To lower-level organizational structures I call them Microform and these decisions are related to materials inside a given section or how to prepare to go to the next section. At this point, I am referring to rhythmic parts, melodies, harmony – i.e. like how many chords per bar and type of chords; what mode or scale; the tempo, the meter, etc.
For instance, to make a melody you will have to decide if you are going to develop the motif in the format of question and answer; or a simple repetition with variation; if the variation will be modulated.
Then, if you wish to modulate before going to the next section, where will it occur? If you will only modulate in the next section then how many bars will be used for preparation? Where are the transitions going to occur? The same goes for the rhythm; is it question and answer-based? Is it only going to change for the transition?
A way of managing all this is to simply organize all these materials as you would if you were planning for the whole music piece structure, but on a lower-level. This means that you can use the binary form, for example, to develop a melodic, harmonic or rhythmic phrase, in which A is the question and B is the answer:
There are other ways for managing the extension of the material you are working with and how it evolves. Normally, if you have an idea that fits in one bar with n beats and want to repeat it, you will get two bars. If you want to extend by repetition, then you will get four bars, then eight bars, sixteen, and so on. The following examples are based on this simple concept and how you can use it to present and develop your thematic material even if it is based on a small musical fragment. I will be starting with a motif and then develop it until a whole section of sixteen bars is composed:
Notice how I used the rhythmic motif, repeated it and made melodic variations out of it, until I rotated the initial rhythmic fragment and used it as inspiration for the contrasting answer.
Obviously, there are other ways to develop an idea and this example is for illustrative purposes only. The various sections of a piece of music, how they repeat and contrast with one another, how the musical material is organized on a higher and lower-level, how repetition and variation are used to accentuate or smoothen contrasts; these are all very important aspects of the music composition game and thus must not be overlooked. On the contrary, form, as a way of organizing musical ideas, is one of the building blocks for meaningful music composition.
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