Lecture 9 - Sonata-Allegro Form: Mozart and Beethoven

author: Craig Wright, Department of Music, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: May 21, 2010,   recorded: October 2008,   views: 6200
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)

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A brief foray into the formal characteristics of contemporary popular music is used to launch this lecture on musical form. After a discussion of the "verse-chorus" form often used in popular music, Professor Wright proceeds to take students into the realm of classical music, focusing particularly on ternary form and sonata-allegro form. Throughout his detailed explanation of sonata-allegro form, he also elaborates upon some harmonic concepts describing, for example, the relationship between relative major and minor keys. This lecture draws its musical examples from 'N Sync, Mozart, and Beethoven.

Reading assignment:

Wright, Craig. Listening to Music, chapter 17, pp. 209-212 and 237-247


Professor Wright's course contains copyrighted material, including portions of musical works, the use of which may not have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. In making this content available, we have relied on fair use as provided for in section 107 of the United States Copyright Law. We make no representation that your use, reuse or remixing of this content will constitute fair use or that by using, reusing or remixing this content you will not infringe upon the rights of others. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes that exceed fair use or wish to use such material in a manner that is not authorized under the applicable copyright law, you must request permission from the copyright owner.

Special thanks to Naxos, LLC for providing recordings from the Notes - Naxos Music Library for use in connection with the Open Yale Courses publication of Craig Wright's Listening to Music course. For specific credits, see: Naxos Music Credits - Lecture 9 [PDF]

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Reviews and comments:

Comment1 Albert Sanchez Moreno, October 27, 2010 at 2:07 a.m.:

All of the music videos are taking forever to load today, and they are constantly freezing up. This wasn't a problem yesterday.

Comment2 mik campbell, October 27, 2010 at 10:42 p.m.:

I've noticed that sometimes their is no video, just audio. To rectify this I have to duplicate the tab.

Also the video seems to stop intermittently and go back to the start at various points throughout the video, and then i'm unable to play the video again without either opening in a new IE or duplicating the tab.

If the web developer responsible for this site is out there, I beleive this is due to the site using an older version of JW player. Apparently the newer version fixes these issues. I'm using windows 7 64 bit by the way, and IE 8 if that helps.

Comment3 mik campbell, October 28, 2010 at 12:54 a.m.:

I have one question regarding this lecture.

He talks about going to the dominant fifth key if the first part (a) is in a major key, and going to the relevant major key (3 semitones up) if the first part is in a minor key.

I'm a bit confused by this, is he talking about keys in the same way as he previously talked about chord progressions? eg that there are preferred progressions of key as well as preferred progressions of chords?

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