New Sonata Form

Keys
A while back I published a blog on how all the musical keys reflected a certain color or character, referencing Goethe’s color wheel. You can find it here:
http://zarathustra574.blogspot.com/2015/01/musical-keys-and-goethes-color-wheel.html

Now I want to discuss about how to use these keys in a new sonata form, my sonata form for my future music. Sonata form was an ubiquitous way Classical and Romantic composers wrote instrumental music Just as…

Fictional books have:
Introduction à rising action à climax à denouement

Plays have:
Act I (introducing characters and plot) à Act II (darkest moments or greatest problems) à Act III (climax and resolution)

Theses generally have:
Introduction à body of research à analysis à conclusion

Hero’s Journey has:
Hero leaves hometown à hero navigates strange land to fight a rival or monster à hero dies or goes through a lowest point à hero defeats rival or monster and returns to hometown

Similarly, sonata form follows a similar narration or argumentation. It is in binary form, which means it is divided in two parts (that may or may not repeat). It starts with a theme in a home key. Ze modulates (or changes) to another theme in another key and makes some closing statements in that same key. Ze goes through a development section (where the composer changes different keys and explores the musical material). In the recapitulation where ze restates the two themes but everything is back in the home key. Ze then concludes the piece.

Most Classical and Romantic instrumental music comes in four movements, or parts. The first movement is usually the most complicated, and is said to represent strife or argumentation. The second movement is slower and gentler, and is said to represent thought. The third movement is faster and more playful, and is said to represent play. The fourth movement is usually as fast as the first movement if not faster, and is said to represent a conclusion or rejoining with the community.

Sonata form and movements were typically composed this way. I will use C major as the home key.

Sonata form:
1st theme – C major
2nd theme – G major
Development – (Any key)
1st theme recap – C major
2nd theme recap – C major

Movements:
1st movement – C major
2nd movement – F major
3rd movement – C major
4th movement – C major

Sonata form and movements in minor keys typically went this way:

Sonata form:
1st theme – c minor
2nd theme – Eb major
Development – (Any key)
1st theme recap – c minor
2nd theme recap – C major

Movements:
1st movement – c minor
2nd movement – Eb major
3rd movement – c minor
4th movement – c minor

I want to recreate sonata form for myself. I want my keys to relate to major and minor thirds, both in sonata form and between movements. It is more versatile, covers much more of the keyboard, and is more exciting.

I will show two different key progressions: one in C major progressing in intervals of major thirds, the other in c minor progressing in intervals of minor thirds. These keys are not meant to be set in stone, but they give me an idea of how to write new music.

I will show two versions of sonata form. The first version is the usual sonata form I just showed you. The second version is sonata form where the development is greatly fused with the 1st theme recap or the development doesn’t exist at all.

For major keys…

Sonata form (1st version):
1st theme – C major
2nd theme – E Major
Development – Ab/ab maj/min
1st theme recap – C major
2nd theme recap – A major
Coda – C major

Sonata form (2nd version):
1st theme – C major
2nd theme – E Major
Dev/1st recap – Ab/ab maj/min
2nd theme recap – C major
Coda – C major

Movements:
1st movement – C Major
2nd movement – Eb major
3rd movement – A/a maj/min
4th movement – C Major

For minor keys…

Sonata form (1st version):
1st theme – c minor
2nd theme – Eb major
Development – F#/f# maj/min
1st theme recap – a minor
2nd theme recap – C major
Coda – c minor

Sonata form (2nd version):
1st theme – c minor
2nd theme – Eb major
Dev/1st recap – F#/f# maj/min
2nd theme recap – A major
Coda – c minor

Movements:
1st movement – c minor
2nd movement – A major
3rd movement – Eb/eb maj/min
4th movement – c minor

There are still yet other key combinations. My second idea is to play all of the keys in sonata form and movements as I showed above, except in reverse order. So in sonata form it would go like C à Ab à E/e à C à C for major keys and c à A à F#/f# à eb à C à c for minor keys.

My only concern is with the order of my minor keys. I worry that if the 1st theme recap is not in the home key (c minor in this case) it won’t create the adequate feeling of homecoming so essential in sonata form, or at least most versions of it. If this is the case, then I have a slightly altered plan as backup:

Sonata form (1st version):
1st theme – c minor
2nd theme – Eb major
Development – F#/f# maj/min
Retransition – a minor
1st theme recap – c minor
2nd theme recap – C major
Coda – c minor

I hope I can try this out with my music soon. Let’s see how it turns out.

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