Classical Sonata Form In The Classical Period Essay

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Sonata Form in the Classical Period

Michael Kramer
Classical Music History
Professor LaPorte
December 2nd, 2017

Page 1
What is the Classical Sonata-allegro form and how did it come to be? In what way does W.A. Mozart use this form in his piano works? To answer this, we must first look back at what came before the Classical Period. From 1600- 1750 A.D., we as musicians recognize this time period as the Baroque Period. Baroque meaning irregularly shaped or extravagant, describes the music of that time. Music was extremely complicated and embellished with turns; trills and other ornaments were very common. Other characteristics of Baroque music are a consistency of rhythm throughout which leads to less emphasis
Sonata form has developed from a Baroque genre into a specific form of music, which is considered an expanded binary form. A typical outline of classical sonata form has three main components; an exposition section, a development section, and a recapitulation. “There may also be an introduction, usually in slow tempo, and a coda, or tailpiece. These optional sections do not affect the basic structure…” (Jacobson, Bernard 2016). According to Scholes, a coda is “Passage added to any composition, or section of such, to give a stronger sense of finality..” (1973). It is very common for a coda to occur within a sonata-allegro based movement to put emphasis on the movement or section. Codas were a composer’s tool that helped to create a sense of familiarity or a review of previous material, however the absence or presence of a coda is not a necessary ingredient of the sonata form. These three movements are based off of melodic themes and tonal center changes and the harmonic battle between stability and instability.
This is where all of the tension and instability releases and the themes presented in the exposition are presented in a slightly different and shorter way in the tonic key. “The recapitulation… is the “psychological climax” of the sonata-allegro form,” (K. Forney, 2015). All in the tonic key, the sense of a home tonality is re-established to release the tension built up in the development, which causes a rising sense of excitement. The first theme is played, followed by the bridge, next the second theme finally followed by a closing theme with or without a coda, or tail all in the tonic key ending with a cadence in the home

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