Allegro[ edit ] The first movement is written in sonata form and is in the key of C major. The familiar opening theme is accompanied by an Alberti bass , played in the left hand. A bridge passage composed of scales follows, arriving at a cadence in G major , the key in which the second theme is then played. A codetta follows to conclude the exposition , then the exposition is repeated. The development starts in G minor and modulates through several keys. The recapitulation begins, unusually, in the subdominant key of F major.
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It usually has the same words, too. The verses are usually softer, with different lyrics, but the tune stays similar from verse to verse. Sonata structure, though pretty different from pop structure, makes more sense once you understand that popular music is generally based on pre-existing structures. It worked the same way in the s and s too.
Sonata form was like the pop form of back in the day. A return to the main theme s. Sonata Form: Exposition The exposition is where the main idea of the piece is heard.
A basic sonata exposition generally includes not one but two main themes. And those themes are divided by a transition kind of like a verse in pop music.
The themes are then capped off by a codetta a mini-ending that wraps everything up nicely. Almost all sonata expositions are repeated start to finish. This theme is written in the home key the tonic , which is C major. The second theme is almost always in a different key — usually the dominant, or the fifth note from the original starting key. So in this Mozart Sonata, we start in the key of C major, and the second theme is in the key of G major the dominant — 5 notes away. So another point of the transition is to move us from one key to another — in this case, from C major to G major.
Mozart accomplishes this by moving our ears through various scales and chords, until he finally lands on a G chord. Like the first theme, the tune here is catchy and simple. There are some similarities to the first theme as well, like a fast-moving left hand.
The second part of the second theme switches things up to a bunch of arpeggio-like movements. This is similar to the transition, which were a bunch of scale movements. Just another reason to practice your scales and arpeggios, everyone! From there, we do a brief tour of the key of A minor a natural relative to our original key of C major.
Then, when we move on to repeat the whole exposition again, the return is immediately noticeable. Developments generally get dark and uneasy.
First, instead of the first and second themes being in different keys, composers would have them both be in the same key. This was a super rare and unusual thing to do at the time — way to go, Mozart, for breaking the rules! The codetta is also identical but in the key of C , and we end the recapitulation on a very solidifying perfect cadence. Definitely check out a performance of the sonata in full.
Piano Sonata No.16 in C major, K.545 (Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus)
Piano Sonata No. 16 (Mozart)