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Form in Music Hardcover – September, 1985


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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Designed for those who have a background in basic music theory and music history, this volume approaches the study of musical coherence (logic and development) through the systematic investigation of traditional forms of tonal music and of principles of form, structure, and process. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; later Printing edition (September 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0133292010
  • ISBN-13: 978-0133292015
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,295,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
Wallace Berry's, Form in Music, is easier to read than other music theory books. The book explains musical forms such as; binary, ternary, rondo and others. Berry uses proper terminology and eplains why other words or phrases should not be used. He clearly defines musical terms and gives a formula for musical forms. He cites many pieces of music to prove or show how the formula is realized. He also explains how some pieces and composers broke the formula. My one complaint about the book deals with these citations. There is not enough musical notation examples to read and look at when Berry refers to a piece. He refers to pieces that are never notated. When dealing with musical form and analysis one needs the music. In Green's Form in Tonal Music, Volume 2 is a whole book full of musical examples. Green, however, is not as readable as Berry.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Craig Matteson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is the text on musical form we used when I was an undergraduate at the University of Michigan School of Music many years ago. Other texts, such as Douglass Green's "Form in Tonal Music" are more commonly used nowadays, and that is fine, but I still have a fondness for this text because I used it. I found it easy to read and very helpful.

While it does have many musical examples, it discusses many other pieces. It is intended that your professor would supply you with an anthology or that you as a reader would simply go and acquire recordings of the pieces you are interested in hearing as they are discussed in the book. Musical form is more about hearing and a lot less about notation than, say, counterpoint or harmony (although they are about hearing as well). The idea of form is that you hear what is the same, what is different, and even when it is nearly the same, what is different and why. Composers create form and coherence in their works by the way they shape the music using their chosen materials. Some things are similar to each other to provide the frame of the piece, and others contrast to provide variety. It is really much more sophisticated than that, but you get the drift.

Another important point to know is that these forms become named and identified after the fact. Composers do not follow rules per se. They create great music and then the rules are distilled from their practice. Now, it is true that these rules are taught to later generations and great composers were generally schooled in the practices of their day. However, they then promptly pushed what they were taught into new areas with new ideas and approaches. And then the rules get changed. Breaking a "rule" means making a mistake and therefore bad music. Good music by its very achievement creates the rules for lesser composers to follow. Geniuses become the law.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael Ducharme on January 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
This text explained Musical Form more clearly and thoroughly than any other musical form books I own (Leon Stein, Spring/Hutcheson) and gave excellent examples. I very highly recommend it for study of Musical Form and Analysis.

Contrary to what the last poster said, I do not find it a big issue that there is no Anthology for Analysis to accompany it. The anthology that accompanies Green's book is VERY expensive. Most of the examples in Berry's text are available very inexpensively as a used copy at your local sheet music store.
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