theme and variation

Definition: A music form that was very popular during the Classical period. Theme and variation may be illustrated as A A'A'' A''' A'''', notice that each successive variation (A' A'', etc) contains certain elements of the theme (A). Compositional techniques used to create variation may be instrumental, harmonic, melodic, rhythmic, style, tonal and ornamentation.


  • "Godlberg Variations" by Johann Sebastian Bach
  • 2nd Movement of the "Surprise Symphony" by Franz Joseph Haydn
  • Format
    mla apa chicago
    Your Citation
    Estrella, Espie. "theme and variation." ThoughtCo, Jun. 11, 2014, Estrella, Espie. (2014, June 11). theme and variation. Retrieved from Estrella, Espie. "theme and variation." ThoughtCo. (accessed November 24, 2017).