In Schumann’s “Of Foreign Lands and Foreign People“, the sample test paper I have refers to it in ternary form. However, I can only see two distinct parts of the music (both of which are repeated).

Is this piece in ternary form and if so where are the A-B-C parts?

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2 Answers 2


Ternary form has two distinct sections, not three. In the simplest form that's A-B-A. The Schumann piece is a variation on that: A-A-B-A-B-A


Ternary form does only mean 3 parts. This can mean any combination:

  • AAA
  • AAB
  • ABB
  • ABA
  • ABC

(potentially with variations on repeats). Hereby the most common form is the form ABA. Now, this Schumann piece is of the form

|: A :||: B A :|

so it is essentially ABA with reapeats, or AABABA (note that AABA can also be seen as typical reprise form). Also the macroform AABB is a very typical binary form.

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