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Preface

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 April 2013

Thomas Schmidt-Beste
Affiliation:
University of Wales, Bangor
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Summary

What is a sonata? Literally translated, a ‘sonata’ is simply a ‘sounding piece’, or, more specifically, a piece written purely for instruments. On the face of it, little else seems to link an ensemble sonata by Giovanni Gabrieli and a piano sonata by Beethoven, or a Corelli trio sonata and John Cage's Sonatas and Interludes. This study sets out to define characteristics of compositions which were called ‘sonata’ that set them apart from other types of instrumental music and allow us to outline the development or history of a musical genre – a history marked by diversity more than uniformity, by change more than continuity.

The focus of the second chapter – the central part of the book – is on the ‘form’ of sonatas, their musical structures and textures. These include not only the familiar ‘sonata form’, although that will receive its due share of attention, but also those ‘forms’ chronologically preceding it – such as the canzona movement, the dance, the fugue, the figured bass texture in general – and those following it (serial, postmodern, historicist structures). The third chapter considers the sonata as a social and aesthetic phenomenon, considering the purpose of sonatas and who composed, played, bought and listened to them. Finally, the fourth chapter examines the scoring of sonatas, addressing such questions as: what, exactly, is a ‘trio sonata’ and how many musicians are required to play one? Why are there no keyboard sonatas before the eighteenth century?

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The Sonata , pp. xii - xiv
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2011

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  • Preface
  • Thomas Schmidt-Beste, University of Wales, Bangor
  • Book: The Sonata
  • Online publication: 05 April 2013
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511974298.001
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  • Preface
  • Thomas Schmidt-Beste, University of Wales, Bangor
  • Book: The Sonata
  • Online publication: 05 April 2013
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511974298.001
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Preface
  • Thomas Schmidt-Beste, University of Wales, Bangor
  • Book: The Sonata
  • Online publication: 05 April 2013
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511974298.001
Available formats
×