So*na"ta(?), n. [It., fr. It. & L. sonare to sound. See Sound a noise.] (Mus.) An extended composition for one or two instruments, consisting usually of three or four movements; as, Beethoven's sonatas for the piano, for the violin and piano, etc.
The same general structure prevails in symphonies, instrumental trios, quartets, etc., and even in classical concertos. The sonata form, distinctively, characterizes the quick opening movement, which may have a short, slow introduction; the second, or slow, movement is either in the song or variation form; third comes the playful minuet or the more modern scherzo; then the quick finale in the rondo form. But both form and order are sometimes exceptional.
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Fri 17th September 2021