Difference Between Sonata and Concerto

Sonata vs Concerto

Difference between sonata and concerto can be a must know fact for music lovers. Music is, by all means, universal. It is a broad term encompassing diverse styles and genres, along with different varieties of musical compositions. Having a rich history dating back to the ancient times of many thousand years ago spread in a large number of countries and cultures, music is extensively wide-ranging. A musical composition is a piece of musical work written specifically for particular arrangements of musical instruments. When varieties of musical compositions are taken into consideration, there are a good number of types such as sonatas, concertos, orchestras, symphonies, cantatas, string quartets and so on. They are distinctly different from each other, yet they have some similarities too. This article seeks to explore the difference between sonata and concerto, two types of musical compositions or pieces.

What is a Sonata?

A sonata, a word originated from Latin meaning to sing, is a form of musical composition involving singing embedded into the piece of music. It is a kind of concert music that is played and sung on stage. Sonatas are distinguished by its structure and form which have evolved through hundreds of years of history. The first appearance of sonatas was known in the Baroque Period although it took a larger importance during the Classical Era of music. By the time of 20 and 21 centuries, the form of sonatas has changed from what it was in the Baroque days. The sonata in the late Baroque and classical periods consisted of a solo instrument; mostly a keyboard or some other solo instrument accompanied by a keyboard instrument. There have been sonatas composed for other instruments too. A sonata also consists of four movements; the first movement being a fast tempo and changing to the second movement which is a slow tempo. The third movement was, usually, a dance tune and then the fourth movement was written in the home key of the musical piece.

What is a Concerto?

A concerto, a word meaning composition, to tie and fight, is another type of musical composition. Just like sonatas, the history of concertos too dates back to the earliest musical period, Baroque Period. A concertos is characterized by a solo instrument, usually, a piano or a violin or a cello or a flute, accompanied by a group of other instruments. Concertos too have evolved over time and its structure consists of three movements. The first movement is fast and the second is slow or quiet and the third or the last movement is again fast. The concerto in the Baroque period drastically differs from that of 20th and 21st centuries.

Difference Between Sonata and Concerto

What is the difference between Sonata and Concerto?

• Sonatas involve singing too while concertos are completely musical.

• Although sonatas and concertos could appear similar to each other with the pace of their movements, the difference lies where a concerto begins and ends in fast tempo while sonatas only begin in fast tempo.

• Sonatas and concertos differ in their forms too. Sonatas have four movements while concertos have only three.

• Sonatas are played by solo instrument, usually a piano (keyboard) or one instrument accompanied by a piano. Concertos are played with one solo instrument that is accompanied by a small or large group of orchestra (group of instruments).

As such, sonatas and concertos differ from each other mainly in their forms. There are other differences too with regard to the music they play.