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Mozart Sonata No 16 Analysis Essay

1 Tanner Lundquist Comp. Musicianship 4 Dr. Henson 25 April 2013 Analysis of Mozart’s Sonata in C Major: Movement I Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote many piano sonatas in his time, but few are as popular as No. 16 in C major, K. 545. It is well known especially because it is a “beginners” piece, used often by teachers and students. It is even known as the “Sonata facile” (easy sonata) for its simplicity compared to other piano sonatas. Mozart’s reason for writing the Sonata are unknown, but it was most likely nothing more than a piece for his students. The Frst movement is in the key of C major, written in classic sonata form. In sonata form, there is thematic and harmonic material presented in the exposition which is then developed further in the development section. ±inally, the recapitulation resolves the harmony of the development and brings back the thematic material of the exposition. Sonatas may be opened with an introduction and may end with a coda or codetta. The Frst movement begins in the tonic key, introducing the primary thematic material in the right hand with an Alberti bass accompaniment in the left hand. The harmonic movement extends the tonic tonality of C in a circle progression. This opening theme takes place over the Frst four measures. Then, the theme is concluded with a series of scales in a type of embellished sequence. This “bridge” passage modulates to

Piano Sonata in C major
No. 16
by W. A. Mozart

The beginning

Other nameSonata facile
KeyC major
CatalogueK. 545
StyleClassical period
Composed1788 (1788)
MovementsThree (Allegro, Andante, Rondo)

The Piano Sonata No. 16 in C major, K. 545, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was described by Mozart himself in his own thematic catalogue as "for beginners", and it is sometimes known by the nickname Sonata facile or Sonata semplice.[1]

Mozart added the work to his catalogue on June 26, 1788, the same date as his Symphony No. 39. The exact circumstances of the work's composition are not known, however. Although the piece is well-known today, it was not published in Mozart's lifetime and first appeared in print in 1805. A typical performance takes about 14 minutes.

The music[edit]

The work has three movements:

  1. Allegro
  2. Andante
  3. Rondo

1. Allegro[edit]

The first movement is written in sonata form and is in the key of C major. The familiar opening theme is accompanied by an Alberti bass, played in the left hand.

A bridge passage composed of scales follows, arriving at a cadence in G major, the key in which the second theme is then played. A codetta follows to conclude the exposition, then the exposition is repeated. The development starts in G minor and modulates through several keys. The recapitulation begins, unusually, in the subdominant key of F major. According to Charles Rosen, the practice of beginning a recapitulation in the subdominant was "rare at the time [the sonata] was written", though the practice was later taken up by Franz Schubert.[2]

2. Andante[edit]

The second movement is in the key of G major, the dominant key of C major. The music modulates to the dominant key of D major, and then back to G major in which the exposition is heard again. For the development, the music modulates to G minor, then B♭ major, then C minor, then G minor and finally back to G major, at which point the recapitulation occurs followed by a short coda.

3. Rondo[edit]

The third movement is in rondo form and is in the tonic key, C major. The first theme is lively and sets the mood of the piece. The second theme is in G major and contains an Alberti bass in the left hand. The first theme appears again and is followed by a third theme. The third theme is in a minor key and modulates through many different keys before modulating into C major. The first theme appears again followed by a coda and finally ends in C major.

The finale was transposed to F major and combined with a solo piano arrangement of the second movement of the violin sonata in F major to form the posthumously compiled and thus spurious Piano Sonata in F major, K. 547a.




External links[edit]

Piano sonatas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Piano Solo
  • No. 1 in C major, K. 279/189d
  • No. 2 in F major, K. 280/189e
  • No. 3 in B♭ major, K. 281/189f
  • No. 4 in E♭ major, K. 282/189g
  • No. 5 in G major, K. 283/189h
  • No. 6 in D major, K. 284/205b
  • No. 7 in C major, K. 309/284b
  • No. 8 in A minor, K. 310/300d
  • No. 9 in D major, K. 311/284c
  • No. 10 in C major, K. 330/300h
  • No. 11 in A major, K. 331/300i
  • No. 12 in F major, K. 332/300k
  • No. 13 in B♭ major, K. 333/315c
  • No. 14 in C minor, K. 457
  • No. 15 in F major, K. 533/494
  • No. 16 in C major, K. 545
  • No. 17 in B♭ major, K. 570
  • No. 18 in D major, K. 576
Two pianists
Spurious and doubtful

List of solo piano compositions by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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