binary form


: a two-part musical form in which the first part modulates to the dominant or relative minor and the second returns to the tonic
In binary form, the opening melody returns in a key other than the tonic or does not return at all.John A. Rice, Antonio Salieri and Viennese Opera, 1998
In music of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, dances were often written in binary form; and in the collections of idealized dances … that became popular in the Baroque, binary form was increasingly used.Stanley Sadie and Alison Latham, editors, The Cambridge Music Guide, 1985

called also song form, two-part form

compare rounded binary form, ternary form

Word History

First Known Use

1875, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of binary form was in 1875

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Dictionary Entries Near binary form

Cite this Entry

“Binary form.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

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