11:01am PDT // I have almost never been able to begin a composition with a clear idea of the form. For me, form is determined by the content, the ideas. Form is very important (I usually work with it half-way into a composition) but it is a frame for the painting. A frame doesn’t need to be rectangular, it could be oval or triangular, but the picture determines the shape. I say this as I am finishing the 3rd movement of my 2nd string quartet, a passacaglia. However, this is not so much a structure as it is a process. Basically, the basso ostinato (usually a musical line lasting 4 to 8 bars) continues over and over to the end of the work. How I cast this ostinato, however, is purely my decision and the variations are often separated into sections. It is these sections that mold the form of the work, not the strict(sometimes!) adherence to the ostinato. I am curious why some composers begin with form, after all, who leaves a concert humming ABACA?