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
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.
Theme: 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.
Similar to a theme. A short rhythmic or melodic idea that is
defined well enough to stand alone and be recognized when
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.
Augmentation: Elongated rhythmic/melodic motive/theme
Shorter rhythmic/melodic note values in the motive/theme than
Form: 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
Exposition: 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.