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Lesson 145: Composition Using Exposition, Development and Recapitulation

The Ternary ABA Form in Jazz

The typical form of the performance of a jazz piece is:

  • theme
  • solos
  • theme
or if we apply the terms exposition, development and recapitulation
  • theme = exposition
  • solos = development
  • theme = recapitulation
so it can be considered an ABA form.

Extensions of This Form

It is very common to extend this form with an introduction and a coda:

  • introduction
  • exposition
  • development
  • recapitulation
  • coda
This is the typical sonata form. The sonata form is very common in classical music and it is even used in symphonies.

How to Use Exposition, Development and Recapitulation in Composition

Try to use this template creatively and develop a larger composition. By this I mean that you should go beyond the theme - solos - theme template and really write a composition that has

  • an A theme
  • a B theme, which is a developmental/ contrasting section
  • and then returns to the A theme
without falling into the AABA form, which is very close to the ABA form.

2015 Tomas Karlsson. All rights reserved.