Sonata Form

Sonata Form l Piano Diana

Sonata Form has 3 parts.

1. Exposition
2. Development
3. Recapitulation


Theme 1

The movement starts with the exposition. It usually has two themes with different moods. The first theme is in the keys of the piece and the other is in the dominate or relative major keys. This means the movement starts in one mood and then shifts to a related but different feeling and key. So for example, it might begin in A minor and then switch to C major. The two themes are connected by a transition section that leads from one to the next. There might be a closing theme at the end of the exposition.

Theme 2 in a different key


After starting music of the exposition, the development section explores the themes. The composer plays with different harmonies and might add accidentals or change the key (modulate).

The composer tries different ideas with his themes.


After wandering around and exploring his ideas, the composer returns to his original themes. The two main themes return, but this time the second theme stays in original key of the piece. A closing section, called a coda, might end the piece.

The composer comes back to his original themes - both in the first key of the piece.

Sonatas became popular during the 1600s. Before then composers mostly wrote works for singers, but now people became interested in music for instruments. During the classical period Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven wrote many sonatas and came up with some ideas for how a sonata should be written.

One of the ideas that became common was the sonata form. This was a way of organizing musical ideas and was usually used in the first movement of a sonata (also called the sonata allegro form).

The sonata form is just a blueprint for composers. Many sonatas break the rules and take liberties. For example, Beethoven added instructions in some of his sonatas (Pathetique). The sonata form can be found in many other types of musical works including symphonies.

Pathetique, Moonlight & , Appassionata Sonatas

To my readers, thanks for your emails regarding the Classical period of music.

Kind regards,

"Jazz washes away the dust of every day life." -- Art Blakey

History of the Orchestra

Music Museum: Orchestra l LadyDpiano

Orchestras didn't always look the way they do today. They grew over many years from a few players many centuries ago to more than 100 musicians during the 1900s. Look at the timeline to see how it happened.


Groups of instrumentalists were called consorts - later this was called chamber music. Composers didn't write music for specific instruments - parts were played by whatever instruments were available.

1597 and 1607

Gabrieli and Monteverdi wrote the first modern orchestra music. All parts were composed for specific instruments.


Violins, violas, and cellos were the most important part of Baroque orchestras. There were also usually woodwinds and a harpsichord. The conductor was often the harpsichord player or first violinist who led the orchestra while playing. Sometimes conductors stood in front and pounded out the beat with a tall pole. Orchestras only had about 20 musicians.


Keyboard instruments began to disappear from the orchestra. the strings were now divided into four sections: 1st violin, 2nd violins, viola, and cello (basses played cello parts an octave lower). Other instruments included flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, trumpets and kettle drums. Horns were added around 1750. ORchestras now had between 30-40 musicians.


During the early 1800s composers added more instruments to the orchestra, including piccolo, English horn and trombones. Improvements to brass and woodwind instruments made them sound better and stronger. The number of players increased to 80-90, depending on the piece.


Orchestras grew even larger, with some pieces calling for more than 100 players, although most instruments were the same as those in late 1800s. The percussion section was expanded and included various drums, cymbals, triangle, and keyboard percussion.

Pieces for Orchestra

Here are types of compositions you might hear at an orchestra concert.

  • Symphony - a long, complicated work that usually have 4 movements but can have 3 or 5 movements. Great symphony composers:
Brahms Mahler

  • Overture - this started as the opening music before an opera or ballet. then they were played as separate pieces at concerts - without the rest of the opera. Later composers wrote pieces called overtures that were not part of an opera or ballet.
Overture from operas:

Marriage of Figaro (Mozart)
Magic Flute (Mozart)
William Tell (Rossini)

Mendelssohn, Weber, Berlioz and Tchaikovsky wrote concert overtures.

  • Symphonic Poem - an emotional piece with only 1 movement inspired by a story, poem or artwork. Symphonic poems paint pictures with music.
  • Concerto - a flashy work for a soloist and orchestra that shows off the soloist's playing - often with lots of fast notes.

Other posts of interest:

The History of German Music

A Brief History of Jazz

Be sure and visit the new software, Song Tutor.

All the best,

"Jazz washes away the dust of every day life." -- Art Blakey

Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me: Chords

Diana Krall: Do Nothin' Til You Hear From Me l LadyDpiano

I have a few more songs left to share with you from The Best of Diana Krall song book. I am sharing the chord chart with you and of course, some chord inversions to know. I've started back to teaching and so my lesson planner is labeled with goals to achieve at all different levels. In between lesson prep, I enjoy listening to a relaxing CD of Diana's and a new artist I like, Micah Barnes. I'll be sharing about him more later on.

Chords and Lyrics: Do Nothin' Til You Hear From Me

From Stepping Out Album, 1993

Words and music by Duke Ellington and Bob Russell (1943)

Moderately Slow
Key of G
4/4 Time

                                           G  Gmaj7
Do nothin' til you hear from me,
G7                                     Cmaj7
Pay no attention to what's said,
Cm                                         G            Am7
Why people tear the seam of anyone's dream
D9               G    G#dim
Is over my head.
Am7           D9                     G  Gmaj7
Do nothin' til you hear from me.
G7                               Cmaj7
At least consider our romance;
Cm                                           G                   Am7  D9
If you should take the word of others you've heard
                 G  Am7  G
I haven't a chance.


Cm               Eb  Ebmaj7  Eb  Ebmaj7    
True I've been seen with someone new
Cm                 Eb  Ebmaj7  Eb  Eb9
But does that mean that I'm untrue
                   Am7 D7  G                E9     Gm
When we're apart the words in my heart
D                  A7             D7
Reveal how I feel about you.
                                         G  Gmaj7
Some kiss may cloud my memory
G7                                       Cmaj7
And other arms may hold a thrill
Cm                                         G          Am7  D9
But please do nothin' till you hear it from me
                       G  C  Cm  G
And you never will.

Chord Inversions:











Jazz 201

"Jazz washes away the dust of every day life." -- Art Blakey
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