Chaconnes and passacaglias were a very popular style of composition
in the Baroque era. They are essentially variations on a chord progression
or bass line. They are fairly easy form to "hear" in that
the bass lines are usually quite distintive and are repeated over
For examples, go to the Anthology Questions, Chapter 12, #113 (the
.mp3 file has the better tempo) or anthology #81, the Passacaglia
by Buxtehude [listen].
The Bach Chaconne for Solo Violin is one of the more famous
ones [listen - .mp3
Can you think of other pieces of music that use this principle
of the repeated chord progression or even simply a repeated bass
line as the foundation for the composition?
PROJECT: Try writing a chord
progression of 3-6 chords (usually ending with a V to keep the cycle
going). Then expand this into a chaconne/passacaglia with at least
3 total repetitions of the chord progression.
minor: i | V43 | i6 | iv
| V7 |
minor: i | V | V2 | i6 |
Or take a chaconne found in the anthology and use that progression.