Musical argument

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A musical argument is a means of creating tension through the relation of expressive content and musical form:

In music, tension is the anticipation music creates in a listener's mind for relaxation or release. For example, tension may be produced through reiteration, increase in dynamic level, gradual motion to a higher or lower pitch, or (partial) syncopations between consonance and dissonance.

Emotional expressions in psychology are those expressions in people while talking observably verbal and nonverbal behaviors are that communicate an internal emotional or affective state. Examples of emotional expression are facial movements such as smiling or scowling, or behaviors like crying or laughing or angry or sad or happy or thankful. Emotional expressions can occur with or without self-awareness. Presumably, individuals have conscious control of their emotional expressions; however, they need not have conscious awareness of their emotional or affective state in order to express emotion.
Over the last 200 years, researchers have proposed different and often competing models explaining emotion and emotional expression, going all the way back to Charles Darwin. However, all theorists in emotion agree that all normal, functioning humans experience and express emotions with their voices, faces, and bodies. The expression of romantic feelings are shaped by cultural and social factors.

Musical form Structure or plan of a piece of music

In music, Form refers to the structure of a musical composition or performance. In "Worlds of Music", Jeff Todd Titon suggests that a number of organizational elements may determine the formal structure of a piece of music, such as "the arrangement of musical units of rhythm, melody, and or/ harmony that show repetition or variation, the arrangement of the instruments, or the way a symphonic piece is orchestrated", among other factors.


Traditional dialectal [lower-alpha 1]

music is representational: the musical form relates to an expressive content and is a means of creating a growing tension; this is what is usually called the musical argument.

Representation (arts) art technique

Representation is the use of signs that stand in for and take the place of something else. It is through representation that people organize the world and reality through the act of naming its elements. Signs are arranged in order to form semantic constructions and express relations.

Wim Mertens (1999) [1]

Experimental musics may use process or indeterminacy rather than argument. [2]

Process music

Process music is music that arises from a process. It may make that process audible to the listener, or the process may be concealed.

Indeterminacy is a composing approach in which some aspects of a musical work are left open to chance or to the interpreter's free choice. John Cage, a pioneer of indeterminacy, defined it as "the ability of a piece to be performed in substantially different ways".

The musical argument may be characterized as the primary flow and current idea being presented in a piece:

The very definition of musical argument is something that keeps going, and you uncover new details and new combinations. A musical argument is not the same as a verbal argument. A verbal argument implies that there's [ sic ] two sides; a musical argument makes the two sides one thing, like counterpoint. A fugue is like that; a double fugue, at least, takes two different ideas and shows you how they relate, and it shows you how they're the same thing.
Phil Lesh (1982) [3]

Thus one may hear of a musical argument being interrupted, extended, or repeated.[ original research? ]

Repetition is important in music, where sounds or sequences are often repeated. It may be called restatement, such as the restatement of a theme. While it plays a role in all music, with noise and musical tones lying along a spectrum from irregular to periodic sounds,(Moravcsik, 114)(Rajagopal, ) it is especially prominent in specific styles.

See also


  1. The purpose of the dialectic method of reasoning is resolution of disagreement through rational discussion between opposing viewpoints.


  1. Mertens, Wim (1999). American Minimal Music: La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, reprinted edition (London: Kahn & Averill), p.88. ISBN   1871082005. Quoted in LaBelle, Brandon (2006). Background Noise (London and New York: Continuum), p.7. ISBN   9780826418449.
  2. LaBelle (2006), p.7.
  3. Gans, David (2002). Conversations With The Dead, p.166. ISBN   9780306810992.

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