so·​na·​ta | \ sə-ˈnä-tə How to pronounce sonata (audio) \

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 The project continues with the complete cycle of piano sonatas all 32 of them- performed in consecutive order by 28 different pianists.2, 5 and 8 p.m. Feb. 16. Shane Harrison, ajc, "Things to do in and around Atlanta: Feb. 14-22," 13 Feb. 2020 This program of all six Bach sonatas for violin and harpsichord was the most recent of several appearances in the past couple of years around Washington. Washington Post, "Violinist Pamela Frank presents a rich program of all six Bach sonatas," 5 Dec. 2019 Passages in double-stops seemed tentative, with some difficulty producing a consistent sound that was strong and in tune, as in the third movement of the fifth sonata. Washington Post, "Violinist Pamela Frank presents a rich program of all six Bach sonatas," 5 Dec. 2019 András Schiff has recorded revelatory Schubert on the fortepiano; Carolin Widmann and Dénes Várjon made a ferociously potent disk of the Schumann violin sonatas. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The Pristine Empire of ECM Records," 25 Nov. 2019 Coincidentally, the same fluid, late-Beethoven piano sonata (Opus 101) that Jonathan Biss played last week at the Soraya in Northridge, is heard in the background, music of transcendence (to where?). Los Angeles Times, "Review: Brilliantly neurotic, the Polish avant-garde finds a home in L.A., with CalArts’ help," 22 Oct. 2019 This sonata is on a grand scale — playing all the repeats takes 45 minutes. Christian Hertzog,, "Inon Barnatan and Garrick Ohlsson deliver masterful performances of late Schubert music," 25 Mar. 2018 Frank expertly unpacked the interweaving lines of each sonata, shared between the violin and the keyboard part played by Stephen Prutsman on modern piano (replacing Peter Serkin). Washington Post, "Violinist Pamela Frank presents a rich program of all six Bach sonatas," 5 Dec. 2019 So there can be four, five, even six players in a trio sonata. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Symphony’s wind players shine in East County ECHO chamber recital," 29 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for sonata

Time Traveler

The first known use of sonata was in 1786

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Last Updated

25 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sonata.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce sonata (audio)

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 How to pronounce sonata (audio) \

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 How to pronounce Sonata (audio) \

Medical Definition of Sonata

used for a preparation of zaleplon

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sonata

Spanish Central: Translation of sonata

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

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