Thirty-two-bar form - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


** Thirty-two-bar form **

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See also: Ballad#Ballad form
"Over the Rainbow" (Arlen/Harburg) exemplifies the 20th century popular
32-bar song.^[1]

The *thirty-two-bar form*, often called *AABA* from the musical form or
order in which its melodies occur, also *ballad form*,^[2] is common in Tin
Pan Alley songs and later popular music including rock, pop and jazz.
Though it resembles the ternary form of the operatic da capo aria its
popularity declined and "there were few instances of it in any type of
popular music until the late teens" of the 20th century. It became "the
principal form" of American popular song around 1925–1926,^[3], with
AABA form consisting of the chorus or the entirety of many songs in the
early 20th century.^[4]

Some Tin Pan Alley songs composed as numbers for musicals precede the main
tune with a "sectional verse" that is usually sixteen bars long. The verse
establishes the background and mood of the number, and is musically
undistinguished in order to highlight the attractions of the main tune. The
main tune is called the refrain or chorus. The sectional verse is often
omitted from modern performances, and thus the refrain is often the only
section remembered and heard.

In the refrain, the A section or verse forms the main melody and is
harmonically closed with a cadence on the "home" or tonic chord. The B
section or *middle eight* is also often referred to as the /bridge/ and
sometimes as the /release/.^[5] In it a simple modulation is commonly found
and at its end it remains harmonically open, often ending on the unresolved
dominant chord of the home key and so preparing for the return of the


what is aaba song form

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