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musical form

musical form Structural scheme that gives shape and artistic unity to a composition. The standard forms are binary, ternary, rondo, and sonata. Each consists of a number of musical sections or subsections. Binary form consists of two sections, which may be contrasted in idea, key, or tempo, but which complement each other within the musical entity. Ternary form consists of a restatement of the first section after a middle section of contrasted material; an example is the minuet and trio. In rondo form, the number of sections varies, but there is at least one restatement of the first section. Sonata form, as its name suggests, evolved with the sonata and is used most often for the first movement of a sonata or symphony. The exposition states two subjects, which are developed musically in the middle section, before being reworked in the recapitulation.

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