Ternary creates have one ABA official structure.A may immediately repeat and also B may immediately repeat, yet A and also B do not repeat together and also neither carry out B and A.Repeat signs are common however not required.The B section typically contains difference material, a new key, and also may be reasonably unstable.Auxiliary section are feasible before, between, and after every section.

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Ternary is a musical type consisting of three unique sections. As with most musical forms, ternary requires large-scale repetition and also so ternary type is typically identified as ABA because opening section (A) return after the contrasting ar in the middle (B).

Though it might seem logical, ternary type is no typically identified as gift ABC. Abc is an ext often taken into consideration as component of the through-composed category due to the fact that each section includes different music.


Example 1. Summary diagram the ternary type with usual repeat structure.

Structure that Individual part (Simple vs. Compound)

While the contents of each section have the right to vary greatly concerning phrase and also form, each section is generally comprised of multiple unit volume and an extremely often those phrases incorporate together right into a complete type (very often a binary form). A ternary kind is thought about to be link (or composite) if one or much more of its sections is comprised of a complete musical form. If a ar does no contain a finish form, it have the right to be called simple. In numerous compound ternary develops (like minuet & trio or scherzo & trio in particular), every sections contain complete forms (often rounded binary form). In link ternary forms of the 19th century, however, the last A section is frequently shortened and is simple, not compound.


Example 2. Summary diagram of a compound ternary kind where every sections contain their own complete form.


Example 3. Hypothetical instance of a link ternary kind where every sections contain their own complete forms.


Example 4. Chart of a ternary type where only the an initial section the the kind is made up of that is own finish form. Check out Chopin’s Mazurka in A minor, Op. 17, no. 4 for an instance of this.

Contrasting attributes of B

The 2nd section that a ternary form, usually described as the B section, is meant to administer contrast with the A ar that preceded it. This contrast may come indigenous a range of musical domains including key, mode, texture, time signature, rhythmic ideas, melodic ideas, range, instrumentation, register, and also so on. The size of B, however, is expected to be normally proportional to the of A.

Stability of every Section

In part genres (like the minuet & trio), the A and also B part contain a relatively similar level the stability, usually because they start and also end in the same crucial and contain phrases the aretight-knit. In other genres (arias in particular), the B ar is often less secure than A. B‘s instability is mostly due to starting and ending in different keys and a generally looser phrase-structural company than A.

Keys and also Harmony

Closed and also Open Harmonic Endings

As with various other forms, each section have the right to be defined in regards to being harmonically open up or closed.

Modulation Within a Section

If the ternary form contains a modulation within one of the main sections (A or B), it much much more likely to take place in the B ar of ternary forms uncovered in arias however is not associated with dance creates like the minuet and also trio. Modulation is feasible within every section, but is very rare in the A section and should be considered atypical when discovered there.

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Auxiliary sections

Like other forms, ternary deserve to contain auxiliary sections. Small transitions, small retransitions, small prefixes, and small & large suffixes room common. Check out the thing on auxiliary Sectionsfor more information.


Compound Ternary form in a Dance kind (Chopin, Polonaise in A major, Op. 40, No. 1, polonaise)

Example1. Frederic Chopin, Polonaise in A major, Op. 40, No. 1 –Click to see Score (PDF)


Example2. George Frideric Handel, “Waft she Angels” from Jephtha –Click to view Score (PDF) – Audio