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