Approaches to the Understanding of Formal Function Polysemy in Small Structural Units and Song Forms

Formal function polysemy is a state of form, which carries characteristics of different formal types due to the dynamic relations between function and scale. The article introduces this concept in order to summarize a set of theoretical and methodological approaches to the understanding of the interaction between the small structural units and forms – the basics for the musical composition (period, sentence, simple binary and ternary forms), as well as the objective musical facts in the field. The possibility of discovering traits of two or more forms on the same scale with a corresponding syntactic and thematic organization is problematic because of the differences in existing methodological systems and consequently the different results in terms of the same object that are reached within them. There is a need to introduce a new, more flexible and adaptable to the individual specificity of forms research methodology; the main model offered is based on the analysis of the following factors: 1) functionality, 2) genre characteristics, 3) type of thematic process, 4) presence of extra-musical prerequisites (text, drama), 5) grounds in a general or regional folklore tradition – a school – an individual-style characteristic.


Keywords: small structural units and forms; period and song forms; musical analysis; formal function polysemy; cross-relations between forms and principles in music; non-conventional structures