Variation (music)

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In music, variation is a formal technique where material is repeated in an altered form.wikipedia
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Musical form

formformsformal
In music, variation is a formal technique where material is repeated in an altered form.
If it repeats with distinct, sustained changes each time, for instance in setting, ornamentation or instrumentation, then the piece is a theme and variations.

Diabelli Variations

33 variations33 variations (Op. 120)33 Variations on a waltz by Anton Diabelli
Beethoven contributed a mighty set of 33 variations on this theme. Examples include John Bull's Salvator Mundi, Bach's Canonic Variations on "Vom Himmel hoch da komm' ich her, Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, Violin Chaconne, and (D minor solo violin suite), Corelli's La Folia Variations, Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, the Finale of Brahms's Fourth Symphony, Variations on a Theme of Haydn, Op. 56, Elgar's Enigma Variations, Franck's Variations Symphoniques, and Richard Strauss's Don Quixote.
120, commonly known as the Diabelli Variations, is a set of variations for the piano written between 1819 and 1823 by Ludwig van Beethoven on a waltz composed by Anton Diabelli.

Heterophony

heterophonicheterophonicallyfree heterophonic
(See also heterophony.)
In music, heterophony is a type of texture characterized by the simultaneous variation of a single melodic line.

Music

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In music, variation is a formal technique where material is repeated in an altered form.
Examples of common forms of Western music include the fugue, the invention, sonata-allegro, canon, strophic, theme and variations, and rondo.

Chaconne

ciacconaCiaconnaChaconni
Variation forms include ground bass, passacaglia, chaconne, and theme and variations.
A chaconne (chacona; ciaccona, ; earlier English: chacony) is a type of musical composition popular in the baroque era when it was much used as a vehicle for variation on a repeated short harmonic progression, often involving a fairly short repetitive bass-line (ground bass) which offers a compositional outline for variation, decoration, figuration and melodic invention.

Passacaglia

pasacallePassacaillepasacalles
Variation forms include ground bass, passacaglia, chaconne, and theme and variations.
The passacaglia was redefined in the late 1620s by Italian composer Girolamo Frescobaldi, who transformed it into a series of continuous variations over a bass (which itself may be varied).

Ostinato

riffguitar riffriffs
Variation forms include ground bass, passacaglia, chaconne, and theme and variations.
Strictly speaking, ostinati should have exact repetition, but in common usage, the term covers repetition with variation and development, such as the alteration of an ostinato line to fit changing harmonies or keys.

Twelve Variations on "Ah vous dirai-je, Maman"

12 Variations in C major on the French song "Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman"Variations on "Ah vous dirai-je, Maman"300e
Mozart's Twelve Variations on "Ah vous dirai-je, Maman" (1785), known in the English-speaking world as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" exemplifies a number of common variation techniques.
This piece consists of twelve variations on the French folk song "Ah! vous dirai-je, maman".

Enigma Variations

Variations on an Original Theme (Enigma)Enigma" VariationsNimrod
Examples include John Bull's Salvator Mundi, Bach's Canonic Variations on "Vom Himmel hoch da komm' ich her, Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, Violin Chaconne, and (D minor solo violin suite), Corelli's La Folia Variations, Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, the Finale of Brahms's Fourth Symphony, Variations on a Theme of Haydn, Op. 56, Elgar's Enigma Variations, Franck's Variations Symphoniques, and Richard Strauss's Don Quixote.
It is an orchestral work comprising fourteen variations on an original theme.

Variations on a Theme by Haydn

Haydn VariationsBrahms-Haydn VariationsVariations on a Theme of Haydn
Examples include John Bull's Salvator Mundi, Bach's Canonic Variations on "Vom Himmel hoch da komm' ich her, Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, Violin Chaconne, and (D minor solo violin suite), Corelli's La Folia Variations, Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, the Finale of Brahms's Fourth Symphony, Variations on a Theme of Haydn, Op. 56, Elgar's Enigma Variations, Franck's Variations Symphoniques, and Richard Strauss's Don Quixote. Johannes Brahms wrote a number of sets of variations; some of them rely on themes by older composers, for example the Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel (1861; piano), and the Variations on a Theme by Haydn (1873; orchestra).
Haydn), now also called the Saint Anthony Variations, is a work in the form of a theme and variations, composed by Johannes Brahms in the summer of 1873 at Tutzing in Bavaria.

Don Quixote (Strauss)

Don QuixoteDon QuichotteDon Quixote'', Op. 35 (Strauss)
Examples include John Bull's Salvator Mundi, Bach's Canonic Variations on "Vom Himmel hoch da komm' ich her, Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, Violin Chaconne, and (D minor solo violin suite), Corelli's La Folia Variations, Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, the Finale of Brahms's Fourth Symphony, Variations on a Theme of Haydn, Op. 56, Elgar's Enigma Variations, Franck's Variations Symphoniques, and Richard Strauss's Don Quixote.
The score is 45 minutes long and is written in theme and variations form, with the solo cello representing Don Quixote, and the solo viola, tenor tuba, and bass clarinet depicting his squire Sancho Panza.

Goldberg Variations

The Goldberg Variations14 canons on the First Eight Notes of Goldberg Variations GroundBWV 1087
Two famous variation sets from the Baroque era, both originally written for harpsichord, are George Frideric Handel's The Harmonious Blacksmith set, and Johann Sebastian Bach's Goldberg Variations, BWV 988.
The Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, is a musical composition for harpsichord by Johann Sebastian Bach, consisting of an aria and a set of 30 variations.

Berceuse (Chopin)

BerceuseBerceuse in D flat majorBerceuse in D major
Chopin's Berceuse for piano, Op.
He composed it in 1843/44 as variations in D-flat major.

Double variation

doublesdouble variation form
Joseph Haydn specialized in sets of double variations, in which two related themes, usually minor and major, are presented and then varied in alternation; outstanding examples are the slow movement of his Symphony No. 103, the Drumroll, and the Variations in F minor for piano, H XVII:6.
It is a type of theme and variations that employs two themes.

Division (music)

divisionsdivisiondivision-like
A favorite form of variations in Renaissance music was divisions, a type in which the basic rhythmic beat is successively divided into smaller and smaller values.
In music, division (also called diminution or coloration) refers to a type of ornamentation or variation common in 16th- and 17th-century music in which each note of a melodic line is "divided" into several shorter, faster-moving notes, often by a rhythmic repetition of a simple musical device such as the trill, turn or cambiata on each note in turn, or by the introduction of nonchord tones or arpeggio figures.

Luis de Narváez

Luys de NarváezLuys De NarvaezLuis de Narvaez
Possibly the earliest published example is the diferencias for vihuela by Luis de Narváez (1538).
Highly regarded during his lifetime, Narváez is known today for Los seys libros del delphín, a collection of polyphonic music for the vihuela which includes the earliest known variation sets.

Anton Diabelli

DiabelliDiabelli & Co.Diabelli, Anton
In 1819, Anton Diabelli commissioned Viennese composers to create variations on a waltz that he had composed:
In 1819, as a promotional idea, he decided to try to publish a volume of variations on a "patriotic" waltz he had penned expressly for this purpose, with one variation by every important Austrian composer living at the time, as well as several significant non-Austrians.

Arcangelo Corelli

CorelliCorelli schoolCORELLI, ARCANGELO
Examples include John Bull's Salvator Mundi, Bach's Canonic Variations on "Vom Himmel hoch da komm' ich her, Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, Violin Chaconne, and (D minor solo violin suite), Corelli's La Folia Variations, Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, the Finale of Brahms's Fourth Symphony, Variations on a Theme of Haydn, Op. 56, Elgar's Enigma Variations, Franck's Variations Symphoniques, and Richard Strauss's Don Quixote. Composed in 1700, the final movement of Arcangelo Corelli's Violin Sonata Op.

Symphonic Variations (Franck)

Symphonic VariationsVariations symphoniquesSymphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra
Examples include John Bull's Salvator Mundi, Bach's Canonic Variations on "Vom Himmel hoch da komm' ich her, Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, Violin Chaconne, and (D minor solo violin suite), Corelli's La Folia Variations, Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, the Finale of Brahms's Fourth Symphony, Variations on a Theme of Haydn, Op. 56, Elgar's Enigma Variations, Franck's Variations Symphoniques, and Richard Strauss's Don Quixote.
While there is no doubt that it demonstrates Franck's mastery of variation form, the overall structure of the Symphonic Variations has been a matter of debate.

Trout Quintet

Piano QuintetPiano Quintet in A majorTrout" Quintet
Both Schubert's Death and the Maiden Quartet and Trout Quintet take their titles from his songs used as variation movements.
The piece is known as the Trout because the fourth movement is a set of variations on Schubert's earlier Lied "Die Forelle" ("The Trout").

Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel

Handel VariationsBrahms' Handel VariationsHandel
Johannes Brahms wrote a number of sets of variations; some of them rely on themes by older composers, for example the Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel (1861; piano), and the Variations on a Theme by Haydn (1873; orchestra).
From his earliest years as a composer, the variation was a musical form of great interest to Brahms.

List of variations on a theme by another composer

Je suis Lindorvariations on a theme by another composer
A significant sub-set of the above consists of variations on a theme by another composer.
Many classical and later composers have written compositions in the form of variations on a theme by another composer.

Piano Sonata No. 11 (Mozart)

Piano Sonata No. 11Rondo alla TurcaTurkish March
In the Classical era, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote a great number of variations, such as the first movement of his Piano Sonata in A, K. 331, or the finale of his Clarinet Quintet.
Since the opening movement of this sonata is a theme and variation, Mozart defied the convention of beginning a sonata with an allegro movement in sonata form.

String Quartet No. 12 (Beethoven)

String Quartet No. 12String Quartet Op. 127Op. 127
Variation sets also occur in several of his late works, such as the slow movement of his String Quartet No. 12, Op. 127, the second movement of his final Piano Sonata No. 32, Op. 111, and the slow third movement of the Ninth Symphony, Op.125.
It consists of a set of six variations and a coda.

Piano Sonata No. 12 (Beethoven)

Piano Sonata No. 12Op. 26Piano Sonata No. 12, Op. 26
Others form single movements or parts of movements in larger works, such as first movement of the Piano Sonata No. 12, Op. 26, or the variations in the final movement of the Third Symphony (Eroica).
The structure of the sonata is unconventional in that the piece opens with a relatively slow movement in the format of theme and variations.