Classical Music Sonata Form
Sonata Form describes the structure of a piece of music. It is so called because most Classical sonatas were constructed in this form The 1st movement of most Classical symphonies and concertos would also be written in sonata form. At its most basic, a piece in sonata form can be divided into three main sections: Exposition Development Recapitulation
Exposition This is where the main themes (subjects) of the piece are introduced. 1st Subject 2nd Subject Bridge Modulates In a new key In tonic/home key
Development This is where the composer develops, or plays about with a small phrase or section from the Exposition. The music will modulate, moving through a variety of keys. Eventually, these modulations will return the key to the original tonic.
Recapitulation This is just a fancy word for ‘repeating’. The composer repeats the main themes from the Exposition. However, the bridge passage is altered so that it no longer modulates, but remains in the home key. The second subject also remains in the home key.
CODA This is a short section at the end of the movement to finish it off. It will probably feature lots of perfect cadences (V-I) just to make a point!