Helpful Definitions        

Classical Period: A time period characterized by a new style of composition following the Baroque. The basic components of the new style were homophonic texture (chordal) and a simpler, more "natural" melody.

Texture: The pattern of sound created by the elments of a work. For example, a work may have several melodic lines or consist mostly of chords and is said to be contrapuntal or chordal with respect to its texture.

A musical idea, usually a melody, that forms the basis or starting point for a composition or a major section of one. Often refers to an entirely self-contained melody or short piece.

Motive: Similar to a theme. A short rhythmic or melodic idea that is defined well enough to stand alone and be recognized when elaborated upon.

Time Signature: The sign placed at the beginning of a composition to indicate its meter. Defines the number of beats in a measure. Usually takes the form of a fraction.

Elongated rhythmic/melodic motive/theme than originally.

Diminuition: Shorter rhythmic/melodic note values in the motive/theme than originally.

Features that characterize and help define the structure and style of a piece

Binary Form: A movement or piece in two parts, each usually repeated. The two parts are often very similar but it is not required.

Sonata Form:
The most characteristic movement form in music from the Classical period to the 20th century. It refers to the structure of an individual movement from a multi-movement work. Sonata form also ocurrs, not only in sonatas, but also in many other types of orchestral and chamber music. The divisions of sonata form are usually labeled as follows: Exposition, Development, and Recapitulation.

Theme is stated
Theme is changed and intensified.
Restatement of theme followed by  conclusion.

States the primary theme(s) and key of a selection and then moves to a new key and may state additional theme(s). A transition then begins to the Development.

Development: This section is seen as the climax or high point of sonata form. It usually states the primary theme in a new key and is characterized by an intensive treatment of theme. The theme may be varied, expanded, compressed, and fragmented among other things. It may also simply be stated in the new key. This material is then transitioned to the next segment, the Recapitulation.

Recapitulation: Restates the original material. This may be done EXACTLY as before or it may involve a new key or alterations to the theme. Secondary themes may then be restated as the closing material, or entirely new composition material may be used.

Theme and Variation: A theme and variation piece may also roughly follow the schematic of another form but is characterized by two specific things. A primary theme, which is stated at the beginning and variations. The theme is manipulated or varied throughout the piece. These variations comprise the rest of the composition.

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The New Harvard Dictionary of Music. Ed. Don Randel. rev.2nd ed. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1986.