Arch form

From Young Composers
Jump to: navigation, search

Arch form is a sectional structure based on repetition in such a way that the overall structure of the music appears "symmetrical". Sections do not have to be repeated verbatim but merely have to share common thematic material.

Béla Bartók was one of the first notable composers to make extensive use of the form. He utilized the form in both his fourth and fifth string quartets as well as his second piano concerto (where the overall structure was three movements of fast-slow-fast with the outer movements sharing common thematic material and the slow movement being structured in itself as slow-fast-slow with both slow sections using the same material). Bartók's Out of Doors suite is also notable for its arch form with the middle movement itself being an arch form and the key plan being E - G - A - G - E. Samuel Barber's famous Adagio for Strings also makes use of the arch form.

Though many variations exist, arch form is generally structured as ABCBA.

Notable compositions that utilize arch form

  • Béla Bartók
Fourth String Quartet
Fifth String Quartet
Second Piano Concerto
Out of Doors suite
  • Samuel Barber
Adagio for Strings

Musical Forms
Polyphonic forms CanonCanzonaInventionFugueOrganumRicercarRoundSinfornia
Sectional forms Strophic formChain formBinary formTernary formRondo formArch formRitornello form
Cyclical forms BalletConcertoMassOratorioOperaRequiemSonataSong cycleSuiteSymphony
composed forms
BagatelleFantasiaEtudeImpromptuPreludeRhapsodySymphonic poem
Dance forms AllemandeBalladBoleroContradanceEstampieJigPolkaWaltz

French: CouranteGigueMinuetSarabande

Italian: BarcarolleSaltarelloTarantella

Polish: MazurkaPolonaise