Mozart K 533 Analysis Essay

Mozart entered the Piano Sonata in F major, K. 533, into his "List of All my Works" on January 8, 1788. It was published in Vienna in 1788 with a revision of the Rondo, K. 494, as a finale. Mozart had completed the Rondo on June 10, 1786, and had it published in London and Speyer in 1788, separately from the Sonata. To the Rondo Mozart added a cadenza to make the movement more substantial and, therefore, a better fit with the Allegro and Andante. At this time Mozart composed relatively little music as he was preoccupied with the arrangement of a Vienna performance of Don Giovanni, for which he wrote a few new numbers.

Considered Mozart's most contrapuntal keyboard work, the Allegro has a very sparse texture and Mozart's use of dissonance is freer than in many of his other pieces. Occasionally, Mozart seems to be writing chamber music for one instrument. He exchanges material between the hands, creating a "dialogue" much as we might find in a string quartet. We hear the first example of this only a few measures into the movement at the repeat of the first theme, which occurs in the left hand instead of the right. The movement boasts one of Mozart's longest expositions in a work for solo piano, with numerous ideas in each of the two key areas. The development section presents a fascinating combination of material. In its first few measures, Mozart brings together the first two measures and the last four measures of the exposition while maintaining independence between the two motives. He uses a similar procedure during the recapitulation of one of the secondary themes, where the tune is combined contrapuntally with the opening of the first theme.

The chromatic slow movement is reminiscent of C.P.E. Bach in its ornamentation, and florid melodies, rather than those constructed of short motives, are the order of the day. What has been called Mozart's process of "increasing animation" appears throughout this movement, in which the composer gradually quickens rhythms and stretches phrases. The most fascinating passage of the Andante occurs almost exactly halfway through the movement, at the end of the development section. Persistent chromatic alterations produce strident dissonance as daring as any found in Mozart's music. The sequential nature of the material makes the passage sound even more relentless in its passage through distant harmonies on the way to a strong arrival on the tonic and the beginning of the recapitulation.

Mozart unites the Rondo finale with the preceding movement by incorporating a motive from the closing area of the Andante into the first episode. The high point of the finale is a central episode on F minor, which is really a variant of the Rondo theme. The cadenza near the end begins after an extended dominant pedal and continues to remain unstable until a strong cadence on the tonic that initiates the final reprise of the Rondo theme, although in an abbreviated form.

"Alla Turca" redirects here. For the general Turkish-inspired trend in European music, see Turkish music (style).

Piano Sonata in A major
No. 11
by W. A. Mozart

The beginning

KeyA major
CatalogueK. 331 / 300i
StyleClassical period
Composed1783 (1783)?
MovementsAndante grazioso, Menuetto, Alla turca – Allegretto
 Play (help·info)

The Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major, K. 331 / 300i, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is a piano sonata in three movements. It is uncertain where and when Mozart composed the sonata; however, Vienna or Salzburg around 1783 is currently thought to be most likely (Paris and dates as far back as 1778 have also been suggested).

The sonata was published by Artaria in 1784, alongside Nos. 10 and 12 (K. 330 and K. 332).[1]


The sonata consists of three movements:

  1. Andante grazioso
  2. Menuetto
  3. Alla turca – Allegretto

All of the movements are in the key of A major or A minor; therefore, the work is homotonal. A typical performance of this entire sonata takes about 20 minutes.[2]

I. Andante grazioso[edit]

Since the opening movement of this sonata is a theme and variation, Mozart defied the convention of beginning a sonata with an allegro movement in sonata form. The theme is a siciliana, consisting of two 8-measure sections, each repeated, a structure shared by each variation. The tempo marking is Andante grazioso (walking pace, gracefully). It is in the key of A major.


The second movement of the sonata is a standard minuet and trio movement in A major. The minuet is 40 measures long, and the trio is 52.

III. Alla turca[edit]

The last movement, marked Alla turca, popularly known as the "Turkish Rondo" or "Turkish March", is often heard on its own and is one of Mozart's best-known piano pieces. Mozart himself titled the rondo "Alla turca".[3] It imitates the sound of Turkish Janissary bands, the music of which was much in vogue at that time.[4] Various other works of the time imitate this Turkish style, including Mozart's own opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail. In Mozart's time, the last movement was sometimes performed on pianos built with a "Turkish stop", allowing it to be embellished with extra percussion effects.

The third movement is a rondo in the form A–B–C–D–E–C–A–B–C–coda, with each section (except the coda) being repeated.

Section A: This section, in A minor, consists of a rising sixteenth-note melody followed by a falling eighth note melody over a staccato eighth-note accompaniment. It is eight measures long.
Section B: This section introduces new material in a melody in thirds and eighth notes before varying the A section with a crescendo before falling back to piano.
Section C: A forte march in octaves over an arpeggiated chord accompaniment. The key changes to A major.
Section D: A piano continuous sixteenth note melody over a broken-chord accompaniment. This section is in F♯ minor.
Section E: A fortescale-like theme followed by a modification of section D.
Coda: A forte theme consisting mostly of chords (arpeggiated and not) and octaves. There is a brief piano restatement of the theme in the middle of the coda. The movement ends with alternating A and C♯ octaves followed by two A-major chords.

Relationships to later compositions[edit]

The theme of the first movement was used by Max Reger in his Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Mozart (1914) for orchestra.[5]Dave Brubeck's "Blue Rondo à la Turk" (1959) is not based on or related to the last movement.[6]

2014 autograph discovery[edit]

In 2014, a Hungarian librarian discovered four pages of Mozart's original score (autograph) of the sonata in Budapest's National Széchényi Library. Until then, only the last page of the autograph survived. The paper and handwriting of the four pages matched that of the final page of the score, held in Salzburg. The original score is close to the first edition, published in 1784.[7] However, in the first movement, in bars 5 and 6 of Variation V, the rhythm of the final eight note of the bar was altered by various editions throughout time. In the menuetto, the last quarter beat of bar 3 is a C-sharp in most editions, but in the autograph an A is printed.[8]Zoltán Kocsis gave the first performance of the discovered score in September 2014.[9]


External links[edit]

Piano sonatas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Piano Solo
  • No. 1 in C major, K. 279/189d
  • No. 2 in F major, K. 280/189e
  • No. 3 in B♭ major, K. 281/189f
  • No. 4 in E♭ major, K. 282/189g
  • No. 5 in G major, K. 283/189h
  • No. 6 in D major, K. 284/205b
  • No. 7 in C major, K. 309/284b
  • No. 8 in A minor, K. 310/300d
  • No. 9 in D major, K. 311/284c
  • No. 10 in C major, K. 330/300h
  • No. 11 in A major, K. 331/300i
  • No. 12 in F major, K. 332/300k
  • No. 13 in B♭ major, K. 333/315c
  • No. 14 in C minor, K. 457
  • No. 15 in F major, K. 533/494
  • No. 16 in C major, K. 545
  • No. 17 in B♭ major, K. 570
  • No. 18 in D major, K. 576
Two pianists
Spurious and doubtful

List of solo piano compositions by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Beginning of the third movement
  1. ^Irving, John (2013). Understanding Mozart's Piano Sonatas. Ashgate. p. 54. ISBN 9781409494096. 
  2. ^Robins, Brian. Piano Sonata No. 11 in A Major ("Alla Turca") K. 331 (K. 300i) at AllMusic. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
  3. ^John Thompson's Modern Course for the Piano: The Fifth Grade Book. The Willis Music Company; Cincinnati, Ohio, 1952.
  4. ^Schmidt-Jones, Catherine. "Janissary Music and Turkish Influences on Western Music", 10 May 2010
  5. ^"Max Reger's Mozart Variations", presented by Walter Parker, Vermont Public Radio, 19 March 2012
  6. ^Sleeve notes to Time Out,
  7. ^Kozinn, Allan (1 October 2014). "A Mozart Mystery: Sonata Manuscript Surfaces in Budapest". The New York Times. p. C4. 
  8. ^"K. 331 Sonata in A major". Retrieved 12 January 2018. 
  9. ^"A rediscovered sonata, as Mozart intended". AFP. 27 September 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-10-09. Retrieved 2015-02-14. 

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