Period (music)

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For eras in classical music, see Dates of classical music eras. Period (music)_sentence_0

For the inverse of frequency, see Period (physics). Period (music)_sentence_1

In music, a period is certain types of recurrence in small-scale formal structure. Period (music)_sentence_2

In twentieth-century music scholarship, the term is usually used as defined by the Oxford Companion to Music: "a period consists of two phrases, antecedent and consequent, each of which begins with the same basic motif." Period (music)_sentence_3

Earlier usage varied somewhat, but usually referred to similar notions of symmetry, recurrence, and closure. Period (music)_sentence_4

The concept of a musical period originates in comparisons between music structure and rhetoric at least as early as the 16th century. Period (music)_sentence_5

Western art music Period (music)_section_0

In Western art music or Classical music, a period is a group of phrases consisting usually of at least one antecedent phrase and one consequent phrase totaling about 8 bars in length (though this varies depending on meter and tempo). Period (music)_sentence_6

Generally, the antecedent ends in a weaker and the consequent in a stronger cadence; often, the antecedent ends in a half cadence while the consequent ends in an authentic cadence. Period (music)_sentence_7

Frequently, the consequent strongly parallels the antecedent, even sharing most of the material save the final bars. Period (music)_sentence_8

In other cases, the consequent may differ greatly (for example, the period in the beginning of the second movement of the Pathetique Sonata). Period (music)_sentence_9

The 1958 Encyclopédie Fasquelle defines a period as follows: Period (music)_sentence_10

Period (music)_unordered_list_0

  • "A complex phrase, in which the various parts are enchained."Period (music)_item_0_0

Another definition is as follows: Period (music)_sentence_11

Period (music)_unordered_list_1

  • "In traditional music...a group of bars comprising a natural division of the melody; usually regarded as comprising two or more contrasting or complementary phrases and ending with a cadence." (Harvard Dictionary of Music, 1969)Period (music)_item_1_1

And Period (music)_sentence_12

Period (music)_unordered_list_2

  • "A period is a structure of two consecutive phrases, often built of similar or parallel melodic material, in which the first phrase gives the impression of asking a question which is answered by the second phrase."Period (music)_item_2_2

A double period is, "a group of at least four phrases...in which the first two phrases form the antecedent and the third and fourth phrases together form the consequent." Period (music)_sentence_13

When analyzing Classical music, contemporary music theorists usually employ a more specific formal definition, such as the following by William Caplin: Period (music)_sentence_14

Period (music)_unordered_list_3

  • "the period is normatively an eight-bar structure divided into two four-bar phrases. [...] the antecedent phrase of a period begins with a two-bar basic idea. [...] bars 3–4 of the antecedent phrase bring a 'contrasting idea' that leads to a weak cadence of some kind. [...] The consequent phrase of the period repeats the antecedent but concludes with a stronger cadence. More specifically, the basic idea 'returns' in bars 5–6 and then leads to a contrasting idea, which may or may not be based on that of the antecedent."Period (music)_item_3_3

Sub-Saharan music and music of the African diaspora Period (music)_section_1

Bell patterns Period (music)_section_2

The second definition of period in the New Harvard Dictionary of Music states: "A musical element that is in some way repeated," applying "to the units of any parameter of music that embody repetitions at any level." Period (music)_sentence_15

In some sub-Saharan music and music of the African diaspora, the bell pattern embodies this definition of period. Period (music)_sentence_16

The bell pattern (also known as a key pattern, guide pattern, phrasing referent, timeline, or asymmetrical timeline) is repeated throughout the entire piece, and is the principal unit of musical time and rhythmic structure by which all other elements are arranged. Period (music)_sentence_17

The period is often a single bar (four main beats). Period (music)_sentence_18

The seven-stroke standard bell pattern is one of the most commonly used representations of the musical period in sub-Saharan music. Period (music)_sentence_19

The first three strokes of the bell are antecedent, and the remaining four strokes are consequent. Period (music)_sentence_20

The consequent diametrically opposes the antecedent. Period (music)_sentence_21

Clave Period (music)_section_3

Cuban musicologist Emilio Grenet represents the period in two bars of 2/4. Period (music)_sentence_22

In explaining the structure of music guided by the five-stroke African bell pattern known in Cuba as clave (Spanish for 'key' or 'code'), Grenet uses what could be considered a definition of period: "We find that all its melodic design is constructed on a rhythmic pattern of two bars, as though both were only one, the first is antecedent, strong, and the second is consequent, weak." Period (music)_sentence_23

As Grenet and many others describe the period, the cross-rhythmic antecedent ('tresillo') is strong and the on-beat resolution is weak. Period (music)_sentence_24

This is the opposite of Western harmonic theory, where resolution is described as strong. Period (music)_sentence_25

Despite this difference, both the harmonic and rhythmic periods have consequent resolution. Period (music)_sentence_26

In simplest terms, that resolution occurs harmonically when the tonic is sounded, and in clave-based rhythm when the last main beat is sounded. Period (music)_sentence_27

Metric consonance is achieved when the last stroke of clave coincides with the last main beat (last quarter note) of the consequent bar. Period (music)_sentence_28

The antecedent bar has three strokes and is called the three-side of clave. Period (music)_sentence_29

The consequent bar has two strokes and is called the two-side. Period (music)_sentence_30

The three-side gives the impression of asking a question, which is answered by the two-side. Period (music)_sentence_31

The two sides of clave cycle in a type of repeating call and response. Period (music)_sentence_32

An actual key pattern does not need to be played in order for a key pattern to define the period. Period (music)_sentence_33

See also Period (music)_section_4

Period (music)_unordered_list_4


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Period (music).