The Sonata in D Major by Haydn

The Sonata in D Major by Haydn

The Sonata in D Major by Haydn

The sonata in D major by Haydn features an exquisitely crafted Adagio, which is a classic Italian cantabile, enveloped from the outset by ornamental figurations. The overall mood is one of lyrical reflection and serene contentment. Its brilliantly varied harmonic surprises and pianistic sparkle make it a work of art, and the last movement, a particularly brief one, is a masterwork of irregular phrase lengths.

Bars 61-74

The second subject moves from D Major to B minor before ending with a Perfect Cadence. The second subject moves from D Major back to the tonic key, A major. This movement ends with a Double Bar and Repeat that touches both the tonic key and the A major key. The second subject then returns to D major in the tonic pedal-point (D). The movement closes with a pianissimo perfect cadence.

The development section begins with the Material of the First Subject in D major and develops through the Relative minor, B minor, and A major. The development section develops the Theme, which is varied and extended throughout the piece. The Theme then resolves in Bars 61-64 with a tonic chord. From here, the theme returns in the Dominant key.


Haydn’s Sonata in D major is an excellent example of early music written for students. Haydn attempted to follow J. P. E. Bach in ornamentation and articulation. Many of his early sonatas were written for students. The first movement, Allegro con brio, is a lively opening movement that plays in the dominant key. The second movement, titled “Contrapunto”, is in the minor key, and the final theme, in A minor, is a melodramatic slow movement.

The second section of the first movement, the ‘Rondo’, begins with a b flat chord. The cadential point is in bar 33. This bar marks the transition to a more dominant key, D-major. The bassline is now more dominant, so the melody is given greater prominence. The A section returns to the same key with no repeat signs, and the ‘A’ and ‘B’ sections are a bit longer.

Non-Chord Tones

In music, non-chord tones are notes that do not belong to a particular chord. They are sometimes referred to as embellishing tones or non-harmonic tones. They differ from chord tones in terms of how they are introduced, how they leave the same tone, and how they are placed in relation to the rest of the score. The purpose of non-chord tones is to emphasize the melody of each voice in a piece, especially in the soprano part.

The first subject in this excerpt begins in the key of G major, and then moves through B minor and D minor before returning to the tonic key, D major. The exposition continues in D major, with the Cs instead of Gs, and a half cadence in bar 23. Immediately following this cadence, the music moves into D major, and subsequently to the Dominant, A major. The perfect cadaver of the tonic key, D major, begins in bar nine.

Phrase Relationships

Although musical phrases come in a variety of sizes, styles, and textures, most share common harmonic structures and patterns. The T-PD-D-T tonal phrase model can help us identify and analyze many of the musical phrases that are found in the Western art music canon. To learn more about how to recognize phrase relationships in the composition of classical music, see the examples below. This article focuses on Haydn’s Sonata in D major.

In this excerpt, the first two phrases each have a cadence paired with a pre-dominant ii65. The second phrase follows the same pattern. The third and fourth phrases are paired together in the same key. The material from the beginning of the piece returns in the last two measures. The fourth phrase diverges from the opening four bars. However, these three-bar passages contain one cadence paired with an antecedent.


The Intermezzo in Haydn’s D Major Sonata is the most famous sonata piece by Haydn. This piece has a high register and is a parody of vapid passagework. It is played by a solo treble voice over an accompaniment of descending and ascending harmonic notes. This piece is extremely difficult to play, yet it is a dazzling achievement.

This sonata-like movement is marked by dramatic contrasts between the first and second themes. The first theme appears in the minor mode, while the second is in the major mode. The two themes are repeated several times, each in a different mode. This combination of contrasting themes conveys intense energy. The final movement is a sonata-like recapitulation, featuring a repeating motive sung by the soloist.

Presto Finale

The Presto finale of Haydn’s Piano Sonata in D Major, Hob. XVI:51, is a piece that lasts around one and a half minutes. This sonata is composed in two movements and has a tempo of 139 Beats Per Minute (Allegro). This piece is also the longest of Haydn’s piano sonatas, and it is the most famous.

The first subject is in D Major, while the second is in A Major. The first subject begins in the tonic key, D Major, and moves through Relative minor and A minor. This Theme, which consists of a continuous series of variations and a variation on the original theme, reaches the climax in D Major (Bars 61-74). At bar thirty, the first subject touches G minor, which moves into D major and ends with a perfect cadence. Finally, the music returns to the tonic key, D Major, for the coda.

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