Modular Form in Music and Principles of Its Analysis


A so-called modular form, which intends a random number of parts, movements or their repetitions, as well as a random order of their succession, emerged in music during the second half of the 20th century on the basis of aleatory. A modular-formed piece may include both all and any of its parts or movements written in the score; besides, they may be either played once or repeated any number of times. Therefore, the logic of musical development in such a piece becomes unpredictable, and it is the performer who makes it established. The article describes modular form as exemplified by Earl Brown’s, John Cage’s, Morton Feldman’s, Karlheinz Stockhausen’s, Christian Wolff’s and other composers’ oeuvres.



Aleatory, chance, indeterminacy, mobile form, variable form, modular form, Earl Brown, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Christian Wolff.