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 variations of this harmonic plan 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: