Musical form

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The term Musical form (or musical architecture) refers to the overall structure or plan of a piece of music, In the tenth edition of The Oxford Companion to Music, Percy Scholes defines musical form as "a series of strategies designed to find a successful mean between the opposite extremes of unrelieved repetition and unrelieved alteration.


  • Form is supposed to cover the shape or structure of of the work; content its substance, meaning, ideas, or expressive effects. When the nineteenth-century music critic Eduard Hanslick declared, in an influential phrase, that music is 'forms put into motion through sounds,' he was suggesting that music's real content lies in its form.
  • There is an idea, the basis of an internal structure, expanded and split into different shapes or groups of sound constantly changing in shape, direction, and speed, attracted and repulsed by various forces. The form of the work is a consequence of this interaction. Possible musical forms are as limitless as the exterior forms of crystals."
  • Form is a theatrical event of a certain length, and the length itself may be unpredictable.

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