Theorizing Sonata Form from the Margins: The Spanish Keyboard Sonata from 1744 to c. 1790

Bryan Stevens, University of North Texas

Recent developments in Formenlehre have provided new insight into classical forms (Caplin, 1998; Hepokoski and Darcy, 2006); however, such scholarship has tended to privilege Viennese classicism in its codification of ideal formal types and norms. For this reason, an uncritical application of such methods obscures rather than elucidates conventional practice when applied to works in parallel traditions. In this paper, I examine the eighteenth-century Spanish keyboard sonata using these theories, but with the caveat that features regarded as atypicalities in Vienna might be normative in Spain. I argue that these works are best understood from the perspective of the Spanish composer using formal norms codified in Spain.