What is a sonata?

Evgenia Perebasova
Evgenia Perebasova
March 7, 2015
What is a sonata?

The word sonata comes from the Italian "sonata" (sonata) or the Latin "sonare", which translates as "sounds". If we talk about the definition of the sonata, then at different times the word had different meanings.

Let's talk about them in more detail.

What is a sonata: the definition

At present, the sonata is a musical genre in which the work is written for performance on one or two musical instruments. A musical work is characterized by one artistic idea, but consists of several contrasting parts.

For the first time, Spanish composers began to call their works sonatas in the 16th century. Until the 17th century, sonatas were called instrumental pieces, and vocals were called “cantata”; at that time, the sonatas were polyphonic (for several instruments).

Sonatas have been written and written for various instruments: for example, there are solo piano sonatas or sonatas for violin / cello and piano. The well-known sonatas of Beethoven (for example, "Moonlight Sonata"), Schubert, Chopin, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky and other composers.

The composition of the sonata

Most sonatas consist of three parts:

  • The first part is a distinctive feature of the sonata and is characterized by the greatest intensity, pace and urgency. This part of the sonata is written in a special musical form - sonata. It, in turn, consists of a tie (exposure), development (development), and a result (reprise).
  • The second part is usually slow. She calmly and smoothly develops the thoughts and feelings of the first part.
  • The finale - the third part of the sonata - sums up. Usually sustained in rapid motion and necessarily contains the conclusion, the logical conclusion of the work.

In addition to the three-part sonatas, there are one-part sonatas (for example, the Franz Liszt Sonata “After Reading Dante”), two-part and four-part ones.

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