PHRASE LENGTH FORMS

FORMS

Phrases can be combined into longer phrases or, to look at it the other way, longer phrases can include phrases of lesser lengths. A comparison can be made to poetry, where the same relationship is found between lines of poetry and larger units such as stanzas, sonnet forms and so on.

This program illustrates some forms of "phrases within phrases", that is, shorter phrases within longer phrases, selected by the Phrase Length buttons (two sets, one for each of two Lines):

First and Second Lines

4-3 a phrase starting on the 1st beat, four beats in length (ending on the 4th beat), followed by a phrase starting on the 5th beat, three beats in length (ending on the 7th beat), followed by separating rests (for a total of eight beats)
2-2-3 a phrase starting on the 1st beat, two beats in length, repeated starting on the 3rd beat, followed by a phrase starting on the 5th beat, three beats in length, followed by separating rests (for a total of eight beats)
4-2-2 a phrase starting on the 1st beat, four beats long, followed by a phrase starting on the 5th beat, two beats long, repeated, followed by separating rests (for a total of eight beats)
3-3 a 3-beat phrase starting on the 1st beat, followed by a 3-beat phrase starting on the 5th beat, with separating rests for a total of eight beats)

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RHYTHM

To make the lesser included phrases (and separating rests) more easily seen, phrases are filled with a continuous pattern repeating the rhythm of the first few notes throughout the phrase, selected by the Rhythm buttons:

Rhythm Buttons

Duplet in 4/4 time, a pair of eighth notes, repeated throughout the phrase
Hybrid in 6/4 time, a quarter note followed by an eighth, throughout the phrase
Triplet in 3/4 time, three quarter notes, repeated throughout the phrase

Again, a comparison can be made to (simple) poetry where meter remains constant throughout a line. Indeed, if syllables are set to notes, some poetic forms are quite close to certain forms illustrated by this program:

Poetic Form Rhythm Phrase Lengths
Ballad Duplet/ Hybrid 4-3
Limerick Triplet 3-3 / 2-2-3
Jingle Bells (title line) Duplet 2-2-3
London Bridge (title line) Duplet/ Triplet 2-2-3

The similarities between poetic form and musical form need not be strict. Furthermore, is worth remembering that this program is not intended as an exercise in setting words to music, but rather intended as an illustration of lesser included phrases.

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NOTATION

Phrases are shown in common practice notation ("CPN").

Triplet rhythm is notated in 3/4 time for its effect in presenting visually distinct phrases. This means that one (displayed) bar is equal to one (heard) beat, when counting out phrase lengths.

CPN Duplet
Fig 1 - CPN window showing 4-3 form in Duplet rhythm

CPN Hybrid
Fig 2 - CPN window showing 4-3 form in Hybrid rhythm

CPN Triplet
Fig 3 - CPN window showing (part of) 4-3 form in Triplet rhythm

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VARIETY

For variety's sake, you can change the phrase range (the interval between the highest pitch and the lowest pitch) as well as the phrase shape or contour, by using the Reset Bar and the Contour buttons/ images.

Reset Bar and Contour Panels

When using these features, you should notice how the form (of phrases lengths) remains the same even though its content changes.

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OTHER

Play, Show and Hide Buttons

Play sound what's shown in the CPN windows
Show display the current phrase(s) in the CPN windows
Hide dispose of the CPN windows

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Links

Thanks once again to jMusic which provided the CPN windows, audio playback and both the music structures (for example, phrases) and methods for varying them.

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Contact

E-mail :  donfporter@seepatts.com