Music Form and Analysis

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Musical form relates to the structure of a given piece, its themes and the relationship between each theme. There are many varieties of form used in music, both popular and classical.

Verses and Choruses[edit | edit source]

Most popular music is shaped around verses and choruses. Each verse has different words [and sometimes different melody and harmonies as well] while the chorus [generally] remains constant. Forms include VVCVCVC… [V-verse C-chorus], CVCV… CC, and variations thereof.

Binary[edit | edit source]

In binary music, there are just two different themes which appear only once[1], one after the other like this:


Ternary[edit | edit source]

Ternary music has two themes, one of which appears twice, like this:


Rondo[edit | edit source]

A rondo [rondeau] works as bit like the Verse Chorus form of popular music today. It is also called Ritornello.[2]


Canon[edit | edit source]

A canon has a repeated melody line which starts at the same pitch, where each entry is delayed by a few notes. A canon must work so that the harmonies match.

See Also[edit | edit source]

  1. Needs revising; does not consider simple, rounded, continuous, or sectional binary designs.
  2. Rewrite; Ritornello is episode-based and typically used for fugue design.