Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(2,308 words)

1. Concept

The word “sonata” (from the Italian sonare, suonare, “to sound,” “to make sound,” “to play an instrument”) literally means “acoustic piece” and first occurs in Italian literature of the second half of the 14th century. Still used here as an unspecific general term for the acoustic phenomenon of music, by the 16th century the word had come to refer to short, generally instrumental pieces. Even before 1500, it was used particularly in connection with wind fanfares, and ultimatel…

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Noeske, Nina, “Sonata”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 09 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_027646>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20180208

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