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The Piano Sonata in the Classical PeriodThe piano sonata was an important part of music during the Classical period It characterizes the Classical eras new trend of musical formOriginally the sonata was made up of several dance movements but then in the Classical era it changed to a fast-slow movement style each of the movements being composed in one of the forms popular during the Classical period These consisted of sonata-allegro ternary rondo and theme and variations Down through history many things characteristic of the sonata have remained the same most sonatas have been instrumental music without voice parts absolute music without program concert or divisional music without social function solo or chamber music for one to four players without or multiple performance of the parts cyclic music in two to four movements rather than one and broadly conceived music exhibiting some of the most extended designs of absolute musicNewman 479 The sonata is a genre of chamber music which increased in popularity during the classical period Generally it was played by and written for amateur musicians who practiced and performed for polite society in the comfort of their own homesWright 196 Sonata means something played as opposed to the term cantata which is something sung Also during this time the Alberti bass developed and the keyboard sonata evolved from harpsichord and clavichord and finally to the piano Newman 485 The sonata was still used at court some in the church and barely at all in the theatre These three functions are mainly ones of the Baroque era and during the Classical period the sonata took on distinctly different functions The sonata was a diversion of the amateur or dilettante a launching vehicle for the professional composer and performer a training resource for the student an occasional item in private and public concerts and a conventional music accessory in the churchNewman 486 Mostly those who simply loved to play amateurs who entertained in their homes
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