(Here you can follow the exposition that the sonata Op. 14 No. 2, through the different parts being discussed in text. Friend can also read much more about the sonata HERE)

Before we start, a rapid explanation that what tonic, dominant and also subdominant is.

Every piece that us talk around on this blog (and at least 99% of the music you listen to) is in a tonality, C significant for example. That is the tonal “home” that the piece, and it will more than likely (but no always, as we candlestick see) start and end in the tonality.

Pieces therefore will, at some point, create that tonality, which an essential the item is in. After that, any type of “detour” into another tonality will destabilize the music.

The name of the tonality that is the crucial of the item is dubbed the tonic.

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Other tonalities can be closer or further away in their relationship to the tonic. The more away they are, the much more they destabilize the music.

The tonality with the closest relationship to the tonic, is the dominant, i beg your pardon is five totality tone-steps above the tonic:


The next closest relationship to the tonic is the 4th step, and also that is called the subdominant, the one under (“sub” method “under” in latin) the dominant.

Those three tonalities, the tonic, the dominant, and the subdominant space the three that most pieces run with at one phase or another.


Let’s offer Stewie a opportunity to show us how this sounds.

First, he shows us the tonic, in his, uh, song, in G Major:

Then that goes to very first the subdominant (C-chord) and dominant (D-chord):

Then that finishes off with the subdominant parallel (A minor), the tonic parallel (E minor), i m sorry are, together he says himself, also further away, then he finishes ago in the tonic. And then Brian enters and tells him how it sounds like.


It must be stated that couple of things space the absolute truth when managing style, form and anything the tries come organize other as summary as music is. Assessing music will constantly be subjective.

Form is the method that a composer decides to organize a piece so that his principles (with ideas, I average melodies, motives, modulations, passagework etc) to the right to come to be one entity.

A very common misunderstanding is come confuse type with music “necessities” in exactly how a piece of music works. For example, in what us now speak to Sonata form (a name the didn’t exist when Beethoven wrote his sonatas), many movements stop about halfway. As soon as they stop, they almost always avoid on the dominant (or, as we will see with Beethoven, an different to the dominant). Now, is that component of the form of the item or is the a musical necessity? I’d speak it’s the second. Because that over 200 years prior to Beethoven wrote his sonatas, usually all music pieces that are developed on momentum (which would exclude, for example, menuets and to a certain degree, rondos), if they avoid halfway, they stop on the dominant. How can they not? If they quit on the tonic, the item would not should continue, by our ears. Or as Stewie puts it above: we are home, in ~ the house. A piece can’t really prevent on the tonic till the end, by necessity.

Compare it to the type or architecture of a car. Would you say that having 4 wheels is component of the design? Well, it is something the designer has to take right into account, yet as part of a design, he really has no an option than come stick with four wheels. Because it’s a necessity, as with a protect against halfway in a music piece can’t finish on the tonic.

Form is more than likely the part that most consumers that music will have trouble through in timeless music, feeling it’s “difficult” or also “boring”. That’s since many times, classic composers treat form as component of what is creative in their item of music. Many listeners, not supplied to this, acquire lost and loosened attention.

Look at the type of a popular music song. In a pop song, the audience (at the very least 95% of listener I would certainly say) knows the form, and also therefore, they don’t need to pay fist to it. When a band begin playing a piece, many of us room expecting a refrain, and also we understand it doesn’t come best away, however a tiny bit right into the piece. In other words, we understand the “geography” that the piece automatically. We also know that the song will probably take roughly 3 to 5 minutes. For this reason basically, in ~ a kind that you understand by reflex, you can feel whether you choose the song or refrain, the lyrics or the sound etc. It’s rather simple.

When a classical piece starts, and the composer is using kind as a method to make the music an ext dramatic, interesting and intense, it’s simple to feel lost, due to the fact that many listeners are not supplied to listen to music the way. That doesn’t typical that girlfriend can’t put on a symphony, lean earlier and reap the sound of it, no worrying about type at all. Of course you can. I would also say the it’s a great way to listen to a symphony. Yet you are then most likely enjoying the sound colour of the orchestra and also the harmonic and melodic beauties the the piece. It’s hard to follow kind without acquiring a little much more involved, yet that involvement typically gives a strong emotional payback.

Let’s take one example, indigenous Beethoven’s Appassionata. When Beethoven beginning the item like this:


that is still in ~ what is expected, harmonically. The expression starts ~ above the tonic and also ends on the dominant. But, as soon as he then continues like this:


Beethoven basically throws whatever conventional the end of the window. Even if there has been nothing over the volume that pianissimo that has currently created a music tension. Because instead of proceeding in a pattern that would certainly be normal, i m sorry is going ago to the tonic in the second part of the phrase, he restarts the exact same phrase fifty percent a step higher. This is, even if you hear it because that the umpteenth time, a thrill. Yet it additionally makes the listener reaction something prefer “THIS to be unexpected, anything can happen, what’s next?” as contrasted to hearne to, say, the beginning of sonata op.2 nr. 3, where every little thing falls into place as expected.


The form of the sonata is not really a chart or a system with different sections to fill in. The piece of music we speak to sonatas, and with a form we now call sonata form, to be the an outcome of an advancement in music towards musical drama that is balancing two things in one and also the same piece: 1) a drama that requires a complicated interacting between sections, and also where the various characters and also sections “feed off” every other. 2) a final an outcome where all those piece together form a well balanced unity, which is greater than the sum of that is parts.

If the sounds theoretical, compare it to a relationship between humans. Two persons room different, but when they meet, their differences interact and also make the relationship an ext interesting. In the end, the two persons together as a couple are more interesting (at least as a story) and gratifying 보다 each that them independently would be.


In Sonata form, the composer creates a tension, or drama, between two (or more) sections, and also just like two people, the part react and interact to each other. This is a distinction from Baroque music: in baroque music, you absolutely have 2 sections in various moods and tempi, but…they wouldn’t develop off it as a Beethoven sonata does.


The piano and the advance of the piano was crucial to Sonata form, since the piano is, ~ all, the just instrument who can bring all the things needed: melody, accompaniment, counterpoint, harmony…at the very same time. In the piano component you have the soprano, the tenor, the orchestra and also everything else necessary to put on a high drama. And the pianist’s task is to straight all that so the the listeners feels it and also get brought away.


Now, if the composer wants to “manipulate” you through his drama, he will need tools and over all, a form to carry out it (just choose a writer or a film-maker). Let’s have actually a watch at several of the tools which will form the landscape, the kind of the music:

You will normally hear different parts as soon as a motion in sonata form is played. From beginning to end, the components are most of the moment three (there are plenty of examples where there space more, or less, than three, but these are the ones girlfriend won’t carry out too well without):

Exposition (which is frequently repeated)


Recapitulation or the “recap


The exposition: will current the different, conflicting themes, or parts, in the drama. In ~ the end of the exposition, the music comes to a stop. Once it stops, it is no in the tonality that began the piece. At this point, the music has created a case where various themes, or sections have actually been placed against each various other in difference ways, difference in much more or less subtle ways.

The development: will certainly take off as a reaction to the stress and anxiety that the exposition has actually created. It have the right to be excellent in numerous different way. Sometimes, to store the music going, the best way is to litter in a completely new melody. Periodically (quite often, actually), the composer start the breakthrough with the start of the piece, however in another tonality. As below in a quick example from the Beethoven’s first piano sonata:


and right here is the finish of the exposition, it ends at 0.20. At the point, the breakthrough starts v the design template from the beginning, played in the “new” tonality:


The recapitulation: is, in plenty of ways, the exposition play again, however with an ext or much less of a resolution to the tension. The conflicting parts will (normally) be played again, but now with an ext “flow” and less tension, mainly due to the fact that the recapitulation starts, and also ends, in the very same tonality. So when it ends (sometimes by adding a coda), that is in the tonic, and we involved a close.


The exposition has various parts, we call them various things, yet for simplicity i will contact them the following:

First theme: which have the right to be a group of themes. This is the very first “character” in our unfolding storyThis design template is in the main an essential (tonart) of the piece.

Second theme: which can be a group of themes. This is the 2nd “character” in ours unfolding storyThis layout is not in the main crucial of the piece.

Codetta: which likewise can it is in a team of themes. It brings the expositions to a close, and it will certainly solidify the new crucial of the piece.


The Sonata form is actually more of a principle, a means to think of exactly how to construct a item of music. Basically, the composer creates a problem in the beginning of a item which he needs to resolve. It reminds me a small of mathematics: my father is a mathematician, and also he has told me about how they develop a “problem” come which they have actually to uncover the formula that solves it.


Let’s take an example. This is the start (first theme) the Beethoven’s eight Symphony:https://beethovensonatas.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/beethoven8-1.mp3

Confident, full of what one could speak to “one-dimensional optimism” (something Beethoven to be a understand of creating). What have the right to possibly acquire in the way of his theme?

Well, get in second theme:https://beethovensonatas.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/beethoven8-2.mp3

It’s an ext humble, an ext hesitating.

And in just a few seconds…the see has changed to nearly being scary:https://beethovensonatas.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/beethoven8-3.mp3

Now, hear to this part of the developmenthttps://beethovensonatas.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/beethoven8-4.mp3

The very first theme, so confident in the beginning, has turned into an exceptionally dramatic character, threaten and additionally a little panicking. That is together if the music brought out the darker personality of something the was, ~ above the surface, shiny and also confident.

And the music story proceeds through the movement. As soon as the movement ends, we have actually been with a variety of characters, feelings and also developments. And still, we have actually a feeling of one single movement with a perfect balance, not a cable of various sections one after each other, placed together in a mosaic way.

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We will view along the way how Beethoven re-creates this type so that you will certainly hear that in any type of shape possible. Exactly how Beethoven do this drama unfold, how he designs it is one of the points that renders his 32 sonatas therefore special.