The form is one of the pillars of every art. Without knowing the form we can not understand the medium we encounter with.
Though you might not be aware of it, it is the form that gives you most of the pleasure of listening to music or watching a movie. Not even in the arts, but in sports, we need to know the form in order to enjoy a sports match.
what is the form?
Imagine not knowing how football (soccer) works. Then all you see is some people kicking a ball and trying no to touch it. But when you know the form of football, you can understand the game and then you can enjoy the match.
The same thing happens in art. When you start watching a thriller movie, you have some expectations from the movie, those expectations define the form of that movie genre.
Popular music's form:
In music, we have several forms. One of the most popular ones that are being used in popular music today is a two-part form. Not only in Pop music but also in Rock, Electronic and even Hip-Hop music you can see lots of tracks using this form.
The main structure of this form contains a main theme or melody that usually is being sung by the singer or played by the main solo instrument. After that, the same melody repeats immediately just with some slight alternations. In vocal music, usually, the melody does not change and only the lyric changes in the second part.
After the repetition, we have a new part. This part contains a new melody that usually is a variation of the first (main) theme. In most of the vocal music, this part belongs to a solo instrument. In Rock music, we almost always have a solo from Electric Guitar in this part.
In the end, we go back to the first part and finish the music. So the overall form can be written like this:
Of course in every piece of music, there are many alternations. For example, the music might start with an intro, or there might be a coda or outro at the end, such as the famous Electric Guitar duo at the end of “Hotel California” by “The Eagles”.
But apart from all the alternations that each artist does to the form, the main structure is almost the same. Unless they don’t use this form, at all and try to represent their music in another form.
Detecting the form:
You may not be able to write out the structure of every song, but the form of it is in your subconscious and that’s why you can enjoy listening to music.
If you start listening to a whole new genre, at first you might not be able to enjoy that genre, and that’s because you are not still familiar with the form of that genre. For example, if you are into Pop music, at first classical music won’t be enjoyable for you. Except for some shorter pieces or some contemporary famous pieces. And you can enjoy them because most probably their form is so similar or even identical to Pop music.
After a while listening to a specific genre, you will adapt its structure in your mind and then you will be able to enjoy listening to this kind of music.