Understanding Sonata Form through Model Composition

Author(s): 
Sylvia Parker
Volume: 
20
Year: 
2006
Material: 
Abstract: 

Composition is an important aid to musical understanding. The NASM handbook states that "musicians benefit significantly from study and experience in the creation of musical works. . . . It also develops the musical mind, hones analytical capacities, and develops sensitivity to the possibilities of musical structure." This paper describes a plan for guiding intermediate music theory students to hone their understanding of classical sonata structure through composition.Sonata-allegro is arguably the quintessential form in tonal music, certainly the most elaborate and prescriptive in terms of its component parts. It is deservedly the premiere form addressed in a music theory curriculum. Its study normally emphasizes description of tonal and thematic aspects, paired with analysis of selected works by master composers.