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LESSON III
Phrases
An attempt will now be made to form short musical sentences with the material in hand.
The shortest sentence is that known as the phrase. A phrase may consist of two, three, four, or more measures, but the normal extent is usually assumed to be four meas­ures. The student will therefore, at present, devote his attention solely to this arrangement.
The phrase ends with a cadence. The perfect cadence generally used, is the I chord on an accent (with the root in both bass and soprano), preceded by the V chord. This, the most complete and decisive form of ending, should be employed and retained at present.
The commencement may be made upon the I chord. This is the old orthodox method of starting music, which is still retained in the majority of compositions; though it may be mentioned that, as a matter of fact, it is possible to begin on any chord within the key.
Modern musical rhythm is built upon the recurrence of equal groups of time-units, the groups being enclosed by bars in order to aid the eye. A certain arrangement of unit grouping is selected at the outset and is continued throughout the movement. There are only two funda­mental varieties of groups commonly available—twos and threes. These are used to form simple time. Other group­ings, of fours, sixes, etc., are multiplications of simple groupings, and are referred to as compound time.
It may be questioned whether, on first hearing, it is possible for the listener to know for certain whether a given piece is in simple or compound time. For the keyboard composer the main thing here is to grasp clearly the funda­mental fact that he is now called upon to play in either twos or threes.
Attention must be given to the movement of the bass, especially with regard to two points:
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III