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MEANING OF MUSICAL FORM: Musical form or musical architecture refers to overall structure or plan of a piece of music and it describes the layout of a composition as divided into sections. In analyzing musical forms, motives, phrases and sentences of a piece of music are of great importance.

  1. MOTIVES: Motives are the smallest units or figures of a musical composition, consisting of at least two, three four or more notes and have a clearly recognizable melodic or rhythmic figures giving life to a piece of
  2. PHRASES: A musical phrase consist of one or more motives usually in two or four bars long and ends with some form of cadence.
  3. SENTENCES: A musical sentence consists of two or more phrases that bring the tune or main part of a tune to an end. A common length for a musical sentence is eight bars.
See also  BATIK



  1. BINARY FORM (Two Part Form)

This is a musical piece which comprises of two sections or complimentary sentences (A & B) or A//B//. Section A being the questioning section and Section B being the answering section. In Section A, the music piece begins with the original key (tonic) and progresses to another key preferably the dominant or its relative major or minor; and the answering Section B. takes its melody from the key in which ‘A’ ended and moves back to the original key  or the tonic. On the other hand, Section A ends with an imperfect cadence, while Section B ends with a perfect cadence. This second example implies that there will be no modulation and the parts may not be repeated. Most binary forms consist of sixteen bars. (Eight in each section).


  1. TERNARY FORM (Three Part Form)

This is a piece of music with three sections A//B//A//. In the ternary form, the 1st section starts in the tonic and ends with a perfect cadence and could therefore complete itself.

The 2nd section B. is the digression or episode which is usually contrasted with the first section by the use of a different key or keys and in different material or outline.

The 3rd section A. is the re – statement which is either exact or slightly varied repetition of the first section that starts and ends in the tonic.

See also  UNITY



A musical form with a recurring leading theme, often found in the final movement of a sonata or concerto. 


Sonata form is musical structure consisting of three main sections ; an exposition, a development and a recapitulation. It has been widely used in the middle of the 18th century (Early classical period). 


In music, unitary form is also known as strophic form, which has the same melody over different song stanzas that have different lyrics. Moreover, a song is unitary in its form if it has this “repetitive nature”.


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