If there’s something we can all connect on, it’s music. Music, for many decades, has been a platform that allows us all to share our thoughts and emotions. It has kept plenty of us alive with meaningful lyrics and beautiful beats.
That being said, since there are a lot of musical terms, it can sometimes be confusing to know and understand all of them. One example would be the word binary. What even is it? Well, in this article, we’ll be giving you an example of a binary song, what it means, its different types, and so much more.
What is Form in Music?
The structure of a musical work is referred to as musical form. In simple terms, we can say that it’s the composer’s design plan, a blueprint of sorts. Whether it’s a big symphony or even a little pop song, the musical form is vital to the continuation.
Form in music specifically has three different components: passages, bars, and phrases. Rests and notes make up each individual bar. While a phrase is usually made up of four bars or less. The next level would be the passages. They usually have four or fewer phrases but can reach eight or even sixteen. The last level would be the whole work or movements.
Plenty of people who don’t understand how music is made listen to it mindlessly. But seeing as you’re reading this article, it seems that you’re interested in understanding its value!
An example would be self-described composers and songwriters. They usually operate in an unstructured way. And music without the concept of form is sure to be fragmented and perplexing.
You would merely know a piece of music as A if it contained only one melodic theme that was repeated numerous times. If A had different variations, then it would be known as A1, A2, A3, etc.
Definition Of Binary Form
A binary form is a type of music separated into two parts that are usually recurring. Binary is also considered a choreography structure for dance. In terms of music, this form is generally created with an A-A-B-B pattern.
In the Baroque era, they frequently used this type of form to lay out movements of the keyboard sonata. It was also commonly utilized for one-movement pieces. As organic development and sonata form gained dominance towards the mid-eighteenth century, the form essentially went out of popularity as the primary design of complete movements.
The binary form frequently takes the shape of a theme with variations. One example would be the Trio portions of a “minuet & trio” or “scherzo and trio” act of a sonata, symphony, or other composition. There are also big forms that have binary structures and complicated forms. The 18th-century sonata form, for example, has binary-like characteristics.
Simple vs. Rounded Binary Form
Now that we have defined what binary form means, it’s time to further expand your knowledge by explaining the two types, simple and rounded binary forms. What makes them different from each other?
Simple Binary Form
The phrase “simple” binary refers to a binary form that lacks elements such as the balanced binary’s similar finishes or the rounded binary’s return to the opening part. This binary type frequently appears in music, particularly during the Baroque and early Classical periods.
The first and second sections of the song can start in binary form in the same way, leading to the big form AA. The basic concept from the first segment is frequently developed in the second part.
Rounded Binary Form
The B part may occasionally conclude with a “repeat” of the A section’s opening content. This is known as rounded binary and is abbreviated as ABA’. The start of the B section is frequently called the “bridge” in rounded binary, and it usually ends with a half tempo in the original key.
Expert Tip: The difference between rounded binary and ternary forms, often known as ABA, is that the B section completely opposes the A material in ternary forms. A minuet and trio is an excellent example of this.
Another significant distinction between ternary and rounded forms is that when the “A” section returns in rounded binary, it usually only contains half of the entire “A” section. While in ternary form, it always contains the entire “A” portion.
Example Of Binary Form
The last part of this article will be some examples. For you to better understand what binary is, it’s better to have an audio presentation. This way, we can implement what we have explained in this article.
For the simple binary form, one composition that utilizes this would be Bach’s Lute Suite in E minor, BWV 996 from the Bourrée, where the second repetition is called A′. The musical component of the second reprise merely repeats the first reprise’s ideas completely.
Since there is no evident reappearance of the starting material from the first reprise between the second reprise, this isn’t an illustration of a rounded binary.
In terms of rounded binary form, one composition that we can refer to would be Mozart’s Piano Sonata in D major, K. 284, III. Another example that we can give would be Schubert’s 20 Minutes, D. 41, No. 18 in F major.
They are considered rounded binary since in their arrangement, both the A section, known as the first, and the B section, known as the second one, repeat. If we’re being very specific, this form is referred to as a “two-reprise continuous rounded binary form.”
While musical terms can be confusing, they are understandable as long as they are broken down into smaller sections. Plenty of musicians have used the binary form throughout the decades, so it makes sense that this type of music has significantly impacted our lives.
Even though it’s being used less and less nowadays, this doesn’t stop us from having such a profound relationship with it. We hope you learned a lot from this article and only hope to see your interest in music grow. That’s all for this post, see you next time!