Trio Sonata in D, movement 4 - Corelli

  • Created by: Annie
  • Created on: 09-02-12 14:15

Context and forces

  • Corelli was an Italian violinist and composer whose works were very influential in the development of instrumental music in the late Baroque period
  • NAM 15 comes from a collection of 12 trio sonatas, published in 1689
  • The term trio refers to the three melodic lines printed in the score, but normally four players are required for a trio sonata
  • The two treble staves are for solo violins, but the lowest stave, known as figured bass because of the numbers and other symbols printed below it, is labelled for violone and organ
  • The violone was any sort of low-pitched bowed string instrument (the part is usually played on a cello today)
  • The figuring part below the bass part indicates the type of chords to be improvised by the organist in order to fill out the texture between the high violin parts and the much lower bass notes - known as 'realising' the figured bass
  • The music on the lowest stave is known as a continuo part - found in almost all Baroque music that requires more than one performer
  • Instruments for this part can vary, but it normally needs at least one bass instrument to play the notes as written and one chordal instrument, such as a harpsichord, lute or organ to realise the figured bass
  • Most of the 12 trio sonatas that make up Corelli's Opus 3 have four movements, in the order slow-fast-slow-fast
  • The whole set are sometimes described as church sonatas,perhaps because of the use of the organ as the continuo instrument 
  • Could have been played during church services but would have also been played for entertainment in the palaces of the nobles
  • Corelli's string writing is idiomatic - each part is conceived in terms of the instrument for which


Anna Reynolds


Thanks :)