I'm working on a series of simple compositions for piano and my current piece follows this formula:

Begin with a simple melody that is repeated for each chord in the progression. Repeat the progression with slight variations on the melody each time, eventually returning to the original at the end of the piece.

Is there any well-known form that does that?

  • Just a note on official description. Variation on a theme is usually described as AA'A'' or A prime, A double prime, etc. Sometimes a part B is thrown in somewhere to make it interesting.
    – DrZ214
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 7:53

1 Answer 1


This is a very common form known as a theme and variations. Similar concepts include the ground bass, the chaconne, and the passacaglia.

It's not standard to return back to the original at the end, but it's not unheard of!

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