Two or more phrases can be organized into a period. The two most common types of periods are the parallel and contrasting periods.

The parallel and contrasting periods have these characteristics in common:

  1. They have two phrases.
  2. The first phrase ends with an inconclusive cadence (deceptive, half cadence or imperfect authentic cadence).
  3. The second phrase ends with a perfect authentic cadence.

The two phrases in Bach's minuet have these characteristics so they form a period. But is it a parallel or a contrasting period?

NOTE: Not all authors use the same terminology. Sometimes the word period is used to refer to a phrase or a section.


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