Rondo Form


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 often difficult for non-musicians 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! The form in this version is: ABACADABA. 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:
form boxes


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

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

The form is ABACABA. 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.

Henry Purcell: Abdelazer Suite, II. Rondeau

This is the theme used by Benjamin Britten for the “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.” In the listening examples below, Section A has a strong trumpet part, which makes it easier to recognize. The form is ABACA.

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

Again, Section A has a strong trumpet part (in these listening versions below), which makes it easy to determine the form, which is ABACA.

Campra: Tancrède – Triumphal March

Here’s another one with Section A with a loud trumpet! Again, another ABACA!

Rondo Alla Turca

See this page

Rondo Worksheets

Available on this page


See also

Extras for Plus Members

  • Printable ABC Cards (PDF)

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