Ternary Form

Not long after our composer friends discovered the tasty open faced Binary form, they decided that they were really hungry for a sandwich with two pieces of bread, so they could go out and have a picnic!

This led them to develop what we would call Ternary form, which looks like this:

In a Nutshell:


| A | B | A | or bread + cheese + bread

Here is a tune you may recognize that is in Ternary form, Star Wars Main Theme by John Williams:

You’ll notice that what you get here, besides a great movie with some great music, is a tasty grilled cheese!

Here is another example of ABA, or Ternary form:

“Goin Home,” the english horn solo from the second movement of Dvorak’s 9th Symphony


Sometimes sections in ternary forms have repeats! This could look like ||:A:||:B:||:A:||