The terms ‘arrest’ and ‘movement’, deployed by Tippett in his Third Symphony (1970–2) as part of what Kemp defines as a ‘dialectic of strong contrasts’, were in fact significant at an earlier stage of the composer’s output. Some ten years previously Arrest and Movement appears as a possible title for his Second Piano Sonata in the pencil manuscript of the work. Tippett’s notebooks further reveal how these two categories determined the formation of two distinct types of temporality in the piece: one halting or stuttering, the other flowing. Art critic Henriette Groenewegen-Frankfort’s book Arrest and Movement: an Essay on Space and Time in the Representational Art of the Ancient Near East, which was published in 1951 and which Tippett is known to have read, uses these terms to explore the relationship between spatial and temporal representation. This prompts investigation of the arrest–movement dialectic in Tippett’s Sonata along analogous lines, analysing structure, balance, and use of quasi-spatial proportions. The two threads converge by means of the criterion of ‘monumentality’, a term Groenewegen-Frankfort uses to describe works of particularly effective balance. While critical evaluation of the Sonata might suggest that this work itself falls short of ‘monumental’ stature, it is arguable that Tippett was able to carry forward lessons learned to works of his later œuvre (such as his Fourth Symphony), which do indeed approach this status.