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Section 24.3 Balanced Binary

A balanced binary form, according to Douglass Green in his book, Form in Tonal Music, features a binary form with a first section (the A section) ending in a new key, and the second section ending with essentially the same cadence, now transposed to the original key, as in the following piece by Bach.

Figure 24.3.1. J.S. Bach, Invention No. 8 in F major, BWV 779

Because the first section of a balanced binary ends in a new key, it is inherently a continuous binary form.

Balanced binary form can be found in movements from the Baroque era, including dance suites by Bach, Handel, and others. The movement below shows the endings of the first and section sections of the Courante from J.S. Bach’s French Suite No. 6 in E major, BWV 817.

Figure 24.3.2. J.S. Bach, French Suite No 6 in E, BWV, 817 Courante, bars 15–16
Figure 24.3.3. J.S. Bach, French Suite No 6 in E, BWV, 817 Courante, bars 31–32