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The music structures

The sections of a piece


A description of the different sections of a musical piece which are the introduction, the exposition, the development, the recapitulation and the coda.
Before starting the study of a musical structure, it is first necessary to define it, in order not to confuse the musical "genre" and the musical structure that interests us here.
Indeed, one can speak of musical "genre" in order to name an instrumental or vocal music, or the music "genre" of the chamber or symphonic music ..
We will therefore distinguish the "genre" with the musical structure that determines how are arranged and distributed the different sections of a piece.
The sections described in this video are absolutely not rigid and are provided for guidance only in terms of both : classic and modern styles (jazz for example).
The section that begins a piece is usually called "introduction" and aims to install a set, a tempo, a mood, a movement, a tonality ect ..
In this setting come the actors that are the musical themes. It is the role of the exposition.
You can find from one and up to three themes in an exposition, according to the period. For example the baroque pieces included generally one theme only.
In the classical era, we find two themes in symphonies for example. At the end of romanticism, we find up to three themes.
When we have two themes, they are distinguished by their mood. For example, the first theme can be very melodic and the second le-rythmeic. But they are also different because of their tonalities. The first theme is composed in the main tonality and the second in a neighbor key or distant key.
Both themes are often connected by a modulating "bridge" or transition that leads to the key of the second theme.
The equivalent of the exposition will be named "first chorus" where the main themes of the composition take place.
The following development is the heart of the musical composition, the location where the themes are shaped, transformed and sometimes opposed to each other. In jazz, this is the place where the soloists express themselves.
In the recapitulation, we find the main themes of the exposition, slightly varied, but in the main tonality. The equivalent section in jazz, is called "last chorus" which is also a varied recapitulation of the first chorus.
Finally, in order to conclude the piece, we find a "coda".
These so given sections are not rigid. Sometimes, some pieces begin without introduction nor coda.

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