Thursday, August 26, 2004

What was the motive??

A motive, (also motif) is a short rhythmic or melodic idea that is so well defined that "it keeps its original identity even when it is elaborated, transformed in some way, or combined." (The New Harvard Dictionary of Music, 4th Edition). Motives appear in all music and are often most easily recognized in Baroque music. There are a few different types of motives- they can be harmonic, melodic or rhythmic, or any combination of these. The rhythmic motive may be the hardest to recognize. It is characterized by accented and unaccented articulations but rests can also have an effect. One of the most famous rhythm motives is found in the first movement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. A harmonic motive is rarely found without one of the other two.