Binary form is a musical form in 2 related sections, both of which are usually repeated. Binary is also a structure used to choreograph dance. In music this is usually performed as A-A-B-B.
Binary form was popular during the Baroque period, often used to structure movements of keyboard sonatas. It was also used for short, one-movement works. Around the middle of the 18th century, the form largely fell from use as the principal design of entire movements as sonata form and organic development gained prominence. When it is found in later works, it usually takes the form of the theme in a set of variations, or the Minuet, Scherzo, or Trio sections of a "minuet and trio" or "scherzo and trio" movement in a sonata, symphony, etc. Many larger forms incorporate binary structures, and many more complicated forms (such as the 18th-century sonata form) share certain characteristics with binary form.
A typical example of a piece in binary form has two large sections of roughly equal duration. The first will begin in a certain key, which will often, (but not always), modulate to a closely related key. Pieces in a major key will usually modulate to the dominant, (the fifth scale degree above the tonic). Pieces in a minor key will generally modulate to the relative major key, (the key of the third scale degree above the minor tonic), or to the dominant minor. A piece in minor may also stay in the original key at the end of the first section, closing with an imperfect cadence.
The second section of the piece begins in the newly established key, where it remains for an indefinite period of time. After some harmonic activity, the piece will eventually modulate back to its original key before ending.
More often than not, especially in 18th-century compositions, the A and B sections are separated by double bars with repeat signs, meaning both sections were to be repeated.
Binary form is usually characterized as having the form AB, though since both sections repeat, a more accurate description would be AABB. Others, however, prefer to use the label AA′. This second designation points to the fact that there is no great change in character between the two sections. The rhythms and melodic material used will generally be closely related in each section, and if the piece is written for a musical ensemble, the instrumentation will generally be the same. This is in contrast to the use of verse-chorus form in popular music—the contrast between the two sections is primarily one of the keys used.
A piece in binary form can be further classified according to a number of characteristics:
Occasionally, the B section will end with a "return" of the opening material from the A section. This is referred to as rounded binary, and is labeled as ABA′. In rounded binary, the beginning of the B section is sometimes referred to as the "bridge", and will usually conclude with a half cadence in the original key. Rounded binary is not to be confused with ternary form, also labeled ABA—the difference being that, in ternary form, the B section contrasts completely with the A material as in, for example, a minuet and trio. Another important difference between the rounded and ternary form is that in rounded binary, when the "A" section returns, it will typically contain only half of the full "A" section, whereas ternary form will end with the full "A" section.
Sometimes, as in the keyboard sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti, the return of the A theme may include much of the original A section in the tonic key, so much so that some of his sonatas can be regarded as precursors of sonata form.
Rounded binary form is sometimes referred to as small ternary form.
Rounded binary or minuet form:
A :||: B A or A' I(->V) :||: V(or other closely related) I
If the B section lacks such a return of the opening A material, the piece is said to be in simple binary.
A->B :||: A->B I->V :||: V->I
A' A" I->V I->I
Many examples of rounded binary are found among the church sonatas of Vivaldi including his Sonata No. 1 for Cello and Continuo, First Movement, while certain Baroque composers such as Bach and Handel used the form rarely.
. Note: the example here is in minor mode rather than the more historically accurate Dorian mode.
If the A section ends with an Authentic (or Perfect) cadence in the original tonic key of the piece, the design is referred to as a sectional binary. This refers to the fact that the piece is in different tonal sections, each beginning in their own respective keys.
If the A section ends with any other kind of cadence, the design is referred to as a continuous binary. This refers to the fact that the B section will "continue on" with the new key established by the cadence at the end of A.
If the A and B sections are roughly equal in length, the design is referred to as symmetrical.
If the A and B sections are of unequal length, the design is referred to as asymmetrical. In such cases, the B section is usually substantially longer than the A section.
The asymmetrical binary form becomes more common than the symmetrical type from about the time of Beethoven, and is almost routine in the main sections of Minuet and Trio or Scherzo and Trio movements in works from this period. In such cases, occasionally only the first section of the binary structure is marked to be repeated.
Although most of Chopin's nocturnes are in an overall ternary form, quite often the individual sections (either the A, the B, or both) are in binary form, most often of the asymmetrical variety. If a section of this binary structure is repeated, in this case it is written out again in full, usually considerably varied, rather than enclosed between repeat signs.
Balanced binary is when the end of the first section and the end of the second section have analogous material and are organized in a parallel way.
A minuet is a social dance of French origin for two people, usually in 3
4 time. The word was adapted from Italian minuetto and French menuet, possibly from the French menu meaning slender, small, referring to the very small steps, or from the early 17th-century popular group dances called branle à mener or amener.
Sonata form is a musical structure consisting of three main sections: an exposition, a development, and a recapitulation. It has been used widely since the middle of the 18th century.
A scherzo, in western classical music, is a short composition – sometimes a movement from a larger work such as a symphony or a sonata. The precise definition has varied over the years, but scherzo often refers to a movement that replaces the minuet as the third movement in a four-movement work, such as a symphony, sonata, or string quartet. The term can also refer to a fast-moving humorous composition that may or may not be part of a larger work.
Ternary form, sometimes called song form, is a three-part musical form consisting of an opening section (A), a following section (B) and then a repetition of the first section (A). It is usually schematized as A–B–A. Prominent examples include the da capo aria "The trumpet shall sound" from Handel's Messiah, Chopin's Prelude in D-Flat Major "Raindrop", and the opening chorus of Bach's St John Passion.
In music, form refers to the structure of a musical composition or performance. In his book, Worlds of Music, Jeff Todd Titon suggests that a number of organizational elements may determine the formal structure of a piece of music, such as "the arrangement of musical units of rhythm, melody, and/or harmony that show repetition or variation, the arrangement of the instruments, or the way a symphonic piece is orchestrated", among other factors.
Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 29 in B♭ major, Op. 106 is a piano sonata that is widely viewed as one of the most important works of the composer's third period and among the greatest piano sonatas of all time. Completed in 1818, it is often considered to be Beethoven's most technically challenging piano composition and one of the most demanding solo works in the classical piano repertoire. The first documented public performance was in 1836 by Franz Liszt in the Salle Erard in Paris.
Sonata rondo form is a musical form often used during the Classical music era. As the name implies, it is a blend of sonata form and rondo form.
Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 3 in C major, Op. 2, No. 3, is a sonata written for solo piano, composed in 1795. It is dedicated to Joseph Haydn and is often referred to as Beethoven's first virtuosic piano sonata. The three Op. 2 sonatas all contain four movements each, an unusual length which seems to show that Beethoven was aspiring towards composing a symphony. It is both the weightiest and longest of the three Op. 2 sonatas, lasting over 25 minutes, presenting many difficulties, including difficult trills, awkward hand movements, and forearm rotation. It is Beethoven's second longest piano sonata in his early period, only to Beethoven's Grand Sonata in E♭ Major, Op. 7, published a year later.
The Piano Sonata No. 18 in E♭ major, Op. 31, No. 3, is an 1802 sonata for solo piano by Ludwig van Beethoven. A third party gave the piece the nickname "The Hunt" due to one of its themes' resemblance to a horn call. A playful jocularity is maintained throughout the piece, but as in many of Beethoven's early works, the jocular style can be heard as a facade, concealing profound ideas and depths of emotion.
The Piano Sonata No. 13 in B-flat major, K. 333 / 315c, was composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Linz at the end of 1783.
Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 2, No. 1, was written in 1795 and dedicated to Joseph Haydn.
Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 22 in F major, Op. 54, was written in 1804. It is contemporary to the first sketches of the Symphony No. 5 in C Minor. It is one of Beethoven's lesser known sonatas, overshadowed by its widely known neighbours, the Waldstein and the Appassionata.
The Piano Sonata in A minor D.845 (Op.42) by Franz Schubert is a sonata for solo piano. Composed in May 1825 and entitled Premiere Grande Sonata, it is the first of three sonatas published during the composer's lifetime, the others being D.850 and D.894. Conceived as a set, these works were composed during what was reportedly a period of relatively good health and spirits for Schubert, and are praised for their quality and ambition. This first sonata in particular marks a significant step toward the composer’s mature piano sonata style; the format and several characteristic stylistic elements continue through the last.
Franz Schubert's last three piano sonatas, D 958, 959 and 960, are the composer's last major compositions for solo piano. They were written during the last months of his life, between the spring and autumn of 1828, but were not published until about ten years after his death, in 1838–39. Like the rest of Schubert's piano sonatas, they were mostly neglected in the 19th century. By the late 20th century, however, public and critical opinion had changed, and these sonatas are now considered among the most important of the composer's mature masterpieces. They are part of the core piano repertoire, appearing regularly on concert programs and recordings.
The Symphony No. 21 in A major, Hoboken I/21, was composed by Joseph Haydn around the year 1764. The symphony’s movements have unusual structures that make their form hard to identify. The parts that pertain to sonata form are often hard to recognize immediately and are often identified “only in retrospect.”
Sonata Theory is an approach to the description of sonata form in terms of individual works' treatment of generic expectations. For example, it is normative for the secondary theme of a minor-mode sonata to be in either the key of III or v. If a composer chooses to break this norm in a given piece, that is a deviation that requires analytical and interpretive explanation. The essentials of the theory are presented by its developers, James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy, in the book Elements of Sonata Theory, which won the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award in 2008. Although the theory is particularly designed to treat late-eighteenth-century works such as those by Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven, many of its principles are applicable to works in sonata form from later centuries.
The Piano Quartet No. 3 in C minor, Op. 60, completed by Johannes Brahms in 1875, is scored for piano, violin, viola and cello. It is sometimes called the Werther Quartet after Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther.
The Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25, was composed by Johannes Brahms between 1856 and 1861. It was premiered in 1861 in Hamburg, with Clara Schumann at the piano. It was also played in Vienna on 16 November 1862, with Brahms himself at the piano supported by members of the Hellmesberger Quartet. Like most piano quartets, it is scored for piano, violin, viola and cello.
Ludwig van Beethoven's Minuet in G major, WoO 10, No. 2 is a composition originally written for orchestra, but was lost and only an arrangement for piano could be found. It has become very popular.
In music, the dominant is the fifth scale degree of the diatonic scale. It is called the dominant because it is next in importance to the first scale degree, the tonic. In the movable do solfège system, the dominant note is sung as "So(l)".