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The Sonata


Part of Cambridge Introductions to Music

  • Date Published: March 2011
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521756310

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About the Authors
  • What is a sonata? Literally translated, it simply means 'instrumental piece'. It is the epitome of instrumental music, and is certainly the oldest and most enduring form of 'pure' and independent instrumental composition, beginning around 1600 and lasting to the present day. Schmidt-Beste analyses key aspects of the genre including form, scoring and its social context - who composed, played and listened to sonatas? In giving a comprehensive overview of all forms of music which were called 'sonatas' at some point in musical history, this book is more about change than about consistency - an ensemble sonata by Gabrieli appears to share little with a Beethoven sonata, or a trio sonata by Corelli with one of Boulez's piano sonatas, apart from the generic designation. However, common features do emerge, and the look across the centuries - never before addressed in a single-volume survey - opens up new and significant perspectives.

    • Provides the first one-volume survey of the sonata, allowing students and performance professionals to gain a deep insight into a genre with which they are in constant contact
    • Includes detailed analyses of selected works or movements, presenting readers with a study tool for analysing formal patterns transcending the genre of the sonata itself
    • Encourages readers to think about overarching historical developments beyond conventional pigeonholing in periods or style, for example by seeing the Baroque trio sonata and the Classical piano sonata side by side
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This book packs a lot in and is highly recommended for the careful reader.' Music Teacher

    'This volume seems particularly relevant to first-year undergraduates, who will surely fall upon its jargon-free vocabulary and crystal-clear layout with delight … as a history of works called sonatas, this keenly-focused study is essential reading.' The Musical Times

    '5 stars: In this outstanding book Schmidt-Beste covers every conceivable aspect of sonata history.' Classical Music

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521756310
    • length: 278 pages
    • dimensions: 246 x 175 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.55kg
    • contains: 12 tables 45 music examples
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Definitions:
    1. Sonata and canzona
    2. Sonata and sinfonia
    3. Sonata and concerto
    4. Sonata and suite/partita
    5. The sonata and free instrumental genres: toccata - ricercar - capriccio - fantasia
    Part II. Form:
    6. The 'free' sonata in the seventeenth century
    7. Corelli and his legacy
    8. Sonata cycles and 'sonata form' after 1750
    9. Beethoven's sonatas - consummating or transcending Classical form?
    10. The cycle
    11. The sonata after Beethoven
    12. Sonata composition in the twentieth century
    Part III. Functions and Aesthetics:
    13. Locations and occasions
    14. Target groups: professionals, connoisseurs and amateurs
    15. Learned style
    16. Virtuosity
    17. Sonata form as an aesthetic paradigm
    18. Absolute music? On meaning and programmaticism
    Part IV. Scoring and Texture:
    19. Developments in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
    20. The paradigm shift of c.1750
    21. The age of the piano sonata
    22. Piano and others
    23. The sonata for unaccompanied solo instrument
    24. The organ sonata

  • Author

    Thomas Schmidt-Beste, University of Wales, Bangor
    Thomas Schmidt-Beste is Professor and Head of Music at Bangor University, North Wales.

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