Sonata form  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.


Sonata form (also sonata-allegro form) is a musical form that has been used widely since the early Classical period. While it is typically used in the first movement of multimovement pieces, it is sometimes employed in subsequent movements as well. Study of the sonata form in music theory rests on a standard definition, and a series of hypotheses about the underlying reasons for the durability and variety of the form.

The standard definition focuses on the thematic and harmonic organization of tonal materials, which are presented in an exposition, elaborated and contrasted in a development and then resolved harmonically and thematically in a recapitulation. Additionally the standard definition recognizes that an introduction and a coda may be present. Each of the sections is often further divided or characterized by the particular means by which it accomplishes its function in the form.

The sonata form, since its establishment, became the most common form in the first movement of works entitled "sonata", as well as other long works of classical music, including symphonies, string quartets and tone poems. Accordingly there is a large body of theory on what unifies and distinguishes practice in the sonata form, both within eras, and between eras. Even works which do not adhere to the standard description of a sonata form often present analogous structures, or are meant to be elaborations or expansions on the standard description.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Sonata form" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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