Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Idioms, Wikipedia.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a musical form based on the variation of a theme (sometimes two or even three themes) written by the composer or borrowed by him, hence the name “theme with variations,” which is often given to works in this form. The source of variations lies in folk composition, in the alterations that a song form undergoes with the repetition of couplets. The theme of variations is usually simple in manner of execution and is performed at a moderate tempo, which allows the introduction of the successive textural, tempo, and genre changes into the variations. There are variations that maintain the structure of the theme (variations on basso ostinato, on a sustained melody, or strict variations) and those that alter it (free variations). In the first case, the modification affects all or several elements of a theme: the melody, manner of execution, and polyphonic texture; in the separate variations, the harmony, tempo, and measure (Passacaglia in C minor of J. S. Bach, Beethoven’s 32 Variations for Piano, the Persian chorus from Glinka’s opera Ruslan and Liudmila). In the second case, the variations are linked to the theme by general melodic turns but change the genre, measure, tempo, and structure, resulting in a suitelike form (Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes for Piano, the second part of Tchaikovsky’s trio Memories of a Great Artist, the second part of Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 3 for Piano). It is possible to unite both forms of variation (the finale of Shostakovich’s Sonata No. 2 for Piano). Sometimes, as is evident from the examples, the variations form an integral part of a sonata, symphonic cycle, or other musical form.


Protopopov, VI. Variatsionnye protsessy v muzykal’noi forme. Moscow, 1967.
Adigezalova, L. “Variatsionnyi printsip razvitiia pesennykh tem v russkoi sovetskoi simfonicheskoi muzyke.” In the collection Voprosy sovremmenoi muzyki. Leningrad, 1963.
Fischer, K. “Zur Theorie der Variation im 18, und beginnenden 19. Jahrhundert.” In Festschrift J. Schmidt-Görg . … Bonn, 1957.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
'Its an underappreciated kind of genetic variation,' says corresponding author Andreas Wagner, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Zurich and external professor at the Santa Fe Institute, 'and it plays an important role in evolution.'
Among the anatomical variations studied, DNS was the most common variation found, followed by concha bullosa (37.2%), onodi cell (12.8%), agger nasi cell (8.14%), haller cell and paradoxical middle turbinate (3.5% each), retroverted uncinate (2.32%) and pneumatized uncinate process (1.16%) in that order.
& LYSCOM, T., (2011), Variations in Health Care: The good, the bad and the inexplicable, The King's Fund, London.
Hewitt's approach in this performance was to highlight what she sees as the joyous tone of much of the music, and this was the case in variations 10, 12 and 15 where her virtuosity and technique were astounding.
(2,3) The likely explanations may include the differences in study design, study duration, data points taken, numbers of individuals included in the study, and a different ethnic population, which may introduce some unusual individual specific variations. We also could not exclude the possibility of some sporadic or random instrument imprecision during sample analysis.
The researchers were able to detect APC variations in 41 of the 80 samples.
Once the values of each component variations are generated these values are stored and given as input to assembly model to predict assembly variation propagation at all possible mating configurations.
Liebermann has a remarkable gift for texture, and can cast a haunting and hypnotic spell (the creeping eighth note counterpoint in variation V or the sense of suspension created in variation VII), generate breathless excitement (the parallel sixteenth note runs in variation III marked Presto), or convey an easy-going romp (the bi-tonal stride piano-style of variation VI).
Variations is available both as a browserbased interface and as a standalone Java application (see figures 1 and 2).
Beethoven returned 33 variations and Paul Lewis, one of our greatest exponents of 19th century piano music, here turns in an account which puts them on the same justifiable level as Beethoven's late piano sonatas - and these variations come several years later.