Show Summary Details

Page of
PRINTED FROM Oxford Music Online. © Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single article in Oxford Music Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

Variationslocked

  • Elaine Sisman

Extract

A form founded on repetition, and as such an outgrowth of a fundamental musical and rhetorical principle, in which a discrete theme is repeated several or many times with various modifications. Identifiable as a formal type from the 16th century, it nonetheless reflects a technique and process important in nearly all music, including music in which the improvised repetition of the strophes of song or dance forms is a part. A theme for variations, rarely shorter than eight or longer than 32 bars, may be a melody, a bass line, a harmonic progression or a complex of such elements. When the theme is brief enough to serve as an ostinato, its repetitions generate a continuously unfolding structure with new figurations and textures at each statement of the theme. When the theme is a self-contained sectional structure, such as a small two-reprise form, its repetitions result in a strophic form in which some elements of the theme change and others remain the same; this is known as ‘theme and variations’. If instead of successive repetitions the variations recur singly or in groups after intervening material (e.g. episodes, another theme and its own variations, a ...

You do not currently have access to this article

Login

Please login to access the full content.

Subscribe

Please subscribe to access the full content.

Vienna, Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde
Die Musikforschung
Paris, Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
Music & Letters
Musical Quarterly
Studien zur Musikwissenschaft
Schweizerische Musikzeitung/Revue musicale suisse
Acta musicologica
Early Music
Journal of Musicology
Music Analysis
Bach-Jahrbuch
Revue belge de musicologie
Beethoven-Jahrbuch
Journal of the Royal Musical Association
Studia musicologica Academiae scientiarum hungaricae
Handwörterbuch der musikalischen Terminologie
Rassegna musicale
Musica disciplina
Österreichische Musikzeitschrift
Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart
E.L. Gerber: Neues historisch-biographisches Lexikon der Tonkünstler
Archiv für Musikwissenschaft
Fontes artis musicae
Current Musicology
Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart
19th Century Music
Archiv für Musikforschung
Perspectives of New Music
The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
Journal of Music Theory
London, British Library
Music Review
Journal of the American Musicological Society
Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Dipartimento Musica