so·​na·​ta sə-ˈnä-tə How to pronounce sonata (audio)
: 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 Alexander Scriabin’s sonatas grew shorter, hermetically condensed into single movements. Christian Hertzog, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Apr. 2024 According to Francisco, the composers represented no less than 30 print collections of solo songs, cantatas, motets, polyphonic works, settings for psalms and masses, a magnificat, a vespers service, a dozen sonatas, and scores for nine operas and other staged works. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 27 Mar. 2024 But plans to record Brahms violin sonatas with the pianist Julius Katchen, a frequent duet partner, fell through after Solovieff suffered a breakdown during a recording session. Sarah Weinman, New York Times, 15 Mar. 2024 The duo will perform violin sonatas by Beethoven, Debussy and Franck. Patrick Neas, Kansas City Star, 23 Feb. 2024 Not far from where Joseph buys her pinot noir in the Chehalem Mountains, the famed German winemaker Ernst Loosen is pursuing an even more ambitious project with his winery, Appassionata Estate — named for the Beethoven piano sonata. Dave McIntyre, Washington Post, 29 Feb. 2024 The four movements of the sonata are meditations on New England transcendentalist writers: Emerson, Hawthorne, the Alcotts and Thoreau. Patrick Neas, Kansas City Star, 26 Jan. 2024 This collection of 18 movements (three per sonata) was written in the late 1720s for the composer’s eldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, to perfect his playing. Paul Jacobs, WSJ, 20 Oct. 2023 But that did not mean the complete absence of moments of sunshine that showed foliage to good advantage, in what seemed the visual counterpart of an almost audible seasonal sonata. Martin Weil, Washington Post, 21 Oct. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sonata.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Italian, from sonare to sound, from Latin

First Known Use

1786, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sonata was in 1786

Dictionary Entries Near sonata

Cite this Entry

“Sonata.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


so·​na·​ta sə-ˈnät-ə How to pronounce sonata (audio)
: a piece of music written for instruments and usually having three or four main parts in different styles and different keys

Medical Definition


So·​na·​ta sō-ˈnä-tə How to pronounce Sonata (audio)
used for a preparation of zaleplon

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