Sonata Form Analysis

Form Analysis of Haydn, Piano Sonata in F major, Hob. XVI:23, 1st movement

Form Analysis

In this essay, I will analyze the form of the 1st Movement of Piano Sonata in F major, Hob. XVI:23 by Joseph Haydn.


Exposition is in F major, starting with a basic idea followed by a contrasting idea. Until upbeat of 4th bar is a compound basic idea (cbi). The exact repetition of the basic idea follows the cbi. A new contrasting idea is introduced after the exact repetition of the basic idea, which could be considered a consequent phrase until the end of bar 8. This section is followed by a continuation and cadential, ending with a PAC on bar 12. This could be called as a hybrid theme: cbi + consequent phrase + (continuation + cadential). An extension is used to bring the continuation and cadential section. There is a deceptive cadence at m. 8, followed by sequential fragmentations as framing functions.

The upbeat of bar 12 is leading to the transition, which is a modulating one. The transition starts with the main theme material. Bar 20 is the ending of the transition. The closing strategy is Half Cadence (HC); there isn’t any prolongation of the dominant harmony after the HC. Transition is destabilizing the home key and modulating it to the dominant. Bar 18 to 20 could be the continuation + cadential section as a sentential function, standing on V with an HC.

The subordinate theme is more sentential than the main theme, as expected:

Bar 21-29: bi + bi % (exact) + (continuation + cadential)

Bar 30-32: modal shift

Bar 33-40: tonic prolongation

Bar 41-42: cadential

Bar 42-43: one more time (formal loosening)

Bar 44-46: codetta (framing function)

The subordinate theme is not as tight-knit as the main theme. It is possible to say there are sentences. Still, they have increased harmonic and surface rhythm compared to the main theme material.


As exposition ends on C, development starts in the same key. Mm. 47-60 is the pre-core/core technique. The development begins with a basic idea (bi) from the main theme, followed by a contrasting idea (ci) ending with an IAC. This is when the first deviation from the main theme occurs. This section of the 2-m. model is followed by fragmentation of 1-m., leading to an even more fragmented 4-m long continuation. This section modulates from C major to d minor on measure 56. On m. 58, there is a cadential function of standing on the dominant with a Half Cadence on A major for 3-m. On m. 60, pseudo-core starts. This section has a feeling of a core; nevertheless, it is not possible to observe a structural sense of a model sequence. Pseudo-core lasts for 7-m., leading to a 9-m long improvisatory texture full of sequences. On m. 77, there is a PAC, and this section does not end with an HC which is a shred of good evidence that Haydn’s approach to avoiding pre-core/core techniques. On upbeat of m. 77, a tonicization occurs from d minor (i) to g minor (iv). This tonicization is a sign of re-transition to bring back the stability of the home key. Chromaticism is occurring during m. 79. From mm. 80 to 85, standing on the dominant ends with another modulation to home key: F major on the last beat of m. 85.


The main theme of the recapitulation starts with the basic idea, contrasting idea, exact repetition of the basic idea, and a new contrasting idea followed by a deceptive cadence at m. 93. Between mm. 94 to 96, it is possible to mention a sequential fragmentation ending with a Half Cadence. There is no transition on the sub-ordinate theme; sequential fragmentation is a compressed transition, in other words. The subordinate theme starts at m. 97 with a bi, followed by bi %. There is a 3-m. long sequence followed by a 1-m. sequence reminding the transition-like unit. This 4-m long section can be identified as a continuation. After continuation, there is a pedal C as standing on the dominant for 3-m. And then, until m. 122, there is 15-m. long tonic prolongation between mm. 114-119. Measure 122 has a cadential function, ending with a PAC on a downbeat of m. 123. We hear the cadence again at the downbeat of m. 125, just like in the one-more time section. Codetta for 3-m is observed at the closing section.

mm. 1-8mm. 85-93 (8-m. main theme ending with deceptive cadence)
mm. 9-12 (ending with a PAC)mm. 94-96 (sequential fragmentation ending with an HC)
mm. 21-32mm. 97-110 (sub-theme ending with an HC and standing on the dominant, sentence 1)
mm. 33-41mm. 111-121 (tonic prolongation, basic ideas from the sub. main theme, sentence 2)
m. 42m. 122 (cadential with PAC)
m. 43mm. 123-124 (one-more time)
mm. 44-46mm. 125-127 (codetta)
Table 1: Comparison of Exposition and Recapitulation


Caplin, W. (2013). Analyzing Classical Form: An Approach for the Classroom. Oxford University Press.

Thanks for the supervision of Assoc. Prof. Jerfi Aji at İstanbul Technical University, Center for Advanced Studies in Music. I wrote these analysis papers for MYL 503E Eurogenetic Music Theory course during the 2021 Spring semester.

Other music analysis papers I wrote: Voice Leading Analysis of J. S. Bach’s BWV 988, Computational Modeling of Music Perception.

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