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Do composers like Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, etc... generally have some logic in motivic motion? When they sequence or use motives in "creative" ways is there some reasoning to choose the interval the motive is played at? Is it strictly choosing a chord tone that works or do they use some larger feature? e.g., playing the motive on an interval that works harmonically(a transpose the interval between the motive's original tonic and the chord it is presented on) or choosing it based on other reasons?

Beethoven's 5th is a good example. He chose to play it a M2nd down. Obviously in that case it is probably somewhat arbitrary... But it obviously effects totally different outcome if the intervals were changed IF he used that fact.

But even if not, what about the motives that follow? They are sequenced in a more complex manner. Obviously the whole piece is built off such things and the ways the tones of motives were chosen wasn't willy nilly.

closed as too broad by Carl Witthoft, Tim, Tim H, Shevliaskovic, Dom Feb 11 '16 at 0:07

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  • Do people just vote to close for fun or is there any real logic involved? – user2691 Feb 10 '16 at 17:42
  • The logic in this particular case (I'm not one of the close voters but I can see the stated reason) is that the question is "opinion based". In this exact case I think one issue with this question is we don't have a good way of knowing what those long-dead composers were thinking when they composed. Unless Beethoven wrote a letter explaining his thought process on composing his 5th symphony, it is probably impossible to answer this question definitvely. – Todd Wilcox Feb 10 '16 at 17:56
  • @ToddWilcox I'm not talking about "what they were thinking". I'm not wanting guesses. I'm asking about known facts. I.e., did they write anything down about it? Is it common knowledge at conservatories and by composers? Can it be shown directly from the score? e.g., we know a fugue has a certain formal layout, we don't have to guess about it or ask the composer what he did. It's obvious and no guessing involved. I have never seen/read anything about motivic relationships. My own analysis suggests that it is just harmonic and sequential relationships with no larger scale logic involved. – user2691 Feb 10 '16 at 22:05
  • Take it up with the close voters, of which I am not one. I will add that you discuss the logic of the compositions, and logic is a system of thought, so there is an implication that their thought processes are in question. – Todd Wilcox Feb 10 '16 at 23:34
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    Every motive is composed for a very different reason so why the exact motive would be chosen would be completely different for each. This doesn't even include how other elements effect this result like what instrument it's played in, the register, the backing harmony, dynamics, texture, and the context which is why I voted to close as too broad. – Dom Feb 11 '16 at 0:10