Are you a music enthusiast who wants to learn more about the intricacies of music theory? If yes, then you might have heard the term “double period” being thrown around in music circles. In this article, we’ll explore what exactly is meant by double period in music theory.

What is a Period?

Before we dive into what exactly a double period is, let’s first understand what a period is in music theory. In simple terms, a period refers to a musical phrase that consists of two parts – antecedent and consequent. The antecedent is the first part of the phrase that creates tension, while the consequent is the second part that resolves that tension.

What is a Double Period?

Now that we know what a period is, let’s move on to understanding what makes it “double”. A double period consists of four phrases instead of two – two antecedents and two consequents. The first three phrases create tension while the last phrase resolves it.

Structure of Double Period

A double period can be represented in an AABBCCDD structure where A and B are antecedents and C and D are consequents. The first antecedent (A) creates tension which leads to the second antecedent (B) creating even more tension. This heightened tension then resolves with the first consequent (C) which leads to the final resolution in the last consequent (D).

Examples of Double Periods

One famous example of a double period can be found in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. In this symphony, Beethoven uses a double period structure for his famous “Ode to Joy” theme.

Another example can be found in Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 11 where he uses a double period structure for his second movement.


In conclusion, a double period is a musical phrase that consists of four parts – two antecedents and two consequents, creating heightened tension before resolving it. Understanding the concept of a double period can help you appreciate the structure and complexity of music compositions even more. So, the next time you’re listening to your favorite piece of music, try identifying if it follows a double period structure!