So, I have come across an atypically structured first movement in Mozart's Horn Concerto no. 2 in Eb and I'm wondering if it is Sonata Form or Rondo Form, because it seems to have some characteristics of both, it's like Mozart is blurring the line here. Characteristics typical of Sonata Form I see include:

  • A clear First and Second Theme(the Bb octaves are what divide those 2 themes)
  • Orchestral exposition before the Solo Horn(this is more specific to the Double Exposition Sonata Form of Concertos)
  • Second Theme is in the Dominant when the Solo Horn is playing and is in the Tonic in the Orchestral exposition(again more specific to the Double Exposition Sonata Form of Concertos
  • Minor key in what I would assume to be the start of the Development

But on the other hand, one big typical characteristic of Sonata Form I just don't see here is the presence of repeats, at least in the exposition. And in Mozart, it's even more typical to have a repeat of the Recapitulation and Development as well. This is making me think maybe it is a Rondo? After all, Rondos sometimes completely lack repeat signs and a Rondo with characteristics of Sonata Form is not uncommon, even in Mozart, just look at K 333, his Piano Sonata in Bb and you'll see what I mean. But then again, Rondo doesn't seem to be quite right here. So maybe it is a Continuous Sonata Form? No, that usually refers to Sonata Form without a clear division between the First and Second themes like in the Presto of Divertimento in D, and that's not what's happening here.

Here's the score(which I just happen to be arranging for Piano Solo):


And a video of a performance of the first movement:

So is this a Rondo with characteristics of Sonata Form or is it Sonata form without the repeats?

1 Answer 1


I would say this is a relatively standard sonata–concerto form. You're correct that Mozart normally repeats his expositions (and the developments/recapitulations) in sonata forms, but that's pretty rare in the sonata–concerto hybrid. Since the sonata–concerto begins with both an orchestral (tutti) exposition and then a solo exposition, there's really no need to repeat anything, because the exposition (or something like it) has already been stated twice.

Otherwise, I agree with your formal markers: clear first and second themes (both in tonic in the orchestral exposition, as was common for Mozart), a move to minor to begin the development, and then a brief orchestral statement to begin the recapitulation.

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