Sonata

Sonata (/səˈnɑːtə/; Italian: [soˈnaːta], pl. sonate; from Latin and Italian: sonare [archaic Italian; replaced in the modern language by suonare], "to sound"), in music, literally means a piece played as opposed to a cantata (Latin and Italian cantare, "to sing"), a piece sung.[1]:17 The term evolved through the history of music, designating a variety of forms until the Classical era, when it took on increasing importance. Sonata is a vague term, with varying meanings depending on the context and time period. By the early 19th century, it came to represent a principle of composing large-scale works. It was applied to most instrumental genres and regarded—alongside the fugue—as one of two fundamental methods of organizing, interpreting and analyzing concert music. Though the musical style of sonatas has changed since the Classical era, most 20th- and 21st-century sonatas still maintain the same structure.

Ludwig van Beethoven's manuscript sketch for Piano Sonata No. 28, Movement IV Geschwind, doch nicht zu sehr und mit Entschlossenheit (Allegro), in his own handwriting. The piece was completed in 1816.

The term sonatina, pl. sonatine, the diminutive form of sonata, is often used for a short or technically easy sonata.


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