-note; and in Ex. 24, No. 3, to one 16th-note.

(2) That the cadence-tone in the melody may be shifted forward to almost any point beyond its expected position upon the primary accent. In Ex. 20 (and many other of the given illustrations) it stands in its legitimate place, at the beginning of the measure; in Ex. 21 it stands upon the second accent of the measure; in Ex. 22, No. 1, on the second beat in 3-4 measure; in Ex. 22, No. 5, on the third beat of the triple-measure; in Ex. 22, No. 4, on the last eighth note in the measure.

(3) That in almost every case the effect of absolute cessation is softened by marking the rhythm of the cadence-measure; in no case is the rhythm permitted to pause (not even in Ex. 19, where the accompaniment, not shown, is carried along in unbroken 8th-notes). In some part or other, by some means or other, the cadence-measure is kept alive; either by continuing the accompaniment, as in Exs. 18 and 20, or by quickly picking up a new rhythm, as in Exs. 27 and 28. Conspicuous exceptions to this rule will be found, it is true, in hymn-tunes and the like; though occasionally even there, as the student may recall, the rhythm, in some cadence-measures, is carried along by one or more of the inner voices; for example, in the hymn-tune "Lead, Kindly Light," of J. B. Dykes. (See also Ex. 29.)

SPECIES OF CADENCE.—In text-books and musical dictionaries several varieties of the cadence are distinguished, but they are chiefly distinctions without any more than one essential point of difference, namely, difference in force or weight. It is therefore feasible to reduce all these varieties to two,—the heavy cadence and the light cadence. The former is represented by the so-called Perfect cadence, the latter by the many grades of Semicadence.

PERFECT CADENCE.—There is one method of checking the current of the melodic phrase with such emphasis and determination as to convey the impression of finality; either absolute finality, as we observe it at the very end of a composition, or such relative finality as is necessary for the completion of some independent section of the piece,—conclusive as far as that section is concerned, though not precluding the addition of other sections to this, after the desired degree of repose has been felt. This is known as the perfect cadence, or full stop. It is always made upon the tonic harmony of some key as cadence-chord, with the keynote itself in both outer parts, and—when desired in its strongest form (without such disguising as we have seen)—upon an accented beat, and of somewhat longer duration than its fellow tones. For illustration:—

At the end of this four-measure phrase there is a perfect cadence, exhibited in its strongest, most conclusive form. It is practically undisguised, though the cadence-chord is reduced to three beats (from the four to which it is entitled) to make room for the preliminary beat of the next phrase (calculated to correspond to the one at the beginning of this phrase).

The cadence-chord is the tonic harmony of C minor; upon the primary accent of the 4th measure; it is considerably longer than any other tone in the phrase; and the keynote c is placed both at the top and at the bottom of the harmonic body. See also Ex. 15; the cadence is perfect, because the cadence-chord, on the accent of the 4th measure, is the tonic harmony of G major, with the keynote as highest and as lowest tone. It is abbreviated by rests, which very slightly diminish its weight. Ex. 17, No. 2, closes with a perfect cadence; it is the tonic harmony of C major, on an accent, and with the keynote in the two extreme parts. See also Ex. 20.

In the following:

the cadence-chord stands upon the secondary accent (3d beat) of the final measure. This method of shifting the cadence forward is generally adopted in large species of measure (6-8, 9-8, and the like), and has been defined among the devices employed in disguising or lightening the cadence. In Ex. 22, No. 5, the cadence-chord is shifted to the last beat (unaccented) of the final measure; this lightens the cadence very materially, but it does not affect any of its essential properties as perfect cadence. The following is similar:—

The cadence-chord occupies the unaccented (2d) beat, and is no longer than any other chord in the phrase. Despite its striking brevity, it is nevertheless a perfect cadence, disguised; it is the tonic chord of C major, with the keynote at top and bottom. See also Ex. 23, No. 1.

The following illustrations come under the head of the disguised cadences seen in Ex. 24:—

In No. 1 the cadence is perfect, for it is the tonic chord of G major, keynote g at top and bottom, and on the primary accent of the fourth measure; but the uninterrupted continuation of the movement of 16ths, in the right hand, shortens the uppermost keynote to a single 16th-note, and would entirely conceal the cadence, were it not for the distinct evidence of repose in the lower part.

In No. 2 the movement in the upper part appears to shatter the cadence; the keynote does not appear on the accent, and its announcement at the end of the first triplet is very brief. For all that, it is an unmistakable perfect cadence; the chord thus shattered (or "broken," technically speaking) is the tonic harmony of the key, and the keynote does appear as uppermost (and therefore most prominent) tone, in the same order of percussion as that given to each of the preceding melody tones.

* * * * * *

At the end of an entire piece of music, or of some larger section of the piece, the cadence-chord, on the other hand, is often lengthened considerably, for the sake of the greater weight and decision of cadential interruption required at that place. Thus:—

The last two measures are merely the prolongation of the final cadence-chord. See also, Mendelssohn, Songs Without Words, No. 4, last five measures; No. 8, last eight measures; and others.

Another peculiarity of the final cadence is, that sometimes the uppermost tone is the 3d or 5th of the tonic chord, instead of the keynote,—a significant device to counteract the dead weight of the cadence-chord, especially when prolonged as just seen. See No. 10 of the Songs Without Words, last six measures; it is the tonic chord of B minor, but the tone d (the 3d) is placed at the top, instead of b. Also No. 16, last chord; No. 38, last chord; No. 6, last three measures (the 5th of the tonic chord as uppermost tone). At any other point in the piece this default of the keynote would, as we shall presently see, almost certainly reduce the weight of the cadence from "perfect" to "semicadence"; at the very end, however, it cannot mislead, because it does not affect the condition of actual finality.

SEMICADENCE.—Any deviation from the formula of the perfect cadence—either in the choice of some other than the tonic chord, or in the omission of the keynote in either (or both) of the outer parts—weakens the force of the interruption, and transforms the cadence into a lighter, more transient, point of repose, for which the term semicadence (or half-stop) is used. The semicadence indicates plainly enough the end of its phrase, but does not completely sever it from that which follows.

It is these lighter, transient forms of cadence to which a number of different names are given; for the student of analysis (and the composer, also, for that matter) the one general term "semicadence," or half-cadence, is sufficient, and we shall use no other.

If, then, a cadence is final in its effect, it is a perfect one; if not, it is a semicadence. The harmony most commonly chosen as the resting-place of a semicadence is the chord of the dominant,—the fifth step of the momentary key,—that being the harmony next in importance to that of the tonic (the one invariably used for the perfect cadence). The following example illustrates the dominant semicadence:—

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