Sectional/structural form

This relates to the manner in which all the sections (or melodies if more than one) are structured in what particular order. Again, the purpose is to create a satisfyingly integrated whole. For example, in classical music, the “gold-standard” of structural form was Sonata-Allegro. In the widest sense this consisted of an Exposition (statement of themes 1 & 2, or more), Development (variation on themes), Recapitulation (restatement of themes 1 & 2, more). The form was highly plastic, though, allowing many different possibilities for variation & alteration. There were other forms: Rondo, Minuet & Trio, etc. Larger forms were the symphony, the concerto, etc.


There are some modern day musicians who claim to “hate the rules” of all that “stuffy classical” music. First, it is ironic; think about any standard pop song’s structure: verse & chorus, optional bridge/solo, repeat verse & chorus. This (on a much smaller scale) exactly mimics sonata-allegro form.  Next, the richness in integrated components (themes, harmonies, rhythms, etc.) of the simplest Haydn piano sonata (for example) is well beyond anything any pop song has ever achieved. Don’t get me wrong here. There is some pop music which I think has great value; there is some pop music I personally enjoy. I am not saying it is all bad. By it’s nature, I think it has to be more brief & to the point (i.e. use less musical tools & info available to a composer). Finally, consider the vast majority of what exists as pop songs. How much variety in form & structure has been achieved in that genre compared to classical with it’s “overbearing & straightjacket rules”? Please, stop, it hurts.

Anyway, there’s more structural form variation & integration in ONE Beethoven sonata than in the last 50 years of pop music.