GCSE Music Structures

Definitions for key themes and techniques used in pieces in Area of Study 1.


  • Created by: Chloe
  • Created on: 24-04-11 10:09

Key terms and definition for structures

Binary - 2 sections (A and B) each section is repeated and section B is different to section A - AABB

Ternary - 3 sections (A and B) each section is repeated and Section B contrasts with section A, usually the second A is variated. Section A is usually in the home key and usually ends with a perfect cadence - AABBAA

Rondo - means going around and can have any number of sections, the main idea (section A) is repeated after each contrasting section (B, C, D etc). section A is the refrain and contrasting sections are episodes - ABACADA

Sonata Form - Has 3 sections, starts with the exposition which has 2 contrasting themes, then the development where the themes are variated a lot and finally the recapiyulation comes last where the themes come back and ornaments are sometimes added.

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Binary - 'Minuet'

Ternary - Chopin 'No.15 in Db major' and Steve Reich is loosely ternary but section B is distinguished by texture.

Rondo - Schoenberg 'Peripetie' (loosely rondo)

Sonata - Mozart '1st movement from Symphony No.40 in G minor'

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More structures..

Solo character song - song of feeling, sung in musicals

Duet - solo character song with 2 people, often sung in musicals

Action song - plot description, sung in muscials

Chorus number - whole cast song, sung in musicals

Twelve bar structure - used in blues and follows the pattern of chords, I, I, I, I, IV, IV, I, I, V, IV, I, I. This pattern is repeated throught the song and is sometimes varied.

Verse-chorus structure usually in popular songs and it consists of verse, pre-chorus, chorus, verse, pre-chorus, chorus, middle-eight and finally chorus.

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Solo character song - Bernstein 'Something's coming'

Duet - 'Timeless to me' (Hairspray)

Action song - 'Officer Krupke' (West Side Story)

Chrous number - 'We're all in this together' (High School Musical)

Twelve bar structure - Miles Davis 'All Blues' (in G with a slight variation)

Verse-chorus structure - Jeff Buckley 'Grace'

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