Definition of sonata form in English:

sonata form


mass noun
  • A type of composition in three sections (exposition, development, and recapitulation) in which two themes or subjects are explored according to set key relationships. It forms the basis for much classical music, including the sonata, symphony, and concerto.

    ‘a work combining orthodox sonata form and elements derived from Romanian folk music’
    • ‘Touches are varied, legato, staccato - at times both used together in separate hands, and forms include simple sonata form, minuet, rondo, and theme and variations.’
    • ‘It shows that Schubert hadn't quite come to grips with the special requirements of concerto sonata form.’
    • ‘Brahms's Violin Concerto begins with a long ritornello, but for most 19th-century composers sonata form and the fantasia were more important than the ritornello principle.’
    • ‘These works were progressive in their tendency toward a three-movement overall structure and first movements in sonata form with substantial development sections and complete recapitulations.’
    • ‘You can see why Chopin thought of it in terms of sonata form - the development of two subject groups of differing keys and character (in fact, a lot of Chopin's non-sonatas work this way).’