The baroque dances, chaconne and passacaglia are examples of continuous variations.
Of Hispanic origin - according to some Hispanic American - the chaconne is based on a short, repetitive harmonic plan. This chaconne, attributed to Tomaso Antonio Vitali, presents us the basic harmonic plan that we find in many chaconnes: a descending movement from tonic to dominant. The first measures:
We find a variation of this harmonic plan repeated on 63 occasions in the Chaconne for solo violin by J. S. Bach (it is part of the Partita BWV 1004). Here are the first 4 measures:
The dominant chord is very clear in measures 4 to 8 (the first variation):
In measure 17 - fourth variation - Bach uses a chromatic movement to go from tonic to dominant:
More interesting variations will appear, like the one in measure 109:
A D major central section begins in measure 133: