I'm highly autistic and wondering if it is possible or worthwhile to apply concepts from Musical form to writing novels and stories? For example, understanding where and when to use a variation of A (A'), i.e. ABA'CA'BA
Starting this thread one last time to see if there's any interest.
An anon's post:
I've thought about this and I'm sure many other people have too. There are definitely some parallels.
Example 1: Theme & variations. In music the overall feeling with this form is a lack of movement. You stay where you are and contemplate; it's like turning something about to see it from different angles. This sort of corresponds to the episodic or slice-of-life story in literature. Nothing changes; you see the same bunch of characters being themselves in different situations.
Suppose you took Bach's Goldberg Variations and swapped the variations around a bit. It wouldn't destroy the overall work, or even change the feel of it all that much. (Bach actually wrote it with that idea in mind. He thought the guy could just pick a few variations at random and play them each evening.) Now imagine you changed the order of the chapters in Lake Woebegon Days. It wouldn't have a huge effect.
Example 2: Rondo. Rondo is a balance between novelty and repetition. ABACADAEA etc. One idea keeps getting repeated and it's contrasted with a bunch of constantly changing new ideas. You could say the literary equivalent would be where one character meets a bunch of different characters once each. This would be pretty similar to the a story like Don Quixote. [Actually DQ has two main characters who play off each other and keep meeting new side characters who only appear once each. That's more like the Double Rondo, which Beethoven liked, where basically you have a Rondo but with two repeated subjects, so A B A C A B A D A B A or something like that.]
That said, trying to echo a musical structure in a book probably won't work that well. What is important in one medium is usually less important in other medium and won't have the same emotional effect.