Background The term sonata was a general word for instrumental music in the Baroque. This is “sonata” as a genre. The term sonata form (also sonata-allegro, sonata principle) generally refers to pieces in the classical era and beyond. This is “sonata” as a formal pattern. Often the first work of Classical and Romantic sonatas and symphonies are in sonata-allegro form (“sonata” as genre and form). Sonata-Allegro grew out of the Da Capo aria and also the Rounded Binary form. These both have ABA structures.
The Basic Outline Please refer to diagram in book. Three main sections: Exposition- introduces themes Development- elaborates/plays with themes Recapitulation- brings keys back together Themes are also called “tonal areas” and “groups.” The basic formal design is relatively similar between pieces. The interest comes in how the composer goes about fitting the piece into the form.
The Exposition Introduces the Themes Group 1 (Theme 1, TA 1) is always in the tonic key area Group 2 is (Theme 2, TA 2) is in V in a Major key and III (sometimes v) in a minor key There is a transition or bridge in between the two groups that destabilizes the key There can be an introduction before the first key comes in The exposition typically ends at a repeat sign
Haydn Piano Sonata No. 4 This exposition begins with the first group. There is no introduction. The first theme is on the next slide. It’s ends with the full G-major cadence in measure 7. Immediately following that is the beginning of the transition.
Transition Transitions often start off like the original theme It can be tricky to identify exact boundaries of the transition Listen for a destablization of the key. This is typically going to V or III, and often ends with a V/V.
Haydn’s Transition Note it starts like theme, ends of V/V.
Second Theme This will start in the secondary key area (V or III) It may have some similarities to the first group, but should be notably different. Think of the “B” section in a rounded binary form. By the end, there will be a strong cadence in the secondary key area.
Haydn’s Second Theme It starts with the same descending figure, but is different in texture and key area It ends with a cadence in D (V)
Codettas Some (not all) Sonata forms have codettas at the end of the Exposition. Because we had an authentic cadence in the secondary key at the end of the second theme, and because the new section has a different texture, we can call this a codetta. Codettas (and codas) are closing sections that do not modulate, but merely act to extend the phrase or wrap up a section.
The exposition We have introduced two themes in opposing keys These were connected with a transition that grew out of the original theme After the second theme, we heard a short codetta in the secondary key area The exposition ended with a repeat
Development The development section is the least formalized It has the most variation between forms This gives composers the opportunity to pair the themes, expand upon them, transpose them to different keys, and explore their creativity. Most analyses of developments focus on sources of thematic material, study of key areas, and repetition. There is often a lot of quickly-changing harmonic activity.
Haydn’s Development This starts in the V key area (D major) We hear Theme 1 in V Measure 35 introduces an F-natural, taking us to the key area of C major We hear a statement of Theme 2 in IV (C major) in measure 36 This then goes through a chromatic modulation (C- natural becomes C#) in measure 41. This takes us to D major Another chromatic modulation in m. 45 takes us to e.
Dev. (cont.) and Retrans After modulating to e-minor, we hear a statement of the codetta in e. Measure 54 gives us a cadence in e After that, we start to get back to G major This is the retransition- a section that takes you back to the original tonic The retransition marks the end of the development This retransition uses a circle of 5ths to return to G major (mm. 54-58)
Recapitulation In the recapitulation, we hear both themes again, much like the exposition However, the second theme is “recomposed” in I, instead of V Some sections from the exposition may be shortened (since we’ve already heard them before) Analyses of the recapitulation typically focus on differences between the expo and the recap There may also be a coda (or codetta)
Haydn’s Recapitulation We hear the original theme in G major again It is a few measures shorter than in the Expo The original transition, which modulates to A (V/V) now modulates to D (V/I) through a chromatic modulation Note the chromatic modulations were introduced in the development A section changed in the Recap to fit a new key area is called the recomposition This allows the second theme to start in G major (I)instead of in D major (V)
Recap Codetta The codetta from the exposition is maintained and recomposed in the home key
Terms to know Exposition Recomposition Development Group Recapitulation Transition Introduction Coda Codetta Retransition
Further Reading Reading: New Grove Article (available online) Charles Rosen- The Sonata Principle Wikipedia article (uses same Haydn example) Available on e-brary Gordon Sly- Keys to the Drama Hepokoskiand Darcy- Elements of Sonata Theory VandeMoortele- Two-Dimensional Sonata Form
Try a Sonata Analysis In the assignment folder, there will be a score for another Haydn sonata in G major (#8) There is also a worksheet with some questions. On the second sheet will be the answers with a little more explanation Complete the worksheet and check your answers to see if you understand things. If not, formulate some questions about what’s confusing you.