Definitions

Sonata cycle

Sonata cycle

Sonata cycle has two uses in western classical music.

  • In reference to performance or recording, it almost always means the complete traversal of a set of works by a single composer. For example a "Beethoven sonata cycle" would refer to a performer playing all of Beethoven's piano sonatas.
  • In music theory it can refer to the layout of a multi-movement work where the movements are recognizably in the forms of classical music tradition, headed by a sonata form movement, also called sonata-allegro movement, in preference to other terms that are used for the same concept. In this sense, it is a subdivision of the broader term cyclic form.

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