© 2024 South Carolina Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Sonata form, Pt 1

“Sonata form” and the musical form known as the sonata are not the same thing. A sonata is a piece—usually for piano or for piano and one other instrument—that’s composed of several distinct sections called movements.

“Sonata form” refers to the structure of an individual movement, and it may be a movement of a symphony, concerto, string quartet, or indeed of any kind of piece—including a sonata. Single-movement pieces like overtures may also be in sonata form. To say that a movement is composed in sonata form means that the movement consists of three primary sections: an exposition, a development, and a recapitulation. Sonata form has its roots in various formal structures of Baroque music, but it came to full flower in the works of the three composers who define the Classical era in music—Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. We’ll talk more about sonata form tomorrow.

A Minute with Miles is a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.

Stay Connected
Miles Hoffman is the founder and violist of the American Chamber Players, with whom he regularly tours the United States, and the Virginia I. Norman Distinguished Visiting Professor of Chamber Music at the Schwob School of Music, in Columbus, Georgia. He has appeared as viola soloist with orchestras across the country, and his solo performances on YouTube have received well over 700,000 views.