Variations |
Music Terms

Variations |

Dictionary categories
terms and concepts

from lat. variatio – change, variety

A musical form in which a theme (sometimes two or more themes) is presented repeatedly with changes in texture, mode, tonality, harmony, the ratio of contrapuntal voices, timbre (instrumentation), etc. In each V., not only one component (for example, ., texture, harmony, etc.), but also a number of components in the aggregate. Following one after another, V. form a variational cycle, but in a broader form they can be interspersed with c.-l. other thematic. material, then the so-called. dispersed variational cycle. In both cases, the unity of the cycle is determined by the commonality of thematics arising from a single art. design, and a complete line of muses. development, dictating the use in each V. of certain methods of variation and providing a logical. the connection of the whole. V. can be as an independent product. (Tema con variazioni – theme with V.), and part of any other major instr. or wok. forms (operas, oratorios, cantatas).

V.’s form has nar. origin. Its origins go back to those samples of folk song and instr. music, where the melody changed with couplet repetitions. Particularly conducive to the formation of V. chorus. song, in which, with the identity or similarity of the main. melody, there are constant changes in the other voices of the choral texture. Such forms of variation are characteristic of developed polygols. cultures – Russian, cargo, and many others. etc. In the area of ​​nar. instr. music variation manifested itself in paired bunks. dances, which later became the basis of dances. suites. Although the variation in Nar. music often arises improvisationally, this does not interfere with the formation of variations. cycles.

In prof. Western European music culture variant. the technique began to take shape among composers who wrote in contrapuntal. strict style. Cantus firmus was accompanied by polyphonic. voices that borrowed his intonations, but presented them in a varied form – in a decrease, increase, conversion, with a changed rhythmic. drawing, etc. A preparatory role also belongs to variational forms in lute and clavier music. Theme with V. in modern. The understanding of this form arose, apparently, in the 16th century, when the passacaglia and chaconnes appeared, representing V. on an unchanged bass (see Basso ostinato). J. Frescobaldi, G. Purcell, A. Vivaldi, J. S. Bach, G. F. Handel, F. Couperin and other composers of the 17th-18th centuries. widely used this form. At the same time, musical themes were developed on song themes borrowed from popular music (V. on the theme of the song “The Driver’s Pipe” by W. Byrd) or composed by the author V. (J. S. Bach, Aria from the 30th century). This genus V. became widespread in the 2nd floor. 18th and 19th centuries in the work of J. Haydn, W. A. ​​Mozart, L. Beethoven, F. Schubert and later composers. They created various independent products. in the form of V., often on borrowed themes, and V. was introduced into the sonata-symphony. cycles as one of the parts (in such cases, the theme was usually composed by the composer himself). Especially characteristic is the use of V. in the finals to complete the cyclic. forms (Haydn’s symphony No. 31, Mozart’s quartet in d-moll, K.-V. 421, Beethoven’s symphonies No. 3 and No. 9, Brahms’ No. 4). In concert practice 18 and 1st floor. 19th centuries V. constantly served as a form of improvisation: W. A. ​​Mozart, L. Beethoven, N. Paganini, F. Liszt and many others. others brilliantly improvised V. on a chosen theme.

The beginnings of variation. cycles in Russian prof. music is to be found in polygoal. arrangements of melodies of znamenny and other chants, in which harmonization varied with couplet repetitions of the chant (late 17th – early 18th centuries). These forms left their mark on the production. partes style and choir. concert 2nd floor. 18th century (M. S. Berezovsky). In con. 18 – beg. 19th centuries a lot of V. was created on the topics of Russian. songs – for pianoforte, for violin (I. E. Khandoshkin), etc.

In the late works of L. Beethoven and in subsequent times, new paths were identified in the development of variations. cycles. In Western Europe. V. music began to be interpreted more freely than before, their dependence on the theme decreased, genre forms appeared in V., variats. the cycle is likened to a suite. In Russian classical music, initially in wok., and later in instrumental, M. I. Glinka and his followers established a special kind of variation. cycle, in which the melody of the theme remained unchanged, while other components varied. Samples of such variation were found in the West by J. Haydn and others.

Depending on the ratio of the structure of the topic and V., there are two basic. variant type. cycles: the first, in which the topic and V. have the same structure, and the second, where the structure of the topic and V. is different. The first type should include V. on Basso ostinato, classic. V. (sometimes called strict) on song themes and V. with an unchanging melody. In strict V., in addition to structure, meter and harmonic are usually preserved. theme plan, so it is easily recognizable even with the most intense variation. In vari. In cycles of the second type (the so-called free V.), the connection of V. with the theme noticeably weakens as they unfold. Each of the V. often has its own meter and harmony. plan and reveals the features of k.-l. new genre, which affects the nature of the thematic and muses. development; the commonality with the theme is preserved thanks to the intonation. unity.

There are also deviations from these fundamentals. signs of variation. forms. Thus, in V. of the first type, the structure sometimes changes in comparison with the theme, although in terms of texture they do not go beyond the limits of this type; in vari. In cycles of the second type, structure, meter, and harmony are sometimes preserved in the first V. of the cycle and change only in subsequent ones. Based on connection diff. types and varieties of variations. cycles, the form of some products is formed. new time (final piano sonata No 2 by Shostakovich).

Composition Variations. cycles of the first type is determined by the unity of figurative content: V. reveal the arts. the possibilities of the theme and its expressive elements, as a result, it develops, versatile, but united by the nature of the muses. image. The development of V. in a cycle in some cases gives a gradual acceleration of the rhythmic. movements (Handel’s Passacaglia in g-moll, Andante from Beethoven’s sonata op. 57), in others – an update of the polygonal fabrics (Bach’s aria with 30 variations, slow movement from Haydn’s quartet op. 76 No 3) or the systematic development of the intonations of the theme, first freely moved, and then assembled together (1st movement of Beethoven’s sonata op. 26). The latter is connected with a long tradition of finishing variats. cycle by holding the theme (da capo). Beethoven often used this technique, bringing the texture of one of the last variations (32 V. c-moll) closer to the theme or restoring the theme in the conclusion. parts of the cycle (V. on the theme of the march from the “Ruins of Athens”). The last (final) V. is usually wider in form and faster in tempo than the theme, and performs the role of a coda, which is especially necessary in independent. works written in the form of V. For contrast, Mozart introduced one V. before the finale in the tempo and character of Adagio, which contributed to a more prominent selection of the fast final V. The introduction of a mode-contrasting V. or group V. in the center of the cycle forms a tripartite structure. The emerging succession: minor – major – minor (32 V. Beethoven, finale of Brahms’ symphony No. 4) or major – minor – major (sonata A-dur Mozart, K.-V. 331) enriches the content of variations. cycle and brings harmony to its form. In some variations. cycles, modal contrast is introduced 2-3 times (Beethoven’s variations on a theme from the ballet “The Forest Girl”). In Mozart’s cycles, the structure of V. is enriched with textural contrasts, introduced where the theme did not have them (V. in the piano sonata A-dur, K.-V. 331, in the serenade for orchestra B-dur, K.-V. 361 ). A kind of “second plan” of the form is taking shape, which is very important for the varied coloring and breadth of the general variational development. In some productions. Mozart unites V. with the continuity of harmonics. transitions (attaca), without deviating from the structure of the topic. As a result, a fluid contrast-composite form is formed within the cycle, including the B.-Adagio and the finale most often located at the end of the cycle (“Je suis Lindor”, “Salve tu, Domine”, K.-V. 354, 398, etc.) . The introduction of Adagio and fast endings reflects the connection with the sonata cycles, their influence on the cycles of V.

The tonality of V. in the classical. music of the 18th and 19th centuries. most often the same one was kept as in the theme, and modal contrast was introduced on the basis of the common tonic, but already F. Schubert in major variations. cycles began to use the tonality of the VI low step for V., immediately following the minor, and thereby went beyond the limits of one tonic (Andante from the Trout quintet). In later authors, tonal diversity in variations. the cycles are enhanced (Brahms, V. and fugue op. 24 on the theme of Handel) or, conversely, weakened; in the latter case, the wealth of harmonics acts as compensation. and timbre variation (“Bolero” by Ravel).

Wok. V. with the same melody in Russian. composers also unite lit. text that presents a single narrative. In the development of such V., images sometimes arise. moments corresponding to the content of the text (Persian choir from the opera “Ruslan and Lyudmila”, Varlaam’s song from the opera “Boris Godunov”). Open-ended variations are also possible in the opera. cycles, if such a form is dictated by the playwright. situation (the scene in the hut “So, I lived” from the opera “Ivan Susanin”, the chorus “Oh, the trouble is coming, people” from the opera “The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh”).

To vari. forms of the 1st type are adjacent to the V.-double, which follows the theme and is limited to one of its varied presentations (rarely two). Variants. they do not form a cycle, because they do not have completeness; the take could go to take II, etc. In instr. music of the 18th century V.-double usually included in the suite, varying one or several. dances (partita h-moll Bach for violin solo), wok. in music, they arise when the couplet is repeated (Triquet’s couplets from the opera “Eugene Onegin”). A V.-double can be considered two adjacent constructions, united by a common thematic structure. material (orc. introduction from the II picture of the prologue in the opera “Boris Godunov”, No1 from Prokofiev’s “Fleeting”).

Composition Variations. cycles of the 2nd type (“free V.”) are more difficult. Their origins date back to the 17th century, when the monothematic suite was formed; in some cases, the dances were V. (I. Ya. Froberger, “Auf die Mayerin”). Bach in partitas – V. on choral themes – used a free presentation, fastening the stanzas of the choral melody with interludes, sometimes very wide, and thereby deviating from the original structure of the choral (“Sei gegrüsset, Jesu gütig”, “Allein Gott in der Höhe sei Ehr”, BWV 768, 771 etc.). In V. of the 2nd type, dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries, modal-tonal, genre, tempo, and metrical patterns are significantly enhanced. contrasts: almost every V. represents something new in this respect. The relative unity of the cycle is supported by the use of intonations of the title theme. From these, V. develops its own themes, which have a certain independence and ability to develop. Hence the use in V. of a reprise two-, three-part, and wider form, even if the title theme did not have it (V. op. 72 Glazunov for piano). In rallying the form, slow V. plays an important role in the character of Adagio, Andante, nocturne, which is usually in the 2nd floor. cycle, and the final, pulling together a variety of intonations. material of the whole cycle. Often the final V. has a pompously final character (Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes, the last part of the 3rd suite for orchestra and V. on Tchaikovsky’s rococo theme); if V. is placed at the end of the sonata-symphony. cycle, it is possible to combine them horizontally or vertically with thematic. the material of the previous movement (Tchaikovsky’s trio “In Memory of the Great Artist”, Taneyev’s quartet No. 3). Some variations. the cycles in the finals have a fugue (symphonic V. op. 78 by Dvořák) or include a fugue in one of the pre-final V. (33 V. op. 120 by Beethoven, 2nd part of the Tchaikovsky trio).

Sometimes V. are written on two topics, rarely on three. In the two-dark cycle, one V. for each theme periodically alternates (Andante with Haydn’s V. in f-moll for piano, Adagio from Beethoven’s Symphony No 9) or several V. (slow part of Beethoven’s trio op. 70 No 2). The last form is convenient for free variation. compositions on two themes, where V. are connected by connecting parts (Andante from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5). In the finale of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, written in vari. form, ch. the place belongs to the first theme (“the theme of joy”), which receives a wide variation. development, including tonal variation and fugato; the second theme appears in the middle part of the finale in several options; in the general fugue reprise, the themes are counterpointed. The composition of the entire finale is thus very free.

At the Russian V.’s classics on two topics are connected with tradits. V.’s form to an unchanging melody: each of the themes can be varied, but the composition as a whole turns out to be quite free due to tonal transitions, linking constructions and counterpointing of the themes (“Kamarinskaya” by Glinka, “In Central Asia” by Borodin, a wedding ceremony from the opera “The Snow Maiden” ). Even more free is the composition in rare examples of V. on three themes: the ease of shifts and plexus of thematicism is its indispensable condition (the scene in the reserved forest from the opera The Snow Maiden).

V. of both types in sonata-symphony. prod. are used most often as a form of slow movement (except for the above-mentioned works, see the Kreutzer Sonata and Allegretto from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, Schubert’s Maiden and Death Quartet, Glazunov’s Symphony No. 6, piano concertos by Prokofiev’s Scriabin and No. Symphony No 3 and from the Violin Concerto No 8), sometimes they are used as the 1st movement or finale (examples were mentioned above). In the Mozart variations, which are part of the sonata cycle, either B.-Adagio is absent (sonata for violin and pianoforte Es-dur, quartet d-moll, K.-V. 1, 481), or such a cycle itself does not have a slow parts (sonata for piano A-dur, sonata for violin and piano A-dur, K.-V. 421, 331, etc.). V. of the 305st type are often included as an integral element in a larger form, but then they cannot acquire completeness, and variats. the cycle remains open for transition to another thematic. section. Data in a single sequence, V. are able to contrast with other thematic. sections of a large form, concentrating the development of one muses. image. Variation range. forms depend on the arts. production ideas. So, in the middle of the 1st part of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1, V. present a grandiose picture of the enemy invasion, the same theme and four V. in the middle of the 7st part of Myaskovsky’s Symphony No. 1 draw a calm image of an epic character. From a variety of polyphonic forms, the V. cycle takes shape in the middle of the finale of Prokofiev’s Concerto No 25. The image of a playful character arises in V. from the middle of the scherzo trio op. 3 Taneeva. The middle of Debussy’s nocturne “Celebrations” is built on the timbre variation of the theme, which conveys the movement of a colorful carnival procession. In all such cases, the V. are drawn into a cycle, thematically contrasting with the surrounding sections of the form.

The V. form is sometimes chosen for the main or secondary part in the sonata allegro (Glinka’s Jota of Aragon, Balakirev’s Overture on the Themes of Three Russian Songs) or for the extreme parts of a complex three-part form (2nd part of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade). Then V. exposure. sections are picked up in the reprise and a dispersed variation is formed. cycle, the complication of texture in Krom is systematically distributed over both its parts. Frank’s “Prelude, Fugue and Variation” for organ is an example of a single variation in Reprise-B.

Distributed variant. the cycle develops as the second plan of the form, if the c.-l. the theme varies with repetition. In this regard, the rondo has especially great opportunities: the returning main. its theme has long been an object of variation (the finale of Beethoven’s sonata op. 24 for violin and piano: there are two V. on the main theme in the reprise). In a complex three-part form, the same possibilities for the formation of a dispersed variation. cycles are opened by varying the initial theme – the period (Dvorak – the middle of the 3rd part of the quartet, op. 96). The return of the theme is able to emphasize its importance in the developed thematic. the structure of the product, while variation, changing the texture and character of the sound, but preserving the essence of the theme, allows you to deepen its expression. meaning. So, in the trio of Tchaikovsky, the tragic. ch. the theme, returning in the 1st and 2nd parts, with the help of variation is brought to a culmination – the ultimate expression of the bitterness of loss. In Largo from Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, the sad theme (Ob., Fl.) later, when performed at the climax (Vc), acquires an acutely dramatic character, and in the coda it sounds peaceful. The variational cycle absorbs here the main threads of the Largo concept.

Dispersed variations. cycles often have more than one theme. In the contrast of such cycles, the versatility of the arts is revealed. content. The significance of such forms in the lyric is especially great. prod. Tchaikovsky, to-rye are filled with numerous V., preserving ch. melody-theme and changing its accompaniment. Lyric. Andante Tchaikovsky differ significantly from his works, written in the form of a theme with V. Variation in them does not lead to c.-l. changes in the genre and nature of the music, however, through the variation of the lyric. the image rises to the height of the symphony. generalizations (slow movements of symphonies No. 4 and No. 5, pianoforte concerto No. 1, quartet No. 2, sonatas op. 37-bis, middle in the symphonic fantasy “Francesca da Rimini”, theme of love in “The Tempest”, Joanna’s aria from the opera “Maid of Orleans”, etc.). The formation of a dispersed variation. cycle, on the one hand, is a consequence of the variations. processes in music. form, on the other hand, relies on the clarity of the thematic. structures of products, its strict definition. But the variant method development of thematism is so wide and varied that it does not always lead to the formation of variations. cycles in the literal sense of the word and can be used in a very free form.

From Ser. 19th century V. become the basis of the form of many major symphonic and concert works, deploying a broad artistic concept, sometimes with a program content. These are Liszt’s Dance of Death, Brahms’ Variations on a Theme of Haydn, Franck’s Symphonic Variations, R. Strauss’s Don Quixote, Rakhmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Variations on a Theme of Rus. nar. the songs “You, my field”” by Shebalin, “Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell” by Britten and a number of other compositions. In relation to them and others like them, one should talk about the synthesis of variation and development, about contrast-thematic systems. order, etc., which follows from the unique and complex art. the intention of each product.

Variation as a principle or method thematically. development is a very broad concept and includes any modified repetition that differs in any significant way from the first presentation of the topic. The theme in this case becomes a relatively independent music. a construction that provides material for variation. In this sense, it can be the first sentence of a period, a lengthy link in a sequence, an operatic leitmotif, Nar. song, etc. The essence of variation lies in the preservation of thematic. fundamentals and at the same time in the enrichment, updating of the varied construction.

There are two types of variation: a) a modified repetition of thematic. material and b) introducing new elements into it, arising from the main ones. Schematically, the first type is denoted as a + a1, the second as ab + ac. For example, below are fragments from the works of W. A. ​​Mozart, L. Beethoven and P. I. Tchaikovsky.

In the example from Mozart’s sonata, the similarity is melodic-rhythmic. drawing two constructions allows us to represent the second of them as a variation of the first; in contrast, in Beethoven’s Largo, the sentences are connected only through the initial melodic. intonation, but its continuation in them is different; Tchaikovsky’s Andantino uses the same method as Beethoven’s Largo, but with an increase in the length of the second sentence. In all cases, the character of the theme is preserved, at the same time it is enriched from within through the development of its original intonations. The size and number of developed thematic constructions fluctuate depending on general art. the intention of the whole production.

Variations |
Variations |
Variations |

P. I. Tchaikovsky. 4th symphony, movement II.

Variation is one of the oldest principles of development, it dominates in Nar. music and ancient forms prof. lawsuit. Variation is characteristic of Western Europe. romantic composers. schools and for Russian. classics 19 – early. 20 centuries, it permeates their “free forms” and penetrates into the forms inherited from the Viennese classics. Manifestations of variation in such cases may be different. For example, M. I. Glinka or R. Schumann build a development of sonata form from large sequential units (overture from the opera “Ruslan and Lyudmila”, the first part of the quartet op. 47 by Schumann). F. Chopin conducts ch. the theme of the E-dur scherzo is in development, changing its modal and tonal presentation, but maintaining the structure, F. Schubert in the first part of the sonata B-dur (1828) forms a new theme in the development, conducts it sequentially (A-dur – H-dur) , and then builds a four-bar sentence from it, which also moves to different keys while maintaining melodic. drawing. Similar examples in music. lit-re are inexhaustible. Variation, thus, has become an integral method in the thematic. development where other form-building principles predominate, for example. sonata. In production, gravitating towards Nar. forms, it is able to capture key positions. Symphony the painting “Sadko”, “Night on Bald Mountain” by Mussorgsky, “Eight Russian Folk Songs” by Lyadov, early ballets by Stravinsky can serve as confirmation of this. The importance of variation in the music of C. Debussy, M. Ravel, S. S. Prokofiev is exceptionally great. D. D. Shostakovich implements variation in a special way; for him it is associated with the introduction of new, continuing elements into a familiar theme (type “b”). In general, wherever it is necessary to develop, continue, update a theme, using its own intonations, composers turn to variation.

Variant forms adjoin variational forms, forming a compositional and semantic unity based on variants of the theme. Variant development implies a certain independence of melodic. and tonal movement in the presence of a texture common with the theme (in the forms of variation order, on the contrary, the texture undergoes changes in the first place). The theme, together with the variants, constitutes an integral form aimed at revealing the dominant musical image. Sarabande from the 1st French suite by J.S. Bach, Pauline’s romance “Dear Friends” from the opera “The Queen of Spades”, the song of the Varangian guest from the opera “Sadko” can serve as examples of variant forms.

Variation, revealing the expressive possibilities of the theme and leading to the creation of realistic. arts. image, is fundamentally different from the variation of the series in modern dodecaphone and serial music. In this case, variation turns into a formal similarity to true variation.

References: Berkov V., Glinka’s variational development of harmony, in his book: Glinka’s Harmony, M.-L., 1948, ch. VI; Sosnovtsev B., Variant form, in collection: Saratov State University. Conservatory, Scientific and Methodological Notes, Saratov, 1957; Protopopov Vl., Variations in Russian classical opera, M., 1957; his, Variation method of development of thematism in the music of Chopin, in Sat: F. Chopin, M., 1960; Skrebkova O. L., On some methods of harmonic variation in the work of Rimsky-Korsakov, in: Questions of Musicology, vol. 3, M., 1960; Adigezalova L., The variational principle of the development of song themes in Russian Soviet symphonic music, in: Questions of Contemporary Music, L., 1963; Müller T., On the cyclicity of form in Russian folk songs recorded by E. E. Lineva, in: Proceedings of the Department of Music Theory of Moscow. state conservatory them. P. I. Tchaikovsky, vol. 1, Moscow, 1960; Budrin B., Variation cycles in the work of Shostakovich, in: Questions of musical form, vol. 1, M., 1967; Protopopov Vl., Variational processes in musical form, M., 1967; his own, On variation in Shebalin’s music, in collection: V. Ya. Shebalin, M., 1970

Vl. V. Protopopov

Leave a Reply