sonata form. Type of mus. construction (sometimes known as compound binary form) normally used in 1st movt. of a sonata, sym., or conc. (and in other types of work). Used also in other movts. Regular sonata form implies 3 sections: 1. exposition (containing first subject, in tonic key, and 2nd subject, in dominant, and sometimes further subjects), often repeated and followed by 2. development (in which the material of the exposition is worked out in a kind of free fantasia), and 3. recapitulation (in which the exposition is repeated, though often with modification, and with the 2nd subject now in the tonic). The recapitulation has a coda, a peroration of moderate length though some composers, incl. Beethoven, extend it into what amounts to a 2nd development section. The basis of sonata form is key relationships.
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