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Ternary forms and such

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Casezilla, Apr 10, 2010.


  1. Casezilla

    Casezilla

    Apr 10, 2008
    Superior, WI
    I want to learn things like ternary forms, binary forms, etc. But I first of all don't know what that category of things is called, and second of all don't know anything else in that category. Can anyone help?
     
  2. ben_the_bass

    ben_the_bass

    Jul 12, 2005
    Rocklin
    You're refering to the structure of a piece of music. It mostly applies to art (classical) music, because the popular songs you hear on the radio generally have the same (tired) structure. The structure of traditional music is divided into sections. The first section is always represented by the letter "A." This section introduces the main melody of the tune. After the you hear the melody, you'll hear subtle variations of it, in the form of phrases. In binary (meaning "two") form, there will be another contrasting section of the music before it ends. This contrasting section doesn't have any of the original melody and is designated by the letter "B." In ternary (meaning "three") form, the "A" section is repeated after the "B" section note-for-note, or with subtle variations. This is to remind the audience of the original and central melody. If you understand the basic A-B sectional approach to music, it's pretty easy to imagine how crazy you can get with song forms. You could structure a piece as ABACA, where "C" represents a section that doesn't sound like A or B, with A repeated every so often.
     
  3. Casezilla

    Casezilla

    Apr 10, 2008
    Superior, WI
    The song I'm writing at the moment that brought all of this up IS actually ABACA. Odd.
    Anyways, thank you very much!
    But, what are other (preferably common) forms of structures of a song, other than ternary?
     
  4. Casezilla

    Casezilla

    Apr 10, 2008
    Superior, WI
    Actually, this is kind of urgent for school.
    Any help is appreciated.
     
  5. Chris K

    Chris K

    May 3, 2009
    Gorinchem,The Netherlands
    Partner: Otentic Guitars
    Good stuff by Ben.

    Also check out all terms like intro, outro/coda, bridge, interlude, vamp and everything that has to do with repeats.

    Keep in mind that B and C sections often are in new keys; it's important to know the relationships between keys of sections.

    If you have any more direct questions, feel free to ask.
     
  6. Casezilla

    Casezilla

    Apr 10, 2008
    Superior, WI
    Thank you Chris. You've been extremely helpful today.

    I do have another question on this matter, as I've been able to look into much more elaborately since finding out the key words to google for:
    What is the difference between Binary and Compound binary?
    My understanding is Binary is just AB, (or ABABAB etc), and Compound Binary is AABB (or AABBAABB, AAABBBAAABBB, etc).
    Am I right?
     
  7. Chris K

    Chris K

    May 3, 2009
    Gorinchem,The Netherlands
    Partner: Otentic Guitars
    Compound binary form = sonata form: A1-A2(-A1-A2)-B-A1'-A2'

    The A section is mostly split up in two or more parts like exposition, development, recapitulation.
    Then you get B, not te be repeated in most cases.
    The last A section often shows a first part in another key (in most cases a close relative of the original key, like the dominant), and finally a repetition of the original A.


    See also:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonata

    Keep up the good work!
     

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