1637- The Sonata form is one of the Forms of Orchestral Music.

In Classical Music a three movement piece of instrumental music which has turned out to be a quite successful and enduring format. In the most common format sonata (with 3 movements), the movements usually break down like this:

  • 1st Movement - Fast
  • 2nd Movement - Slow
  • 3rd Movement - Fast

However, as koreykruse recently pointed out, there are other structures, sometimes made up of four movements.

Composers who wrote Sonatas include:

Source: http://w3.rz-berlin.mpg.de/cmp/g_sonata.html Updated 06.16.04

So*na"ta (?), n. [It., fr. It. & L. sonare to sound. See Sound a noise.] Mus.

An extended composition for one or two instruments, consisting usually of three or four movements; as, Beethoven's sonatas for the piano, for the violin and piano, etc.

⇒ The same general structure prevails in symphonies, instrumental trios, quartets, etc., and even in classical concertos. The sonata form, distinctively, characterizes the quick opening movement, which may have a short, slow introduction; the second, or slow, movement is either in the song or variation form; third comes the playful minuet of the more modern scherzo; then the quick finale in the rondo form. But both form and order are sometimes exceptional.


© Webster 1913.

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