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The Masculine and the Feminine
Musical Motif

The Two Most Popular Categories of Musical Motifs

The two most popular main categories of motifs in our known music history are those of the masculine and the feminine motif.

They find their perfection in the first movement of the symphony –
in the art of the sonata.

This first movement, which is always in the form of the sonata, represents the dramatic and playful confrontation of masculine and feminine qualities – the path of mutual human support on the road to happiness.

The World of the Masculine Musical Motif

In general, the masculine theme – ideally representing masculine qualities of the human character – is rather harsh, rhythmically prominent, creatively active, and striving for change.

The Creative and the Destructive Principle

Thus, the masculine theme embodies not only the creative, constructive principle but also the dissolving, destructive principle.

The World of the Feminine Musical Motif

Its natural counterpart, the feminine theme, is tender, charming and concerned with upholding the existing order.

It comforts the masculine theme, which strives for change, and it creates a balancing effect.

The Sustaining Principle

Embodying the sustaining principle the feminine theme smoothens the waves of the occasionally rough-edged masculine creativity and thus maintains the natural flow of the music creation.

Diversity of the Worlds of Musical Motifs

However, the categories of the masculine and the feminine motif are only a part of the world of motifs and do not even represent its highest values.

Just as there are principles superior to the masculine and the feminine element, there are also musical motifs which stand above the masculine and the feminine musical motif.

The Musical Motifs of the Ages

In different times – in different cultural eras and on different levels of cultural evolution – the music creators emphasize the musical motifs which they consider to be the most meaningful for their respective time.