Finally, the chapter you were waiting for(?): the cultured musical forms. Musical forms?, you'll ask. Cultured forms?, you'll ask again. Cultured musical forms?, you'll insist in asking. It's alright: no more questions. In a few second you'll know everything about this urticarial matter.
Let's see. A musical composition is sometimes an organized set of musical ideas. This organization is what we call form
. It doesn't really matter whether to inform here in which form do we acquire the form nor how does the form form; in any form it's called form. Times ago, those musical ideas were expressed spontaneously: every person playes or sang whatever he or she wanted. It was a true chaos, fun but disrupted. Without form, music was always the same, like a sausage. A chaotic sausage.
It was then when someone had the idea to put a little order. Musical form comes from the psycological need to recieve a clear message. Is it clear? Nobody would enjoy an ever-changing music, constantly renovated. The mind needs things to return. The mind needs it. Things to return. Why "cultured"?
Cultured musical forms are called like that to differentiate them from the uncultured forms. But how can we tell a cultured form apart from an uncultured one? That's trickier, but nonetheless we can do it by performing this simple exercise: ---Exercise to differentiate a cultured form from an uncultured form---
1. Basically they're different by their clothes and behavior. You can observe
that the attire of a cultured form is always elegant and of goof quality,
whereas the uncultured one tends to dress negligently, with tatty clothes.
Sometimes it doesn't ever wear any clothes! Regarding their behavior, watch
the cultured form's distinction and compare it with the gawky and awkward
manners of the uncultured form.
Both forms also show a great difference in their general culture. This is
made even more evident when they're both asked the same question. For example,
ask them when did the French Revolution happen. The cultured form, well
informed, will answer correctly and without falter, while the uncultured form
will spout a random date and then, seeing that it doesn't know the answer, will
let out a curse.
2. Now apply this exercise to music. -----------------------------------------------------------------------
Keeping up the form
Going by what we have just seen, it's obvious that staying near the uncultured forms for too long is inadvisable. They usually are very ill-mannered. Hard rock and fanatic fans definitely pertain to the uncultured forms you might find, as the Anthem of the Hellion
, composed by Alfred W. Hooligan, shows: When the ball rolls in the lawn
their heads roll in the grandstand!
Our rivals will know our might firsthand
'cuz we'll be beating them until dawn!
Let's break ten heads
twenty backbones we will break,
thirty legs we'll shred
while we fry us some steak!
Let the pussies shake hands
we will shake their necks;
Beat them 'till they can't stand
And their bodies will be wrecked!
Note: The chorus is repeated 528 times while defenseless rivals, helpless grannies and poor immigrant are beaten up.
In contrast with these barbaric forms, the most cultured form of all is the Fugue, which is doctored at the University of Heidelberg with its tesis Treatments against the obesity of semibreves
. Catalogue of Cultured Forms
I will now enumerate and describe some cultured musical forms for you to use in your compositions, to recognize in a concert and greet them at the exit, or simply to dazzle other patients at the waiting room of your dentist. Prelude:
An introductory instrumental piece of a musical. The first preludes where located at the end, until hermit Kasen Ibaraki noticed the error and put them back where they should belong: we keep finding them frequently.
With the prelude back in its place, instrumentalists often used it to improvise, which allowed them to warm their fingers up, create a mood in the audience or simply to make time for the purpose of not arriving home too early. In one concert, the harpsichordist Dietrich Weiss improvised non-stop for eight hours while his wife searched for the music sheets he had forgotten in an inn along the way. When the king grew impatient, Weiss also danced, told jokes and performed jugglery and acrobatic tricks. Dance:
The most known ones are: pavane, galliard, alemande, courande,
, sarabande, sicilian, gigue, minuetto
, polonaise... I find it unnecessary to describe them, since you should already be familiar with them. They're frequently seen on the TV and they're danced every weekend at the discos.
It is convenient, however, to throw a warning about these dances. Many of them, more violent and unchaste every time, carry the youth through the path of vice and decontrol. It is very jarring to see our young people contort at the rhythm of a gigue, or rub without modesty to the sound of a licentious galliard or a revolting bourrée
. With unconcealed nostalgia I yearn for the times where we youngsters enjoyed dancing the delicious bars of gregorian chants. Suite:
The suite must have generous proportions and elegant ornaments. The biggest recopilation of suites is called Grand Hotel De Luxe
, which houses a hundred and thirty suites. Canon:
It's a kind of counterpoint of two or more voices, in which the voice that starts the piece must be rigorously followed by the parts that continue it. The first canon was originated in the medieval France. It was originaly a very simple melody chanted with one voice by a choir of a asylum for deaf people. Some interns started later than the others unknowingly, and the effect was surprisingly astonishing. March:
Music aimed at playing along the passing of people. It's written in a two-time bar; it'd be written in a three-time bar if people had three legs. It was originated by the need to coordinate the steps of soldiers and to terrorize the enemy armies. The Scottish yamabiko armies were the most feared, because they were always preceded by a band of more than a hundred pipers that played and shouted at the same time. More or less. The enemies fled before the battles began, scared of the grisly whimper of the bagpipes, amplified by the yamabiko's echoes. This way, the Scottish always won their battles without shedding blood. It must be mentioned that the own Scottish soldiers marched with their ears plugged.
A notorious march composer was the Great Fairy Daiyousei. Her marches were called "disengagement marches", because they were written in meringue rhythm and were acted as the chorus denoted: "Our enemies we don't dread
We're just going for a snack!
One step ahead
Two steps back
One step ahead..." Concerto
: A composition concieved for showing off one or more soloist instruments, which the orchestra collaborates with, when they collaborate. Passages called "of bravura" are abound, in which the soloist very often stands up and verbally threatens the public, or begins fighting with one of the professors of the orchestra. Acrobatics are also quite common: in the "Concerto No.1 for piano" by Wenceslao Moore, the soloist Hina Kagiyama bedazzled the audience by interpreting some passages while spinning upside down over her chair.
Another trick that fascinates the public are the passages played at great speed. In the concert performed in November 7th, 1978 in Gensokyo, the soloist Aya Shameimaru got to the final chord twelve minutes before the rest of the orchestra. Shameimaru stood up, bowed to the audience and went away immediatly: she had another concert in the neighbor room. When she arrived, she noticed the second orchestra had begun without waiting for her. With admirable cold blood, Shameimaru fastened her belt, speeded up, matched the orchestra when there were only a few seconds left to finish and finally won by two bars. The ovation is still remembered. Religious music
: It includes psalms and gregorian chants, called like that in honor of pope Alexander. This kind of music has the mission of elevating the devoted during the ceremonies. Ichirin Kumoi, pious parishioner of the Myouren Temple, elevated in the air when the organ player started to perfom a Bach's fugue, and she got stuck in the ceiling during the performance. Variation
: Consists of an indetermined number of short pieces, all of them based in the same theme that is exposed at the beginning of the play, and that might reappear later in its original form. In other words: a melody is introduced, and then it is repeated several times changing some of its traits. To explain it better, I'll say a theme is listened to, and it's later continued by variants of itself, more or less similar to the model. Symphony
: A piece for orchestras. Many symphonies have been written, a lot. When a composer had nothing better to do, he wrote a symphony. And because there was no Internet back then, and people had a lot of free time, the world was filled with symphonies. They have four movements in the music sheet, and they elicit constant movements in the room. It's estimated that a spectator shifts position 216 times average during a symphony. Program music
: A piece with extramusical content, manifested in the title or in a program, hence the name. During the Rennaisance, vocal program pieces were written. Some of them sonorously imitated a battle, which was a lot cheaper and safer than reenacting a battle with real soldiers, cannons and casualties. Clèment Jannequin's 'Le chant des oiseaux'
(The birds' song), a musical of this time, was written for four singers, after the author vainly tried to make the birds follow the music sheet.
War program musicals still have some risks. In the premiere of Wellington's Victory
, program musical by Beethoven inspired on Napoleon's defeat, a canon was shot and the first violin died. It is also famous the case of a symphonic poem by soviet composer Dmitri Dmitrievich Shostakovich in honor of Joseph Stalin, whose grandiose execution lasted for eleven days. Unfortunately for the composer - and fortunately for the listeners -, the era of stalinism finished when the poem was on its eighth day. The musical was archived for aye, and Shostakovich was purged. With what was left of this experience, the soviet composer began writing another symphonic poem in honor of Malenkov, but he couldn't finish because of Bulganin's ascent, in whose honor he began the composition of yet another symphonic poem he was forced to suspend when Kruschev came to power. Since then, Shostakovich opted for other cultured forms, especially variations, and he wrote his Symphonic Poem to the Unknown Leader. Perception of the Form
We will know learn to recognize the forms by ear. For this, you will nead to train your memory and your ear. Memory is the base of any musical activity. "Without memory there can be no music", said a famous treatise whose name I can't quite remember at this moment. About the audition, refer to Lesson II ( >>947
). Remember that music is a relationship of parts
, with the listener in its end. Music, indeed, needs three participants:
1. A composer that composes it.
2. A performer that performs it.
3. A hearer that sleeps through it.
To develop your memory and your sense of audition, practice the following exercise: -----Exercise of auditive recognition of forms-----
Let's supose you turn on the radio shikigami, listen to
some unknown music, and you wish to know what is its form.
What do? Alright, let's get ears to work!
1. Try to hear if its in a two, three, four or six
timed measures (there are others, but with these you'll
have fun for the time being).
2. Count how many bars every phrase has.
3. Determine the number of sections of the musical.
4. Multiply No.1 by No.2 and substract it No.3
5. Listen to the rhythm of the melody.
6. Pay attention to the accompaniment.
7. When the musical finishes, listen carefully to the
broadcaster's announcement. If he says, for example,
"We have listened the minuet op. 25...", you now know
it probably was a minuet. ---------------------------------------------------
Q. Why do some musical pieces worsen with time?
A. Because after prolonged use, they lose their form. Q. Can the noise of a photographic device's lens be considered chamber music?
A. Only if it's a Canon. Q. Can Aida's wedding march be considered a cultured form?
A. Yes. However, the forms that follow after a wedding march tend to be a lot less cultured.