Essay on Piano Sonata

Essay on History of Piano Sonata
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  PIANO SONATA -   Middle to late 18 th  century: composers wrote keyboard sonatas to meet the demands of amateurs for music to be played at home or small gatherings -   Domenico Scarlatti: o   One of the most active composers, wrote 555 sonatas o   His sonatas were written in balanced binary form and had one or two movemnts (unlike the sonatas described by Koch) -   CPE Bach:    Another important composer of keyboard sonatas    Exem plified the “empfindsam style”: emotional and surprising character comprised of abrupt harmonic and textural changes    Dramatic melodic turns and pauses -   1793: Heinrich Koch wrote and essay on composition and defined sonata or “1 st    mov” form as an expanded binary form comprised on three large periods:      1 st   period: presents thematic ideas, moving from the tonic to the dominant.    2 nd  period: states de opening theme on the dominant followed by harmonic digression, ending on dominant chord that transitions to the final period.    3 rd  period: Restates the material of the first period but begins and ends in tonic. -   Piano Sonata in A Major, K. 331, Mozart, 1783:    Follows thematic and formal structure described by Koch    1 st   theme comprised in three characters: o   Singing melody w alberti bass accompaniment o   Contrapuntal style o   Hunting style w horn imitation in left hand    The use of primary, transitional, secondary and closing themes to construct the rounded binary form with three periods allowed composers to present a variety of ideas and expression with the elegant aesthetic of the classical era.    Mozart’s cr eativity in combining styles that were popular at the time satisfied the performer and the form was a showcase for his skill to do so. -   Sonata in c minor (“Pathetique”), Beethoven, 1798:      15 years later, Beethoven expanded piano sonata’s structure, characte r and unity btw movms.    Wrote many of his sonatas in 4 movms.    1 st   mov: Slow introduction marked Grave, unusual for piano sonatas More intense Allegro than it was seen before    2 nd  mov: Slow & lyrical    3 rd  mov: sonata-rondo movm. with serious characters instead of the usually light of a sonata-rondo  The principal theme of this movmt resembles the 1 st   mov. secondary theme. -   Piano sonata-fantasy no. 2 in g#minor, Op.19, Scriabin, 1897: o   Scriabin uses sonata as a basis for further expansion o   Both movements in Allegro form, improvisational style o   Contain exposition, development and recapitulation sections of the classical sonata w an innovative treatment of themes. o   1 st   mov:    Scriabin employs three principal themes linked w short transitional passages instead of using a transitional or closing theme    Used the sonata to convey a program (for this sonata he composed to convey the image of the sea)    Exposition has a traditional progression in the 1 st   two themes (g#minor to B Major)    Recapitulation stays in E Major and never returns to the tonic key.
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