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Thread: Easiest piece in Sonata Form?

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    Default Easiest piece in Sonata Form?

    Hello, I'm relatively new to classical theory, and I'm wondering what are some very easy pieces that are in sonata form?

    By "easy" I mean: minimum duration, minimum number of instruments/voices, minimum harmonic complexity (or complexity otherwise). In other words, what pieces present the most "stripped down" examples of sonata form?

    Thanks for your suggestions!

    Greg

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    Quote Originally Posted by gntsketches View Post
    Hello, I'm relatively new to classical theory, and I'm wondering what are some very easy pieces that are in sonata form?

    By "easy" I mean: minimum duration, minimum number of instruments/voices, minimum harmonic complexity (or complexity otherwise). In other words, what pieces present the most "stripped down" examples of sonata form?

    Thanks for your suggestions!

    Greg
    A good place to look would be Beethoven: Piano Sonata in F minor first movement. Also, if you want a sonata form you can hear clearly you can't go wrong with the first movement of Beethoven Symphony No. 5.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Che2007 View Post
    A good place to look would be Beethoven: Piano Sonata in F minor first movement. Also, if you want a sonata form you can hear clearly you can't go wrong with the first movement of Beethoven Symphony No. 5.
    Thanks! I am certainly familiar with the 5th. I'll check out the other!

    Tbt, this is about the level I'm on
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7PfGTtUC84

    Cheers,
    Greg

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    Mozart church sonatas

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    The first movement of Eine kleine Nachtmusik is an extremely clear and simple sonata form, and the familiarity of its opening will make the exposition repeat and the recapitulation very easy to spot.

    Last edited by Mahlerian; Jun-11-2016 at 04:20.

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    Default Haydn Minor Key Symphonies

    Personally, I recommend some opening movements of Haydn's minor key symphonies. Take Symphony No. 83, known as The Hen. Minor key sonata form pieces in the Classical era are often easier to analyze because often times theme A is in "i" and theme 2 is usually a VERY contrasting theme in "III." Due to both the contrast and key difference the transition is easier to identify, and the themes are easier to recognize during the development. This also makes it easier to hear how the transition varies in the recap section to allow the second theme to now wind up in a key with the same tonal center, either "i" or "I," but in this piece "I." Classical era works also tend to make this easier to analyze because the exposition is requested to be repeated, allowing you to be able to hear the themes twice, and recognize without a doubt where exactly the exposition ends. You can usually tell, but every now and then the exposition tends to flow into the recap more smoothly than expected. Anyways, sorry for the long post but best of luck with your studies.
    https://youtu.be/wVQYc4-RsWk

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    Thanks for all these great suggestions! I've bee enjoying all of the above. In most cases, the form actually stands out pretty clearly.

    I've noticed that in the many of the earlier/shorter works, the development-recapitulation section is repeated as well as the exposition. I guess that was eliminated as compositions became more ponderous. Any thoughts on this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gntsketches View Post
    Thanks for all these great suggestions! I've bee enjoying all of the above. In most cases, the form actually stands out pretty clearly.

    I've noticed that in the many of the earlier/shorter works, the development-recapitulation section is repeated as well as the exposition. I guess that was eliminated as compositions became more ponderous. Any thoughts on this?
    The sonata form grew out of Baroque binary form (AABB), with what we now call the development being nothing more than a retransition to the starting material in many early cases (you'll find such sections lasting a mere 8-16 bars). Second-half repeats are still present throughout the mature works of Mozart and many of Haydn's (although very frequently ignored in performance, such as in the movement I linked to above), but by Beethoven's time they are gone and never to return. With the weighting of the sonata form towards longer and more complex developments and codas, the original balanced symmetry was broken. The idea of a second half repeat for the Eroica or the Fifth Symphony would be unthinkable, to say nothing of symphonic works by Schumann and Berlioz.
    Last edited by Mahlerian; Jun-12-2016 at 17:25.

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    Ah. this makes sense. For example, many movements in Bach's cello suites have a exploratory "development" feeling in the beginning of the B section.

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    I've often felt that about almost all of Scarlatti's sonatas, the second part is almost always juicier than than the first!

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    Bevo is right, The Haydn symphonies are good examples of sonata form before it got modified out of recognizability. Remember these words: Fast-Slow-Fast.

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    For the origins of sonata form(s), see Charles Rosen "Sonata Forms."

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