An elision is the overlapping of two phrases that function as the ending of one phrase and the simultaneous beginning of the next. I tend to show phrase elision with two arcs that overlap like this:
Elision of phrases
Phrase elision can either happen within a formal section or it may coincide with a formal elision. If there is an elision at the formal level, then there is also an elision at the phrase level.
- Overlapping Singers:
- Between two phrases within a formal section:
- Elision at the end of the form proper that overlaps with the piece's suffix or coda:
- Chopin, Etude in A minor, Op. 10, No. 2 The exact moment of the elision is 1:08. Listen for the change of direction in the melody at that point from descending to ascending.
- Chopin, Etude in A minor, Op. 25, No. 11 The exact moment of the elision is 3:12. Listen for the descending chromatic melody and the tonic pedal that coincide with the start of the elision.
- J. S. Bach, Prelude in C major, m. 32 Listen for the resolution of the long dominant pedal (G in the bass from mm. 24-31) at m. 32. Notice that this moment also contains a harmonic elision where the G7 chord resolves to C7 (or V7/IV) in m. 32.
- Between the end the primary theme and the transition in a sonata form:
- Between the end the bridge and start of the post-chorus in a verse/chorus song:
- Kiesza, "Dearly Beloved" The bridge ends with the text "drift away in the empty truth." Listen how the word "truth" coincides with the downbeat of post-chorus music at 2:07.
Elision of Subphrases
Subphrases can also elide in the middle of a phrase. This is particularly common in suffixes but of course it's not limited to them. I tend to show subphrase elision with brackets like this:
- Subphrase elision in a suffix:
- Beethoven, piano sonata in C minor, Op. 13, 3rd, m. 14 The uncharacteristically lively suffix has a subphrase elision in m. 14. Note that the quarter note in the melody is the end of previous subphrase and start of the next subphrase just like phrase-level elision just before it in m. 12. I've marked the elision in m. 16 as a subphrase elision but I think it could be heard as a phrase elision as well.