Skip to main content

Form-Building Patterns and Metaphorical Meaning

  • Lasse Thoresen (a1)

This paper will present methods for the analysis of form-building patterns in general, formulating analytical principles across stylistic borders. We will demonstrate the use of two selected analytical tools on a specific work by the Swedish composer Åke Parmerud. We identify, firstly, time-fields which describe the segmentation of form sections and, secondly, dynamic forms tracing the perceived directions of energy flow. Eventually we will discuss a semiotic interpretation of the music analysed. The present paper is a continuation of two previous papers that have presented conceptual and graphic tools for an aural, spectromorphological analysis of music. The first paper, published in Organised Sound 12/2, demonstrated the spectromorphological categories for the transcription of sound objects (level one). The second paper, published in Organised Sound 14/3, demonstrated their application, and expanded the scope of analysis through a discussion of the Schaefferian terms of values/characters.

Corresponding author
Hide All
Bayle, F. Thomas, J. C. 2008. Diabolus in Musica. Paris: Magison.
Bent, I. with Drabkin, W. 1998. Analysis. The New Grove Handbooks in Music. London: Macmillan.
Billing, B. 1992. Gåtans form – svarets gåta: tankar kring Åke Parmeruds Les objets obscurs. Nutida Musik 35(1): 2328.
Cooper, G., Meyer, L. 1960. The Rhythmic Structure of Music. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Delalande, F. 1998. Music Analysis and Reception Behaviours: SOMMEIL by Pierre Henry. Journal of New Music Research 27(1–2): 1366.
Deliège, I. 1987. Grouping Conditions in Listening to Music: An Approach to Lerdahl and Jackendoff’s Grouping Preference Rules. Music Perception 4(4): 325343.
Forte, A., Gilbert, S. 1982. Introduction to Schenkerian analysis. New York: Norton.
Greimas, A.-J. 1966. Sémantique structurale: Recherche de méthode. Paris: Larousse. Translation 1983: Structural Semantics. An Attempt at a Method: with an introduction by Ronald Schleifer, trans. Daniele McDowell, Ronald Schleifer and Alan Velie. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
Jakobson, R. 1960. Linguistics and Poetics. In T.A. Sebeok (ed.) Style in Language. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Krumhansl, C. 1996. A Perceptual Analysis of Mozart’s Piano Sonata K.282: Segmentation, Tension, and Musical Ideas. Music Perception 13(3): 401432.
Landy, L. 2007. Understanding the Art of Sound Organization. London: The MIT Press.
Lerdahl, F., Jackendoff, R. 1983. A Generative Theory of Tonal Music. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Miller, I. 1984. Husserl, Perception, and Temporal Awareness. A Bradford Book. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Nattiez, J.-J. 1975. Fondements d’une semiologie de la musique. Paris: Union Generale d’Editions.
Nielsen, F. V. 1983. Oplevelse of Musikalsk Spænding. Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag.
Nöth, W. 1990. Handbook of Semiotics. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.
Roy, S. 2003. L’analyse des musiques électroacoustiques: Modèles et propositions. Préface de Jean-Jacques Nattiez. Paris: L’Harmattan.
Salzer, F. 1962. Structural Hearing: Tonal Coherence in Music. New York: Dover.
Schaeffer, P. 1966. Traité des objets musicaux. Paris: Editions du Seuil.
Schoenberg, A. 1967. Fundamentals of Musical Composition. London: Faber and Faber Limited.
Smith, C. J. 1996. Musical Form and Fundamental Structure: An Investigation of Schenker’s Formenlehre. Music Analysis 15(2–3): 191297.
Smith, P. 2005. Expressive Forms in Brahms’s Instrumental Music: Structure and Meaning in His Werther Quartet. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Snyder, B. 2000. Music and Memory. An Introduction. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Tenney, J., Polanski, L. 1980. Temporal Gestalt Perception in Music. Journal of Music Theory 24(2) (Autumn): 205241.
Thoresen, L. 1987. An Auditive Analysis of Schubert’s Piano Sonata Op. 42. Semiotica 66(1–3): 211237.
Thoresen, L. 1988. Auditive Analysis of Musical Structures. A Summary of Analytical Terms, Graphical Signs and Definitions. Proceedings from ICEM Conference on Electroacoustic Music, No. 15. Stockholm: Royal Swedish Academy of Music, 6590.
Thoresen, L. 2007a. Form-building Transformations: An Approach to the Aural Analysis of Emergent Musical Forms. Journal of Music and Meaning 4.
Thoresen, L. 2007b. Spectromorphological Analysis of Sound-objects: An Adaptation of Pierre Schaeffer’s Typomorphology. Organised Sound 12(2): 129141.
Thoresen, L. 2009. Sound-objects, Values and Characters in Åke Parmerud’s Les objets obscurs, 3rd Section. Organised Sound 14(3): 310320.
Parmerud, Å. 1994. Les objets obscurs (1991). Invisible Music. Phono Suecia PSCD 72.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Organised Sound
  • ISSN: 1355-7718
  • EISSN: 1469-8153
  • URL: /core/journals/organised-sound
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
Type Description Title

Thorsesen supplementary material
Movie example 1: Music from Ake Parmerud, Les objets obscurs (1991), 203500

 Video (46.4 MB)
46.4 MB


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed