Author Topic: Sentence and period  (Read 6759 times)

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kristopaivinen

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Sentence and period
« on: July 11, 2008, 05:25:07 AM »
After I learnt to distinguish sentences from periods, I began to wonder, by which factors it is determined whether a musical phrase grows to become a period or a sentence. My hypothesis is that it depends on whether a figure begins similarly to the previous, or if it ends similarly. The former case logically grows into a sentence, the latter into a period.

The way I see it, a sentence is born when the order of the last middle two phrases in a period are swapped. Is this incorrect?
« Last Edit: July 13, 2008, 12:30:08 AM by kristopaivinen »

Offline mikkeljs

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Re: Sentence and period
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2008, 05:11:30 AM »
Hmm, I am actually not sure about that! But I do not distinguish between sentences and period, but tries only to put up an order of periodes. There might be more layers than just sentence and period, so I feel it becomes more simpler to analyze as reductive as possible, especially with very complex works. 

kristopaivinen

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Re: Sentence and period
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2008, 11:16:44 AM »
Hmm, I am actually not sure about that! But I do not distinguish between sentences and period, but tries only to put up an order of periodes.
What do you mean? That you only use periods in your music?

I would say that any composition teacher I have read distinguishes between sentences and periods. This includes at least some Finnish theory books which I have read, Schoenberg who writes long chapters on both period and sentence, and Webern who held this distinction to be very crucial.

Quote
There might be more layers than just sentence and period, so I feel it becomes more simpler to analyze as reductive as possible, especially with very complex works. 
Very complex composition demands very complex theoretical treatment. This is not astrology. To have the best prerequisites to compose, you need to understand how different musical components are distinguished.

Offline Cato

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Re: Sentence and period
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2008, 04:04:40 AM »
What do you mean? That you only use periods in your music?

I would say that any composition teacher I have read distinguishes between sentences and periods. This includes at least some Finnish theory books which I have read, Schoenberg who writes long chapters on both period and sentence, and Webern who held this distinction to be very crucial.
Very complex composition demands very complex theoretical treatment. This is not astrology. To have the best prerequisites to compose, you need to understand how different musical components are distinguished.


(My emphasis)

I assume you mean you have read Schoenberg's The Musical Idea: keep in mind that he can be idiosyncratic, and that some music theorists do not always agree with him.

In the end, such things need to be sublimated: how does the phrase/motif/sentence/period sound?  Does it express everything it can in the best way?  Remembering theory could help one with finding an answer; it could also sabotage a more subconscious working out of a better solution.

"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

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Offline mikkeljs

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Re: Sentence and period
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2008, 07:38:23 AM »
What do you mean? That you only use periods in your music?

I would say that any composition teacher I have read distinguishes between sentences and periods. This includes at least some Finnish theory books which I have read, Schoenberg who writes long chapters on both period and sentence, and Webern who held this distinction to be very crucial.
Very complex composition demands very complex theoretical treatment. This is not astrology. To have the best prerequisites to compose, you need to understand how different musical components are distinguished.

Sorry, I didnĀ“t made myself clear. I do distinguish between such things as sentence and period, but I simply just use other terms. So I mean there are different kinds of periodes, assuming that there are often many different kinds of them, some are held inside a particular materiale, while others goes outside, and then again there can be many layers for that. 

kristopaivinen

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Re: Sentence and period
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2008, 11:11:20 AM »
I assume you mean you have read Schoenberg's The Musical Idea: keep in mind that he can be idiosyncratic, and that some music theorists do not always agree with him.
I meant no other work than Foundamentals of Musical Composition.

Even if sentences and periods are sublimated to the musical content, that does not prevent us from understanding their structural differences. Similar understanding is also required in language, to determine in which order we put clauses and how to formulate sentences. Theory inhibits or sabotages our working only insofar as it is incorrect. I believe this applies not only in music theory, but to theory in general. This doesn't meant that only theory is enough, as the musical content is governed by imagination. Am I not right?

Offline Cato

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Re: Sentence and period
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2008, 11:25:47 AM »
I meant no other work than Foundamentals of Musical Composition.

Even if sentences and periods are sublimated to the musical content, that does not prevent us from understanding their structural differences. Similar understanding is also required in language, to determine in which order we put clauses and how to formulate sentences. Theory inhibits or sabotages our working only insofar as it is incorrect. I believe this applies not only in music theory, but to theory in general. This doesn't meant that only theory is enough, as the musical content is governed by imagination. Am I not right?

Exactly!   0:)   When one looks at "composers" like Joseph Hauer or Joseph Schillinger, the former had a kind of dodecaphonic system and the latter a mathematical system (which intrigued Gershwin at least), one sees the danger of thinking that a theory can replace basic talent and, as you point out, imagination.
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)