Musical motives : a theory and method for analyzing shape in music /

Publication Type:



Oxford University Press,, New York, NY, United States ; Oxford, United Kingdom, p.1 online resource (x, 384 pages) : (2021)

Call Number:




(OCoLC)fst01030696, fast, Musical analysis, Musical analysis.


Includes bibliographical references and index."Motives, the small, recurring shape elements primarily identified by their pitch and rhythm profiles, are near-ubiquitous in music. Yet despite their longstanding prominence in composition and in past and present discourse on music, motives have resisted systematic treatment. The present work, Musical Motives, establishes a methodology for identifying and labelling motives and for assembling viable, meaningful analyses with them. The book opens with a general introduction to motives and a review of their history in Western music. The body of the work prescribes a two-tiered system for working with motives: Basic Motivic Analysis (BMA) concerns monophonic motives composed of pitch and rhythm, while Complex Motivic Analysis (CMA) concerns polyphonic motives that present as a richer network of elements drawn from many domains, including but not limited to pitch, rhythm, counterpoint, harmony, texture, articulation, etc. In support of these methods, the book offers a generous set of tools to advance this analytic subdiscipline. One tool is a universal system of motivic nomenclature proposed to facilitate dialog among analysts. Another is a technique for melodic reduction rooted in principles of salience, that offers analysts the capacity to posit motives that admit flexibility without sacrificing methodologic rigor. Most significant, the work details specific procedures for creating, interpreting, and presenting motivic analyses that range in length from just a few measures to entire pieces. Extensive demonstrations of all points and procedures are given in the form of analyses of selections and full works by composers as diverse as Beethoven, Handel, Chopin, Bach, Mozart, Brahms, Cécile Chaminade, Marvin Hamlisch, Aretha Franklin, Sousa, and Radiohead"--Online resource; title from digital title page (viewed on April 21, 2021).