Arch form


Arch form

In music, arch form is a sectional structure for a piece of music based on repetition, in reverse order, of all or most musical sections such that the overall form is symmetric, most often around a central movement. The sections need not be repeated verbatim but must at least share thematic material.

It creates interest through interplay among "memory, variation, and progression." Though the form appears to be static and to deny progress, the pairs of movements create a "unidirectional process" with the center, and the form "actually engenders specific expressive possibilities that would otherwise be unavailable for the work as a whole." (Wilson 1992, p.32)

Béla Bartók is noted for his use of arch form, e.g., in his Fourth and Fifth quartets, "Second Piano Concerto", and, less so, "Second Violin Concerto" (ibid). Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings also uses arch form.

Most popular structure = ABCBA

ource

*Wilson, Paul (1992). "The Music of Béla Bartók". ISBN 0-300-05111-5.


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