In the late 1700’s and early 1800’s the Baroque period gave way to the classical era, introducing many revolutionary new scientific discoveries and theories. This drastically changed the peoples social views and brought on the “age of enlightenment.” With this change in social philosophy came changes in musical trends. One of the most important new trends of the time was a more common use of the sonata. During the Classical era, the sonata evolved into a more restricted role, and in doing so, embodied the new style of musical form for the time.
The sonata originated in Italy and gradually gained popularity over the rest of Europe. During the Baroque period the sonata was composed of several dance movements, however, in the Classical era it changed to a fast-slow style movement, with each movement composed in one of four forms popular during the Classical period. These forms consisted of sonata-allegro, rondo, ternary, and theme and variations. Through history many characteristics of the sonata have remained unchanged; “most sonatas have been instrumental music, without voice parts, absolute music without program; concert or divisional music, without social function; solo or chamber music for one to four players, without or multiple performance of the parts; cyclic music, in two to four movements rather than one; and broadly conceived music, exhibiting some of the most extended designs of absolute music”(Newman 479).
The sonata was played by, and written for, amateur musicians who “practiced and performed for polite society in the comfort of their own homes”(Wright 196). The sonata is a type of chamber music, that gained popularity during the classical era. Sonata translates as, “something played” as opposed to it close cousin, the cantata, which means “something sung”. It was also during this time that the keyboard sonata evolved from harpsichord and clavichord and finally, to the piano (Newman 485).During 1830s the popularity o…
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