Maybe have you ever ever hear the piano ballad Grieg. It begins with the melody harsh and mournful, like a folk song-the Duma. And then this tune appears many more times, but each time in a new guise: how excited monologue, how epic tale, whimsical Scherzo, in the nature of a funeral procession.
Ballad in the form of variations in g minor. Op.24
The form in which Grieg wrote his ballad, called the variation or, more precisely, the theme with variations. The Latin word variatio means change. In music variations is a work in which the main melody is repeated many times, but in another character. Sometimes changing only support, but more often she, her rhythm, tempo, individual momentum.
The form of variations was born in the XVI century. Then there are two varieties of polyphonic variations - Passacaglia and Chaconne.
In pasacalle - majestic work of nature is the theme does not change. She slowly and majestically sounds at the very bottom, the bass voice, while in the upper voices emerge and develop new independent melodies. Pasacalle wrote many composers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, including I. S. Bach. In our time, to the ancient form of pasacalle often turned D. D. Shostakovich (for example, in the fourth part of the Eighth Symphony, the third part of the First violin Concerto).
D. Shostakovich. Symphony No. 8 (c-moll Op.65.
Part 4. Largo
Chaconne - like Passacaglia. It is also polyphonic variations. But in the Chaconne theme, while remaining unchanged, sounds not only in the bass: it "travels" in different voices, appearing in the top, middle, bottom. Widely known of the Bach Chaconne for solo violin. Play it and arranged for piano or organ.
J.S. Bach. Chaconne (fragment from Partita No. 2 in d-moll, for solo violin)
In the nineteenth century, the form of variations receives a large spread. In the so-called simple variations of the theme changes are not very strong: the more complex accompaniment tunes, new sounds, adorning its main loop. However, throughout the play remains close to the initial character. This music is enriched, but still recognizable. In the works by R. Schumann and F. Liszt, and later in C. C. Rachmaninoff, many contemporary composers theme in variations varies greatly. Such variations are called free. They are not one but many different, even contrasting images.
Franz Liszt. Variations on a theme of Paganini