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Writing a sentence is simple:

  • Basic idea (4 bars) take your 2-bar Basic Idea from Stage One and adapt it to fit a new chord (see below for a list of chord progressions that work well for the first four bars)
  • Fragmentation (2 bars) now choose a fragment from your basic idea and create a 1+1 bar sequence
  • Cadence (2 bars) finish off by linking into an imperfect or perfect cadence idea from Stage Two

Look at how Mozart uses this very simple and repetitive phrase structure to good effect in this extract from the first movement of his Sonata KV309 in C major. The final Cadence 2-bar segment starts with the same semiquaver idea as the Fragmentation, continuing the sequence, but there is no need for it to be related in this way.

Sentence MozartKV309

Chord progressions that work well for the first four bars:

Bars 1-2 Bars 3-4
I V
I IV
I – V V – I
I – ii V – I
I – IV V – I

I (V – I)

vi (iii – vi)
I (V – I) ii (vi – ii)

When you are writing the sequence, try writing the first bar initially and then sequence it and see what chords fit.

Chord progressions that work well in bars 5-6 (fragmentation):

Bar 5 Bars 6
I V
I vii6 [leads nicely into I6 in bar 7]
I IV [leads nicely into I or ii in bar 7]
vi ii6 [leads nicely into I6/4 in bar 7]

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