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Thread: What's a typical four movement sonata cycyle?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    Smile What's a typical four movement sonata cycyle?

    Describe the "typical" four movement sonata cycle in detail. How does Beethoven's Symphony no. 5 differ from what one expects?

    i think the four movement sonata cycle includes sonata allegro form, theme and variations, minuet and trio, and rondo

    can someone help me answer this?? thank you!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008


    This positively reeks of a school test question, designed to stultify any aspirations one might have had toward actually enjoying classical music. If you are a student, please don't let it ruin you.

    My answer would depend on what time period is being discussed. Since Beethoven was mentioned, I'll assume it's the classical period.

    1. Fast movent in sonata allegro form
    2. A slow movement
    3. a dance movement (minuet - trio - minuet)
    4. Another fast movement, often a rondo or theme and variations.

    In detail? Forget it. Wikipedia is your firend. You might want to break down what sonata allegro form is.

    As for how the Fifth Symphony differs -- I'm not sure what is being requested here. The third movement is a scherzo rather than a dance movement, but it begins with an almost march-like feel. The third movement also fades immediately into the fourth movement with no breaks between, which I think may have been unusual. Also the main motif (dot dot dot daah) is threaded throughout all four movements, sometimes hiding but it's always there. This may have been unprecedented.

    I'm no music scholar so you have to take my words with a grain of salt. This question taken out of context confirms my suspicions that test scores are based more on the students' ability to read the teacher's mind than on any actual understanding of the subject.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 2008


    a typical four movements sonate is
    1. Allegro ( 100% for all of the sonates of classical period ): in principal tonal
    2. A slow movement: form " lied "( for all of the slow movements) : in relative tonal which has 2 themes A and B. There is the plan: A B A' ( the tonal between A and B is relative )
    3. A menuet : It's form menuet - trio - da capo ( Da capo means the menuet comes back but no reprise ). This form become Scherzo with Beethoven.
    4. A form sonate or rondo- sonate or variations etc

    Those are the 4 movements in a sonate ( or in a symphony : a big sonate for l'orchestra)
    I think the symphony of Beethoven which has 5 movements is the sixth

  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2013


    Very helpful information. As I am studying Brahms clarinet quintet in b minor, it really is interesting to see the compositional similarities as well as differences between these two composers.

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