Varying your Variable Variations

December 5, 2015 at 10:00 am

Today we’re going to have a very serious lesson in music. So sit down and open your notebooks and prepare to learn about something very deep and complex and difficult. Now, you may not understand it at first, but that’s to be expected – I, who am educated, and have read books with many polysyllablic words in them, can help you.

I’m ready. Bring it on.

Today’s musical lesson is about the form known as Theme and Variation. First, the composer presents a musical theme. Then, the composer varies the theme. These are called variations.

that’s it?

Yes, that’s all.

… anything else?

Nope. A composer will vary the theme in any way s/he pleases. Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it’s not. If you like, you can analyze the ways the theme is varied, or you can just sit back and enjoy the music for what it is.

… class dismissed?

No, not yet. First, listen to Johannes Brahms’ Variations on a Theme by Haydn.