Bar Form

The Bar Form is a medieval, German stanzaic form. Lutheran chorals and minnesingers of the 12th thru 14th centuries used the form. The Star Spangled Banner is written in Bar form.

The Bar form is:
• stanzaic, any number of octaves made up of 2 couplets followed by a quatrain. The 2 halves of the octave are known as Aufgesang and the Abgesang “after song”. (the Abgesang can use portions of an Aufgesang phrase.)
• metered, at the discretion of the poet as long as the rhythm of the lines of the first couplet is repeated by the 2nd couplet, the following quatrain has a different rhythm in each line which is not repeated within the octave. It might be clearer described in music the first 2 couplets repeat a melody, the quatrain carries a different melody.
• rhymed, ababccdd

Star Spangled Banner by Frances Scott Keyes stanza 1

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Pasted from
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

The “bar form” term is still used by songwriters today. The popular “Over
the Rainbow” is written in this form, as are all of the classic blues.

German and Austrian Poetic Forms:

Bar Form, Dinggedicht, Goliardic VerseKnittelvers, Minnesang, Nibelungen,Schuttelreim


My attempt

Nor Can I Now Whistle (Bar Form)

My cohorts often found me singing in the halls
or maybe whistling as I walked from place to place.
When taking showers notes were ringing off the walls
for happy music puts a smile upon my face.
A melody that you can sing together
Will get you through all kinds of stormy weather.
Old age has robbed my voice of any pleasant pitch
but if I keep it down nobody seems to bitch.

© Lawrencealot – November 13, 2014

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