binary form


Definition of 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

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First Known Use of binary form

1875, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of binary form was in 1875

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Cite this Entry

“Binary form.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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