If you haven't written a piece for this prompt yet, you've got two or three days more to do so: there's still a few bits and pieces to pull together for the upcoming contest, which as a result probably won't be up until Friday, and I figure the intervening time will be better spent writing than twiddling our collective thumbs and having lives. So there it is. My love to all of you!
There's only five days left to submit to this prompt, and I'm sad to report we've had just two entries so far. You make me weep My Little Pony tears, people. Anyway, I realised that the resources offered below were heavy on the musical jargon and light on the actually making any sense and I decided to take action before it was too late. Below is a cheat sheet to some of the more common musical forms, compilated and barbarised by yours truly. May it aid you in all your endeavours!
Binary: AB. Two equal, contrasting parts of around the same length. These two parts will have different tunes, but (usually) the same rhythm and character. Easy peasy--just two different halves that more or less relate.
Ternary: ABA. Three equal parts where the third is a repeat or variation of the first, and the second provides contrast. The second part may vary in speed, rhythm and character to the first and third. Similar to the triptychs we played with a while back!
Rondo: ABACADAetc... In Rondo form, a repeated, more or less unchanged theme is alternated with new ideas, Sometimes the repeated theme is embellished or varied more each time it returns. It's similar to the chorus in a pop song, only instead of matching verses to go with it there's a succession of new ideas.
Theme and Variations: AA1A2A3 As the title suggests, an endless series of variations on the same idea. Often the same length and tune is kept, but the style is changed. Feel free to experiment, though!
Sonata form: The trickiest one I'll mention here. In a basic sense Sonata form is similar to a Ternary form--an exposition, where the main musical ideas are set out, a development, where those ideas are developed further and in constrast to their original presentations, and a recapitulation, which restates the main themes and brings it all home. Often, the exposition will contain two main themes to be explored later on. Those themes could be words, ideas, symbols or whole lines to you--interpret it as you will!
Hopefully that gives you a few good ideas. If not, I'm free to discuss any other thoughts you might have below!
At around this time three years ago, a younger, thinner, infinitely more harried version of myself was putting the finishing touches to a piece of poetry which, although I didn't know it at the time, would eventually form the foundation for a little something called transliterations. It was my portfolio piece for a first year creative writing class, and it was a translation--structure, time signatures, sentiments and all--of Beethoven's 6th Symphony. It was a month late and it had driven me batty long before that, but it was the start, I think, of something special. This group was and will always be a brave effort to make others attempt works of madness. Today, it's this madness: the madness that started it all.
On that note: Prompt Exercise No. 7!
Your task: to write a piece of prose or poetry which adheres to a specific musical structure. There's a list below to get you started, but more or less anything goes. Why not write a short story in the form of a tango, or a 12 bar blues poem? What about a concerto where the soloist is a different style of writing to the orchestra, or a fugue where several lines can be read at once? The basic binary, ternary and rondo forms are there to fall back on, of course, but don't be limited by them: the world is your pulsing, two-four time oyster!
Because ex-music students have to use their knowledge somehow, I will be making myself available throughout this prompt to give you help either finding or understanding whichever musical form you have in mind. Some of the Wikipedia articles below default to musical diagrams or jargon, so I'm happy to act as interpreter for anyone who needs it. And, because this is a personal pet prompt for me and I need an excuse like I need a third head, I'll also be handing out bonuses to any particularly creative or ambitious submissions!
Some Basic Musical Forms
Minuet and Trio
More Challenging Choices
List of Musical Forms by Era
Why Not Find Your Own?
Submit your finished work to the Transliterations Prompt 7 folder. As usual, all pieces submitted by the deadline receive a news feature and a journal feature from myself.
The deadline for this prompt is June 20th. If you have any questions, like 'How do I submit to the group?' or 'Is there a God?' or even 'What do you call the space under the kettle?', leave a comment here and we'll do our best to answer them. Failing that, stay safe and happy transliterating!