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Classical Form

A Theory of Formal Functions for the Instrumental Music of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven

by William E. Caplin

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list price: $76.95
also available: Hardcover
category: Music
published: 2000

Building on ideas first advanced by Arnold Schoenberg and later developed by Erwin Ratz, this book introduces a new theory of form for instrumental music in the classical style. The theory provides a broad set of principles and a comprehensive methodology for the analysis of classical form, from individual ideas, phrases, and themes to the large-scale organization of complete movements. It emphasizes the notion of formal function, that is, the specific role a given formal unit plays in the structural organization of a classical work.

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Contributor notes

William E. Caplin is at McGill University.

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Editorial Reviews

"...a compilation of intriguing examples illustrating classical design and function, an up-to-date bibliographical guide, and a source of fresh insight into the accomplishments of the classical masters. Caplin's approach, buttressed by methodological rigor and theoretical detail, makes a persuasive case for the revival of Formenlehre as a pedagogical tool and analytical discipline."--Music Theory Online

"Excellent text." --Dr. Price Foster, University of Louisville

"Caplin draws his Beethoven examples from all genres...the fortepiano sonatas are particularly well-represented."--The Beethoven Journal

"His book is an important and impressive statement that no theorist or musicologist can afford to ignore."--Music Theory Spectrum

"This ambitious book offers nothing less than a new theory of form for the music of the Classical period....In its combination of scholarship, musicality and sheer common sense, Caplan's Classical Form is a major achievement by any standards....it should be read by anybody who teaches, studies or writes about this music."--Music and Letters

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