The baroque dances, chaconne and passacaglia are examples of continuous variations.

The Chaconne

Of Hispanic origin - according to some Hispanic American - the chaconne is based on a short, repetitive harmonic plan. This chaconne, attributed to Tomaso Antonio Vitali, presents us the basic harmonic plan that we find in many chaconnes: a descending movement from tonic to dominant. The first measures:

We find variations of this harmonic plan in the Chaconne for solo violin by J. S. Bach (it is part of the Partita BWV 1004). Here are the first four measures:

The next four measures are the first variation:

In measure 17 - fourth variation - Bach uses a chromatic movement to go from tonic to dominant:

More interesting variations will appear, like the one in measure 109:

A D major central section begins in measure 133:


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José Rodríguez Alvira.