so·​na·​ta | \sə-ˈnä-tə \

Definition of sonata 

: an instrumental musical composition typically of three or four movements in contrasting forms and keys

Examples of sonata in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

That was followed by another sweaty hour in which Hinterhäuser assayed all six of Ustvolskaya’s piano sonatas, written between 1947 and 1988, with no break between them. Mark Swed,, "This year's Ojai Music Festival was bright, and dark, and very very hot," 12 June 2018 Their recital replacements will be violinist Gil Shaham and pianist Akira Eguchi, who will perform sonatas by Franck, Scott Wheeler and Avner Dorman. John Von Rhein,, "Lyric's 2018-19 season: Italian favorites and 'West Side Story'," 6 Feb. 2018 The final Brahms sonata got an immaculate performance by violinist Noah Bendix-Balgley, admirably partnered by Max Levinson at the piano, though a little more of Brahms’ lilt and schmaltz would not have gone amiss. Melinda Bargreen, The Seattle Times, "Seattle Chamber Music Society debuts an ear-boggling piece by a ‘Dark Knight’ composer," 17 July 2018 But in three Beethoven sonatas, plus the composer’s variations on a theme from Mozart’s The Magic Flute and a Brahms encore, there might not have been a drop of questioning or struggle. Peter Dobrin,, "Clemens Hagen and Kirill Gerstein take on Beethoven at Kimmel," 22 Mar. 2018 Such is the case with these renditions of four Haydn piano sonatas by Paul Lewis, a matchless interpreter of the classical repertoire from Haydn to Brahms. David Weininger,, "From Philip Glass to folk-inspired violin, sounds for the summer," 4 July 2018 After playing all five Beethoven cello-piano sonatas Tuesday night in Montreal, and with flights to Philadelphia the next morning canceled, the pair drove through the night to make their Philadelphia Chamber Music Society gig. Peter Dobrin,, "Clemens Hagen and Kirill Gerstein take on Beethoven at Kimmel," 22 Mar. 2018 Over the Mountains: Virtuosic sonatas from 17th-century Italy and Germany. Chronicle Staff Report, San Francisco Chronicle, "Classical music and dance listings," 31 May 2018 But audiences who caught the DVD short Jack-Jack Attack discovered that, once triggered by a Mozart sonata, Jack-Jack can also shoot purple laser eyes and float around the house, teleporting through different dimensions. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "Here are all of Jack-Jack’s powers in the Incredibles 2," 16 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sonata.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sonata

1786, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sonata

Italian, from sonare to sound, from Latin

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Statistics for sonata

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for sonata

The first known use of sonata was in 1786

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English Language Learners Definition of sonata

music : a piece of music written for one or two instruments that has usually three or four large sections that are different from each other in rhythm and mood


so·​na·​ta | \sə-ˈnä-tə \

Kids Definition of sonata

: a musical composition for one or two instruments consisting of three or four separate sections in different forms and keys


So·​na·​ta | \sō-ˈnä-tə \

Medical Definition of Sonata 

used for a preparation of zaleplon

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More from Merriam-Webster on sonata

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sonata

Spanish Central: Translation of sonata

Nglish: Translation of sonata for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about sonata

Comments on sonata

What made you want to look up sonata? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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