What are two examples of ternary form in music?


Two examples of ternary form in music are Frederic Chopin's "Prelude, Op. 28, No. 15" in D-flat major, colloquially referred to as the "Raindrop" prelude, and Robert Schumann's "Folk Song, Op. 68, No. 9" in D minor. Ternary form is a musical form in three sections that follows an "A-B-A" pattern, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

In this definition, "A-B-A" pattern means the first and third sections of a piece of music match one another, while the middle section is different. In many cases, the two A sections of a piece in ternary form are completely identical, but there is some variation in notes or chords. For example, according to Princeton University, the third section often features more ornamentation, or musical flourishes, than the first. In some cases, the two A sections may share only a key motif. For example, in Chopin's "Prelude, Op. 28, No. 15" in D-flat major, the two A sections share the same motif, but the last section is much shorter, equivalent to a short reprise and conclusion.

The middle section of a piece in ternary form can provide contrast in many ways. It is sometimes in a different key from the A section, although usually a related one. Most commonly, the B section is in a key one fifth away from the A section; for example, a piece with an A section in C major might have its middle section in G major or F major. The middle section also is frequently the relative major or minor key of the original. A piece in C major, then, could have a B section in A minor, the minor key that shares a key signature with C major; that is, its scale shares the same sharps and flats.

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