Segments in this Video

What is Form? (01:37)


Form is the shape or structure of a song. It can be used as a formula to structure music.

Western Classical Music: Sonata Form (05:23)

In western classical music, form is often centered on repetition. The sonata form is typically the first movement of a symphony, piano trio, and string quartet. It consists of the exposition, development, and recapitulation.

Jazz: Form as a Blueprint for Improvization (04:40)

The structure of a jazz performance is often centered on pre-composed music as the structure for improvisation. Many popular compositions follow the AABA form.

Traditional Japanese Music: Narrative Structure (04:08)

Traditional Japanese music introduces new musical ideas throughout the composition. The narrative of a song often tells a story, which shapes the form.

West African Percussion and American Gospel Music (04:39)

Call and response is one of the main structures of music in sub-Saharan Africa. It also plays a major role in gospel music, transitioning from the soloist to the choir.

Traditional Irish Dance Music (03:03)

Irish tunes typically follow the AABB form. Hear "The Plains of Boyle."

Credits: Form: The Shape of Music—Exploring the World of Music (00:57)

Credits: Form: The Shape of Music—Exploring the World of Music

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Form: The Shape of Music—Exploring the World of Music

Part of the Series : Exploring the World of Music
3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



Form— the way music is organized and structured from beginning to end— guides composers, performers, and listeners in all musics. Here, the traditional Western sonata, the blueprints behind improvisational jazz, the narrative structure of traditional Japanese music, call-and-response forms in West African music and American gospel, and Irish fiddle tunes exemplify worldwide variations in musical form.

Length: 27 minutes

Item#: BVL113466

Copyright date: ©1999

Closed Captioned

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