When I think of a music template, I often think of an orchestral template in DAW with tracks ready for recording or a scoring template in a music notation program with the staves prepared for writing notes. I never thought of a template as something used for structuring a written composition. As silly as it sounds, I never thought of song structure as a template.
It’s strange, but I never considered setting up my music notation software where the form of the piece I was composing is worked out already; the instructions above the blank bars, theme one in a major key, goes here. Theme two, in its relative minor, goes there. This idea is nothing revolutionary; I’m sure others have considered it and done it. It just never occurred to me.
In some shape or form, we use these form templates all the time, don’t we? We don’t necessarily think of them as a template, but verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, verse, chorus is a form of a template. Is this similar to other templates we use? Does it make writing music easier and keep you on track as a composer? I’ve never written a composition this way, so I don’t know, but it might, and I might start doing this.
While I’ve used a form template when teaching music theory and harmony, I’ve never used them for my published compositions. If I was creating a form template, how would I do it? How detailed could it be before all the music written using the template sounds the same? That’s the last thing I need, as most of my music sounds the same already.
If your template only indicates where the sections go in the piece, there’s still room to be creative. Your template may be detailed enough to show when and where to modulate.
One template is the sonata-allegro form template. This type of template allows you to be creative while providing direction to the form of the composition. If you research the sonata form, you can find templates that describe the sections’ exposition, development, and recapitulation—furthermore, each section details how to present each theme and in what keys. So if it works for sonatas, would it work for other forms of music? Why not. If so, could we, as composers, have templates set up, so all we need to do is fill in the blanks?
While this post was not groundbreaking, it may have been something to consider. Since most music is formulaic, having a compositional template reminding you of the composition’s form could be beneficial. Thanks for reading; I’m just a music teacher having fun; catch ya on the next one.