Music theorists from the past and present refer to a period of musical sections of different nature based on different criteria. So the term is ambiguous. The most widespread concept today is likely to be in the sense of this definition:
"If we combine two four-bar movements of the same or essentially the same content with each other in such a way that the first of the two movements ends with a half-ending, the second with a complete ending in the key of the tonic, the first becomes the front and the second the trailer , and the whole thing in an eight-bar period . "
- Eight bars,
- even structure (8 = 4 + 4)
- with a half-close in the middle and a final full-length , as well
- motivic correspondence of front and back sentences.
As will be shown below, however, none of these features has been an essential criterion for its use at any time in the history of the term.
The term comes from rhetoric (see sentence period ) and, against this background, in the 17th century initially referred to generally closed musical sections. The word says nothing about the exact scope and structure of such sections at this time. This conceptual conception can still be found around 1800 in the writings of Heinrich Christoph Koch , who defined the period as “a part of a piece of clay” which ends “with a perfect resting point of the mind”, “which is called a cadence” (under “cadence”) Cook a perfect full stop ).
Symmetrical division into two parts, half-round and full-length, eight measures
The restriction to sections that end with a full closure but are also divided into two equally long parts by a semi-closure is first found in Anton Reicha's melody theory (1814). The further restriction to an eight-bar model (which can be shortened or lengthened) took place in the influential composition theory of Adolf Bernhard Marx (1837), who also introduced the terms “antecedent” and “subsequent”. Around the middle of the 19th century, we encounter the analogy that is still common today, according to which the antecedent of a period resembles a question and the corresponding suffix resembles its answer. The fact that the middle cadence must be a half-cadence is relativized in recent literature: Even imperfect (or less perfect compared to the final cadence) full clauses are used across epochs at this point. Accordingly, z. B. the first eight bars of the children's song Hänschen klein also have a period.
Motif corresponding to the beginning of the sentence
The fact that the subsequent sentence begins as a (varied) repetition of the antecedent has been specially emphasized in some manuals and lexicons since 1865. In some other sources, this aspect is not mentioned or may be taken for granted.
Outline of the antecedent
Arnold Schönberg , whose writings are an important point of reference for today's musical theory of forms , describes the antecedent as divided into two parts, since after the formulation of the first "phrase", which usually takes two bars, "more contrasting motif forms" followed. At this point (i.e. in the third measure of a theme) decide whether the section will develop into a period or a movement :
“The period differs from the sentence in that it postpones the repetition. Your first phrase is not repeated immediately, but rather combined with more distant (more contrasting) motif forms to form the first half of the period , the antecedent . After this contrast, the repetition can no longer be postponed without endangering comprehensibility. Accordingly, the second half, the subsequent clause , will be constructed as a kind of repetition of the antecedent. "
In addition to this, William Caplin describes the type of the "composite" period ( compound period ), the antecedent and consequent each comprise eight bars and as a set or as a "hybrid" ( hybrid ;.. U a antecedent + Continued ) are built. As an example of this last structure, Caplin et al. a. T. 1-16 in the first movement of the piano sonata in A flat major, Op. 26 by Ludwig van Beethoven .
Period as a metric model
According to Hugo Riemann , the period is also essentially determined by the "distinctions between different weights of bars":
"The terms light (first) and harder (answering, second) measure, first (standing) and second (answering) two-measure group, first half-sentence (antecedent) and second half-sentence (trailer) lead to an understanding of the regular scheme of the full eight-measure period ."
The resulting weight graduation
- 1st ("easiest") level: 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th bar
- 2nd stage: 2nd, 6th bar
- 3rd stage: 4th bar
- 4th stage: 8th measure
is not always given in the same way, but depends “on the concrete content [...], on the thematic motifs”.
Sources and literature
- Christoph von Blumröder : Art. Period / Period . In: Concise Dictionary of Musical Terminology , ed. by Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht and Albrecht Riethmüller , editor Markus Bandur, Steiner, Stuttgart 1996, ISBN 978-3-515-10167-7 ( online ).
- William Caplin: Classical Form. A Theory of Formal Functions for the Instrumental Music of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven . Oxford University Press, New York 1998, ISBN 978-0-19-514399-7 .
- William Caplin: Analyzing Classical Form. An Approach for the Classroom . Oxford University Press, New York 2013, ISBN 978-0-19-998730-6 .
- Carl Dahlhaus : Sentence and Period: On the Theory of Musical Syntax . In: Zeitschrift fur Musiktheorie 9 (1978), pp. 16–26.
- Arrey von Dommer : Musical Lexicon (= increased and revised 2nd edition of the work of the same name by Heinrich Christoph Koch ), Heidelberg: JCB Mohr 1865 ( online ).
- Heinrich Christoph Koch : Musical Lexicon . Frankfurt 1802 ( online ).
- Clemens Kühn : Theory of Forms in Music . 6th edition, Bärenreiter, Kassel 2001, ISBN 3-7618-1392-9 .
- Anton Reicha : Traité de mélodie . Paris 1814; German translation by Carl Czerny 1832.
- Hugo Riemann : System of musical rhythm and metrics . Breitkopf & Härtel, Leipzig 1903.
- Arnold Schönberg : Fundamentals of Musical Composition [1937–1948], posthumously ed. by Gerald Strang and Leonard Stein , London 1967; German as foundations of musical composition , trans. by Rudolf Kolisch and ed. by Rudolf Stephan , Universal Edition, Vienna 1979, ISBN 978-3-7024-0136-8 .
- For a detailed overview of the conceptions of the term in music theory since the Middle Ages, see Blumröder 1996.
- See e.g. B. Burmeister 1606, pp. 35f., 73f.
- Koch 1802, column 1150.
- Blumröder 1996, pp. 9-11. The question-and-answer metaphor in aesthetic Encyclopedia of Ignaz Jeitteles (Volume 2, page 66) refers to the Blumroder (9), relates generally to a possible relationship of certain melodic members, not specifically to the ratio of front and Postscript in the sense of Marx.
- See e.g. B. Kühn 2001, p. 56f.
- Dommer 1865, p. 677f.
- Schönberg 1979, p. 21: "The difference between a sentence and a period lies in the treatment of the second phrase and its continuation."
- Schönberg 1979, p. 23.
- Caplin 2013, pp. 166ff.
- Riemann 1903, p. 13.
- Riemann 1903, p. 13.