What Is A Piano Sonata?
A piano sonata can mean different things – for instance a short, four-minute, one movement piece; or a five movement work of epic proportions.
However, during the Classical era, sonatas had certain easily identifiable traits. In Haydn’s, Mozart’s, Beethoven’s or Schubert’s time, a sonata mostly had three or four movements: a quick one to start with, a slow second movement, perhaps a scherzo or minuet as third movement, and then another fast movement as a finale.
The first movement, and perhaps one or two of the other ones, were composed using the so called sonata form. Other common sonata movements could be a Rondo (often used as a last movement) or a set of variations.
Popular Piano Sonatas?
Scarlatti: Sonata in E major, L 23
Watch: Horowitz plays Scarlatti
Chopin: Sonata in B flat minor
Watch: Funeral March from Chopin’s sonata in b flat major
Schubert: Sonata in A major, D 959