Corelli - Trio Sonata in D, Op. 3 No. 2: Movement IV - Instrumental

Revision cards on Music A2 set work - Corelli Trio Sonata

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  • Published in 1689 - standing on the borderline between middle and late BAROQUE
  • Last movement of a four-movement sonata. It is stylistically like a Gigue
  • One of a set of 12 Trio Sonatas
  • Although described as a trio sonata, the work requires four players: two violins, violone (equivalent to cello) and an organ continuo. Violins were new at the time.
  • The organ supplies harmonies as indicated by figured bass
  • The use of organ makes it a sonata di chiesa (church sonata), but can be performed with any suitable coninuo instrument (e.g. harpsichord) and in any performance venue. 
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Rhythm and Metre

  • In rapid 6/8 time, in the style of a Gigue
  • Basic motif is made up of quavers and semiquavers, with occasional longer notes in the upper parts
  • Syncopation at bars 26-27
  • Feeling of 3/4 in bar 27 from an arising hemiola
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  • Basic motif composed of 3rds and stepwise movement, used for the basis of the whole movement
  • Inversion at bar 20
  • Sequence at bars 8-10
  • Inverted in 2nd Section
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  • Funcational
  • Diatonic, with chords mainly in root position and first inversion
  • Perfect cadences
  • Some dissonance with suspensions that are always prepared and resolved by step e.g. bar 9: 7-6 suspension
  • Inverted pedals e.g. bars 15-18, violin II
  • Chords indicated by figured bass
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  • D major with modulations to related keys:

- A major (dominant) at bar 19

- B minor (relative minor) at bars 27-28

- E minor (supertonic) at bars 31-32

  • Ends in tonic D major
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  • Simple Binary form, with each section repeated

- A: Bars 1-19 (repeated)

- B: Bars 20-43 (repeated)

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  • Writing for violin is idiomatic , though Corelli avoids lowest registers and anything above third position


  • Texture is often 'polarised', i.e. two high violin parts and a low bass line


  • Contrapuntal an fugal elements, although the writing is also frequently homorhythmic e.g. bars 3-4


  • Stretto is used at bar 20, where the imitation comes after only one bar.
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