The Sections of a Piano Sonata

One of the most commonly used musical forms in the West is the Sonata. It was first composed sometime during the 1700s shortly after the piano was invented. The sonata follows a traditional A A B A sequence that is often preceded by an introduction and then closed out with a coda. The sonata form of music can be found in many musical genres including jazz, classical music, and many other popular musical styles.

This post is going to show the different sections that make up a piano sonata. It always helps to add a little more knowledge to your brain, and when it’s about the piano you simply cannot go wrong with this one. So let’s not delay this any further and proceed with the topic at hand, shall we?

The sonata has a total of five sections: introduction, exposition, development, recapitulation, and the coda.


The sonata’s introduction is used to help prepare the exposition. The intro will usually have an element of the main melody of the piece in it or it can stand out on its own as a unique musical statement.


The exposition is the part of the sonata that is used to state the form’s main melody and is usually repeated before proceeding to the next section which is the development. In the analysis, the exposition is labelled as “A.”


This is the section of the sonata that is used to help expand the sonata into two new keys. This includes moves from major to minor and vice-versa, and often includes some fresh music material. In the analysis, the development is labelled as “B.”


This section is usually very similar to the sonata’s A section and has a return of the melody as its main feature. It is labelled as “A” in the analysis since there is a chance that this section may feature some new musical material.


This is the sonata’s “wrap up” section. The coda can be used in new music material, but it can also be used in previous materials as well. The coda is usually resolved through the sonata’s tonic key.