So I have seen third movements of sonatas that are presto. But usually these are the rondo movements of 3 movement sonatas such as those by Haydn and Mozart. My piano sonata in A major that I am composing, I plan to have 4 movements in these forms and with these tempos and keys:

First Movement

Form: Sonata form

Key: A major

Tempo: Allegro enter image description here This is a generic Sonata form. One of many images I found of sonata form.

Now here is how I plan to have my sonata go for the first movement: enter image description here You can see that I have taken the introduction out. I felt that a slow introduction to a bouncy feeling sonata just did not seem right. And yes, to me A major feels bouncy. A fast introduction also did not seem fitting so I got rid of the introduction and just started with the first theme. Also, you can see I added repeats where the development and recapitulation are. I decided to have the first theme of the recapitulation be in the subdominant. It may be unconventional but it has worked before. I am questioning whether or not I want a coda to end the movement. I will decide once I get to the recapitulation whether I really want a coda or not.

Second Movement

Form: Theme and Variations

Key: D major

Tempo: Andante

enter image description here

I will have more than 4 variations and I also plan to have repeats for the theme and every variation. I have composed a nocturne where I basically did theme and variations with multiple themes. That was easy and it only took 3 days to compose it. If that is easy, than I can easily do 10 variations on a single theme, maybe even 30(though if I have 30 variations, it might as well be its own piece and not a movement of a sonata). Point is, Theme and variations, I find easier than sonata form in terms of composition. As for the feeling, to me D major feels majestic.

Third Movement

Form: Minuet and Trio

Key: E major

Tempo: Presto?

enter image description here

This is the movement I am questioning. I originally thought of having it at Moderato but I then thought "Since E major sounds like you have completed a major task, maybe I should have it at Presto." But this seems to violate the purpose of a minuet and trio. So should I have it at Presto and change the form or should I have it at Moderato and keep the form?

Fourth Movement

Form: Rondo

Key: A major

Tempo: Allegro or Presto(not sure which) enter image description here

It would be more conventional to have this rondo movement be Presto. But I'm not sure that Presto fits well with A major's bouncy feeling. I do want it to be in the ABACABA pattern that is shown in the picture.

So would a Presto tempo fit with a Minuet and Trio movement or is it too fast for that form?

2 Answers 2


Everything you suggest seems possible.

A fast Minuet & Trio probably becomes a Scherzo. That's OK.

Interesting that you feel keys have suitable tempos.

  • 2
    I was also going to suggest that the 3rd mvt could be a scherzo & trio. I played the Brahms horn trio, and he used a very fast Scherzo with a trio in the 2nd mvt.
    – Heather S.
    Oct 14, 2018 at 2:55

Minuets and trios are generally Allegro at fastest. Make them Presto instead and they highly risk being called Scherzos and trios instead.

So while Presto is not too fast for the compound ternary form minuets and trios often are in, the minuet is often too slow a dance to accept being Presto.

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