What's the difference between a Sonata and Partita?

March 26, 2018, 6:44 PM · Bach wrote both three sonatas and three partitas, but what is the difference between a his sonatas and his partitas?

Replies (16)

Edited: March 26, 2018, 6:46 PM · The sonatas have movements like "Allegro" and "Andante." The partitas have movements that are dances like "Allemande" or "Gigue."
March 26, 2018, 6:53 PM · His Sonatas are strictly four movements: slow (the introduction, if you will), fugue, slow (cooldown from the dense fugue), and fast (a strong conclusion).

Partitas consist of an array of dance movements.

Edited: March 27, 2018, 7:29 PM · The sonatas were of the sonata da chiesa form-- i.e., intended to be played in church services. The partitas (which others might have called sonate da camera) were secular, and largely based on dances.

Of course, Bach was a flexible guy when he needed to be. He used the Prelude from the E Major Partita to start off his Cantata #29, which would have been performed in church.

March 26, 2018, 7:34 PM · Thanks, this all answers my questions!
March 27, 2018, 4:52 AM · That was too quick: let's discuss shoulder rests instead!
March 27, 2018, 7:07 AM · @Adrian, That made my day!
March 27, 2018, 7:44 AM · Does anyone use different rosin between Bach Sonatas and Partitas for optimum tone performance?

(ducks and runs away ;) )

March 29, 2018, 5:32 AM · Chris - I use the rosin which is recommended for the shoulder rest I use.
March 29, 2018, 6:16 AM · A partita is made of a single theme without constant changes, a sonata, very like some diminuitive concerti, is made of several themes with shiftings. A better comparison will be the difference between Brahms sonate and Bach Partita.
March 30, 2018, 9:58 AM · Tom, if you put rosin on the shoulder rest, doesn't it make a mess of your jacket?
March 30, 2018, 10:54 AM · The sonatas burn longer.
April 7, 2018, 2:08 PM · What if Tom's not wearing a jacket?
April 7, 2018, 2:31 PM · You have to change your strings after 3-5 partita's movements. For the sonatas, expect much longer sting life span.
April 7, 2018, 3:50 PM · A mouse will never be a sonata.
April 8, 2018, 7:43 AM · But not every mouse is a partita.
April 10, 2018, 2:21 AM · Admittedly, only the animal variety.

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