Three-Part Song Form

I.      Incipient three-part song form (incipient ternary; rounded binary)

A.    Smallest three-part song form

B.    Part I: two phrases, usually as some kind of period

C.    Part II: single four-measure phrase

D.    Part III: return, either exact or with some modification, of one of the phrases of Part I. (not the entire phrase!)

1.     If Part I is a parallel period, either antecedent or consequent is used

2.     If Part I is a contrasting period, only antecedent is used

E.    Examples

1.     Stephen Foster songs

a)     My Old Kentucky Home

b)    Old Folks at Home

c)     Oh Susannah

2.     Beethoven: Piano Sonata Op. 2 No. 2: IV

3.     Schumann: Album for the Young #21 (Part III is extended)

4.     Schumann: Theme from Impromptus Op. 5

5.     Beethoven: Variations Op. 76

6.     Beethoven: Quartet Op. 18 No. 4: IV

7.     Beethoven: Piano Sonata Op. 2 No. 2: II (extended Part III). Note: although Part III is seven measures long, it remains a single phrase with extension, while Part I is a parallel period (and therefore two phrases).

8.     Beethoven: Piano Sonata Op. 7: IV. Part III resembles the consequent of Part I very strongly. However, there is a very strong feeling of return to the initial idea—and thus this isn’t just a binary with a musical rhyme at the end.

9.     Beethoven: Piano Sonata Op. 14 No. 1: II. The sense of return is strong—Part III closely corroborates the first phrase of Part I. (What follows is a four-measure codetta.)

10.  Beethoven: Piano Sonata Op. 49 No. 1: II. Part III is almost an exact copy of the consequent of Part I, which is a parallel period.

11.  Beethoven: Piano Sonata Op. 2 No. 1: II. Part III corroborates the first phrase of Part I, although there has been considerable modification, perhaps enough to say that it’s a modified second phrase of Part I. However, it’s an incipient three-part song form any way you slice it.

12.  Mozart: Sonata K. 331: I. Part III has a two-measure codetta.

13.  Mozart: Fantasie and Sonata in C Minor K. 475. This has written-out, ornamented repeats:

a)     91-98: Part I (parallel period 4+4)

b)    99-106: Part I repeated with variation

c)     107-110: Part II

d)    111-114: Part III (phrase 2 of Part I)

e)     115-118: Part II repeated

f)     119-122: Part III repeated

g)    123-129: Codetta

II.    Regular three-part song form

A.    Part I: period through double period or phrase group in length. Usually ends in an authentic cadence, either in the principal or a related key. Interludes or codettas may follow part I.

B.    Codetta: Beethoven: Piano Sonata Op. 2 No. 1:III 11-13 (Part I is expanded as well.)

C.    Interlude: Mendelssohn: Song Without Words #23. This also has an introduction before Part I.

D.    Part II: period through double period or phrase group in length. Extensions, phrase group structures, structural irregularities are more common here than in Part I. Every once in a while, Part II might be only a single phrase.

1.     The melody may be:

a)     A transposition of Part I. Example: Schumann Album for the Young #11

b)    Derived from Part I

c)     Entirely new material

2.     It usually ends in a half-cadence, giving it a transitional character.

3.     It can be followed by:

a)     Codetta

b)    Interlude

c)     Dissolution: Beethoven Op. 2 No. 2 III: 24-30

d)    Retransition

E.    Part III: return of Part I. NOTE: all the examples are in the handout packet; they are too long to include in the outline.

1.     Exact or slightly modified

2.     Longer than Part I, either by extension or with the addition of new material.

a)     Mendelssohn Song Without Words #25

(1)  1-10 Part I (extended consequent)

(2)  11-22 Part II

(3)  23-35 Part III (cadential evasions and extensions)

(4)  36-40 Coda

b)    Mendelssohn Song Without Words #26

(1)  1-2 Introduction

(2)  2-15 Part I (Parallel period with varied repeates)

(3)  15-29 Part II

(4)  29-40 Part III (begins with consequent but expands)

(5)  41-57 Coda—includes antecedent from Part I.

c)     Mendelssohn Song Without Words #27

(1)  1-4 Introduction

(2)  5-20 Part I (Parallel period with repeat)

(3)  22-28 Part II

(4)  29-32 Interlude

(5)  33-44 Part III (Blends Part I with introduction and interlude elements)

(6)  44-48 Coda

d)    Mendelssohn Song Without Words #30

(1)  1-15 Part I

(2)  16-49 Part II

(3)  50-71 Part III (extended)

(4)  71-90 Coda

3.     Shorter than Part I, maybe even a single phrase

a)     Schumann Album for the Young #16

(1)  1-16 Part I (Parallel period)

(2)  17-24 Part II (new-ish material although reminiscent of Part I consequent)

(3)  25-32 Part III (antecedent = Part I antecedent).

4.     Considerably modified, but still recognizably related to Part I

a)     Beethoven: Piano Sonata Op. 2 No. 1: III 29-40

5.     Transposition of Part I—this is a more irregular form in some ways. Example: Schumann Album for the Young #7: 17-end

a)     1-8 Part I (Parallel period ending on V)

b)    9-16 Part II to V/vi

c)     17-24 Part III (=Part I transposed into IV)

d)    25-28 Part III repeated in I.