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Section 34.2 Determining Row Forms

To determine a row form’s permutation and transposition, examine the intervallic composition of each row form. In the example below, each row statement is based on the prime form of the row in the previous sections.

Let’s examine the starting intervals of each row form.

In examining the first few notes in the upper staff in the short musical excerpt below, we see an ascending minor 3rd followed by a descending major 2nd. The only row form to start with these intervals is the retrograde. To determine the transposition number, we look at the last note (the 12th note) in the first measure in the upper staff (A♭), which gives us the transposition level (pitch integer 8), meaning this is R\(\text{}_{8}\). The second measure in the upper staff begins with a minor 3rd followed by an ascending major 2nd, making this a retrograde inversion. The 12th note in this measure is an E (pitch integer 4), making this RI\(\text{}_{4}\). In the first measure of the lower staff, we find a descending minor 2nd followed by a descending perfect 4th, making this I\(\text{}_{11}\). Finally, the second measure in the lower staff begins on C♯ with an ascending minor 2nd followed by an ascending perfect 4th, making this P\(\text{}_{1}\).

The row forms are labeled in the example below.