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Questions on the book Fundamentals of Musical Composition by Arnold Schoenberg


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I am reading this book and I need help to understand this line on page 4 (Construction of themes):

"Nearly always the phrase crosses the metrical subdivisions, rather than filling the measures completely."

Are metrical subdivisions each beat of a measure? Say a quarter note in a 4/4 meter?

I am trying to figure out what he means by contrasting these 2 ideas.

Thanks!

 

 

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