Classical Music Theme and Variations Term Paper

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Classical Music: Theme and Variations

Themes and variation in music is a technique in which repetition of tunes is being done but with the inclusion of several changes in tune or beat during the repetition. The purpose of which is to create shape to a musical piece despite of the fact that sets of tunes are being repeated. An online source has the following concept of a theme and variation.

Theme and variations form is the simplest. At the beginning of a movement, the theme is clearly stated. Each section thereafter in the movement is a variation on the theme. The variations may be as simple as a change in key or accompaniment, or a complicated restatement of the theme which may not be recognizable as the original theme. There may be any number of variations on the theme. The end of the movement will have a coda, an extended conclusion to the movement."

History of Themes and Variations

The history of themes and variations can be mostly found in the development and growth of the Classical Music where simple sets are changed into elaborate sets to develop a shape in the music.

The Renaissance period is among the era where the classical music was given with different styles through themes and variations. The trend then was to change and revise popular music to slightly different tune to form variations. Following are some of the variations in this period.

Divisions

One of the most favorite types of variation in the Renaissance music was divisions wherein the rhythmic beat transforms from a slow one into faster ones.

Ground

ThinkQuest online describes this variation as follows.

A which used short themes of four to eight measures in the bass and had a changing counterpoint played above it"

Cantus Firmus

In this variation, a single melody is repeatedly used. Every repetition is accompanied by differing counterpoints and voice (ThinkQuest).

English Hexachord

Most virginal music used this variation in which the theme is the first six notes of a scale (ThinkQuest).

The Baroque Era, on the other hand, similarly has its share of theme and variations in the form of instrumental music where keyboard instruments are the main source of the variations. Following are the types of variations in this era.

Ground

This variation was used in England in which the theme in the bass line is repeated and the counterpoint is continuously changing (ThinkQuest).

Cantus Firmus

This variation is used in Germany. ThinkQuest… [END OF PREVIEW]

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