So I have been thinking about another piece lately, this one being a multi-movement work related to nature. I'm not sure if this will turn out to be a symphony or not. I certainly seem to be getting a 5 movement symphony template when thinking about the piece.

More specifically though, I'm thinking about the final movement, which is supposed to represent a "Dance of Nature". As such, I figured triple meter and Allegro tempo would fit perfectly to the feel of this piece. With this "Dance of Nature", I was thinking of slowly adding in instruments and complexity like this:

  1. Bass line to provide a harmonic skeleton - Tree branches swaying to the beat of nature - Cello and Bassoon
  2. Basic melodic shape - Person dancing to the beat of nature - Violin
  3. Embellishments of the melody - Animals start joining in the dance - Other strings
  4. Trills added over the melody - Birds join in - Woodwinds besides Bassoon
  5. Further additions of complexity - More animals join in
  6. Chordal ending - All the animals are dancing to the beat of nature.

The closest piece I can find in terms of it adding not just melodic complexity, but also starting with a bass line and adding instrumental complexity is also a final movement, more specifically the Finale of the Eroica symphony.

But, if I'm not mistaken, the Finale of the Eroica symphony is in 2/4 or some other form of duple meter. It certainly has the feel of a victory march(which isn't what I am going for with my piece).

But, when I look at it, I notice 2 separate forms going on at the same time. On the micro scale, there are individual variations making up a Theme and Variations form. On the macro scale, those variations combine in groups of 3 into a sort of sonata form.

I'm wondering if, out of all the possible forms, Theme and Variations would best fit the bill of a common baseline, a basic melody that gets elaborated, and added instrumental complexity that I am wanting in my "Dance of Nature" Finale. Or would a different form work better?

1 Answer 1


A few other forms to consider:

  • Pastorale: the original "celebration of nature" form; consider 9/8 time.
  • Passacaglia/Chaconne: a dance form, in 3, and supports a theme-and-variations style.
  • Rondo: certainly could be in 3 with a dance-like feel, but offers a bit more freedom, perhaps, than a theme and variations. Perhaps the A theme is stated by the basses, then the B theme features the next instruments to enter, who then state the second A theme. The C theme includes the next group of instruments, who remain for the A theme, and so forth.
  • Fantasia: going in a different direction, a fantasia could express the wild side of nature. Think of a theme and variations as a carefully manicured French garden, while a Fantasia would be a more untamed English garden.

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