Music Theory: Musical Form

Gain an in-depth understanding of the six models of classical music with this free online music course.

Free Course
This course, Music Theory: Musical Form, will teach you about the six models in classical music from sonata-allegro to rondo form. You will learn how each model was formed and the difference between each of them. You will also learn the features of verse and chorus and how the same material can return at certain points in a musical piece. The course will also guide you through the four functional types that will show up in a sonata-allegro form.
  • Duration

    1-2 Hours
  • Assessment

  • Certification

  • Responsive






View course modules


This course will first introduce you to the six models in classical music which are the ternary form, sonata-allegro form, theme and variations, rondo, fugue, and ostinato. You will learn how they were developed at various times in the history of music. You will learn that theme and variations are the most established forms, and that sonata-allegro is more recent but is the most complex and the most difficult of all of these forms.

Next, you will study the four functional types of music that sonata allegro movement consist, which includes thematic, transitional, cadential, and developmental. You will also study the concept behind Rondo, which is a crucial form of music that arises again and again in any musician's development. The course will then teach you why it is important to include a coda in your music to tell your listeners that your music has reached an end. You will also be guided through the concepts behind Ostinato.

This free online music course will be very helpful for strengthening your aural skills and your understanding of basic music rules. It is the third in a series of music theory courses offered by Alison and comes after Music Theory: Instruments and Rhythm and Music Theory: Melody and Harmony. If you have finished studying the first two courses, now is the perfect time to take this course. Check out the course today, and boost your music skills in no time.

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Learning Outcomes

After completing this music theory course, you will:

  • List different sorts of genres.
  • List the six models in music.
  • Define what a coda is.
  • Explain ternary form.
  • Discuss the differences between verse and chorus.
  • Differentiate between the four functional types that will show up in sonata-allegro form.
  • Describe the difference between rondo and ostinato.
  • Explain what a rondo is.
  • Define “pedal point”.


All Alison courses are free to enrol, study and complete. To successfully complete this Certificate course and become an Alison Graduate, you need to achieve 80% or higher in each course assessment. Once you have completed this Certificate course, you have the option to acquire official Certification, which is a great way to share your achievement with the world. Your Alison Certification is:

Ideal for sharing with potential employers - include it in your CV, professional social media profiles and job applications
An indication of your commitment to continuously learn, upskill and achieve high results
An incentive for you to continue empowering yourself through lifelong learning

Alison offers 3 types of Certification for completed Certificate courses:

Digital Certificate - a downloadable Certificate in PDF format, immediately available to you when you complete your purchase
Certificate - a physical version of your officially branded and security-marked Certificate, posted to you with FREE shipping
Framed Certificate - a physical version of your officially branded and security-marked Certificate in a stylish frame, posted to you with FREE shipping

All Certification is available to purchase through the Alison Shop. For more information on purchasing Alison Certification, please visit our faqs. If you decide not to purchase your Alison Certification, you can still demonstrate your achievement by sharing your Learner Record or Learner Achievement Verification, both of which are accessible from your Dashboard. For more details on our Certification pricing, please visit our Pricing Page.



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