The sonata has had a kingpin place throughout the history of music, especially in the Classical era, when it took special prominence. Originally, “sonata” comes from the Italian for “played,” as opposed to “cantata,” meaning “sung.” However, the genre’s widespread use in Classical music has precipitated much confusion over the difference between the sonata and Sonata Form. While countless pieces throughout the years have been titled “sonatas,” many of them do not contain true sonata form. A piece that is in sonata form is organized into at least three sections: the exposition (where the theme is started), the development (where the theme is played with and new ones are introduced), and the recapitulation (where the theme is reintroduced, often in a different key). The sonata can be thought of as a genre of classical music that has most commonly consisted of three movements. It should be noted here that Haydn’s keyboard sonatas, to be performed by Anne-Marie McDermott on Thursday, were sometimes known to only have two movements. Each of these movements can be considered its own piece, but it is common for only one of these movements to actually be in sonata form. In most cases, it is the first movement. In fact, this is how sonata form eventually earn the name first movement form.
Harper Beeland