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A Musical Form found mostly in Classical Music in which there is a theme, for which embellished, simplified, complexified, or otherwise altered versions are composed. Generally speaking, it is customary to perform the theme first, followed by the variations, in an order specified by the composer.

This form is related to the Passacaglia a.k.a. Chaconne, which seems like a derivative idea of this form but actually predates it (though the idea of making variations on stuff of course predates both).

Sometimes, an entire soundtrack is built off of this concept: see Theme and Variations Soundtrack.

Examples are very common in Classical Music, but here are some notable ones:

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