Rondo Form

Lesson Ideas

Rondo form is a good place to start when leading students to listening to form since the “theme,” or “Section A” keeps recurring. Since it is sometimes difficult for students to listen to music (all of the sections can sound the same to them, especially when there are no lyrics!), I often only focus on teaching Section A and ask students to recognize when A returns. (See this post for some pieces that are good for beginners to determine form.) Here are some hints for teaching form:
  • Describe the different sections: instruments, dynamics, emotions
  • Do different motions to the different sections
  • Have them draw different scenes to depict what they hear in each section
  • Show them different listening maps for each section and point to which they hear.
  • Make it simpler by only focusing on Section A, and require that they recognize when “A” comes back again.
    • Give each student an index card with “A” on it. Every time Section A repeats, they hold it up.
    • When filling out a succession of boxes (see worksheet below), they are allowed to write “?” in any box that it is NOT Section A, and write “A” in the boxes where they hear that section repeat. That especially works well for Rondo form where A keeps repeating.

La Raspa

This is a wonderful song to help students experience Rondo form! Section A is so easy to learn, hum along with, and even dance!
Form = A B A C A D A B A
Most important for me, however, is for the students to recognize Section A, not all of the other sections. So, they could write out the form like this: 

You could also help guide them into listening to the other sections and discover the form together.

Campra: Tancrède – Triumphal March

Section A has a loud trumpet part.

Form =  A B A C A

Jean-Joseph Mouret: Suite de Symphonies, “Fanfare-Rondeau”

Section A has a strong trumpet part (in these listening versions below).

Form =  A B A C A

Henry Purcell: Abdelazer Suite, II. Rondeau

This is the theme used by Benjamin Britten for the “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.”

Section A has a strong trumpet part (in these listening versions below).

Form =  A B A C A

Mozart: Horn Concerto No. 4 in E-flat major, K. 495, III. Rondo (third movement)

Form: A B A C A B A
Ideas for teaching recognition of Section A:

  • The first melody of Section A can be sung on “la” or “ba” while imitating a trumpet. Every time Section A returns, encourage them to sing along.
  • Project or print an image that Section A reminds you of. For instance, you could find an image by doing an internet image search for “English hunting scene.”
  • Ask the students to draw what they imagine when they hear section A. As they listen, they raise their pictures in the air whenever they hear Section A.

Click for worksheet (on another page) –>

Mozart: Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major, K. 331, Movement 3: “Rondo Alla Turca”

“Rondo Alla Turca” means “Turkish Music.” In this case, Section B is the recurring section.

Form = A B C B A B Coda
(see more in-depth explanation of form)

Listen to the different instrumentations and versions:

Beethoven: Für Elise

Form =  A B A C A

Leroy Anderson: Sleigh Ride

Form = Intro A B A C A B A Coda

Leroy Anderson: Syncopated Clock

Form = A B A Interlude C A

Rondo Cards

(See downloads at bottom of page. Each worksheet number has a corresponding button.)








Worksheets / Assessments

(See downloads at bottom of page. Each number has a corresponding button.)



See also

  1. ABC Rondo Cards (square)
  2. ABC Rondo Cards (different shapes)
  3. Rondo Form Worksheet – Fill in Boxes
  4. Rondo Form Worksheet – Cut out Boxes
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