Chopin Sonata NO. 3

Powerful Essays
MUS 404: Keyboard Literature

June 22, 2010

Piano Sonata No. 3 in b minor, Op. 58 by Frédéric Chopin

Chopin’s third sonata is a masterwork filled with pianistic elements, daring harmonies, experimental form, and a wealth of expressivity. In this four-movement work, references to other Chopin compositions and influences from fellow composers are found. At the same time, there is a progressive element; it looks forward to the heights which would be achieved by Chopin and later composers.


Chopin wrote the Sonata, Op. 58 in 1844, several months after the Berceuse, Op. 57. The Berceuse provides inspiration for the slow movement (Samson, Chopin 23). These works were written at a time when Chopin’s relationship with George Sand was coming to an end. These personal troubles, however, did not hamper his musical genius (Lederer 69). However, perhaps this turmoil is reflected in the ungraspable opening sections of the first movement and the tumultuousness of the final movement.

The sonata-allegro from was fathered by Haydn, mastered by Mozart, and experimented with by Beethoven. By the Romantic period, the sonata form was quite loose (Lederer 65 – 66). Chopin did not wish to be hampered by conventions; instead, he desired freedom in form. One of Chopin’s favorite of Beethoven sonatas is the Op. 26 in A-flat Major. He taught and played it quite often (Lederer 66). This sonata is highly unconventional. It begins with a set of theme and variations; not one of the movements is written a sonata-allegro form. It interchanges the middle movements; a scherzo precedes the slow movement, which happens to be a funeral march. Chopin’s two great sonatas (No. 2 in b-flat minor and No. 3 in b minor) are quite experimental with the sonata-al...

... middle of paper ...

...e mold of the sonata-allegro form; he is quite progressive with his harmonies, exploring distant keys and incorporating daring chromaticism. This sonata was written by Chopin at the height of his genius. It represents his triumph and mastery over form, harmonies, and the piano.


Huneker, James. Chopin: The Man and His Music. New York: Dover Publications, 1966. Print.

Lederer, Victor. Chopin: A Listener's Guide to the Master of the Piano. Pompton Plains, N.J.: Amadeus, 2006. Print.

"Piano Sonata No. 3 (Chopin)." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 21 June 2010. .

Samson, Jim. Chopin. New York: Schirmer, 1996. Print.

Samson, Jim. The Music of Chopin. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985. Print.

Whiteside, Abby. Mastering the Chopin Etudes and Other Essays. New York: Scribner, 1969. Print.
Get Access