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Principal chamber music genre of the Baroque era. Despite its name, it requires four performers: two melody instruments and continuo (usually a keyboard instrument and a bass instrument). It arose early in the 17th century as an instrumental version of the Italian vocal-duet ensemble. The two upper instruments, usually violins, generally wove their melodic, quasi-vocal lines high above the accompanying parts. Two standard forms emerged after 1750: the sonata da chiesa, or church sonata, standardized as a four-movement form (in slow-fast-slow-fast order); and the suite-like sonata da camera, or chamber sonata. By 1770 the genre had been abandoned in favour of the solo sonata.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on trio sonata, visit Britannica.com.
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