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.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Yamaha YEV Series Violin
Yamaha YEV Series Violin

Dimitri Musafia
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Metzler Violin Shop

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases



Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Los Angeles Violin Shop

Pluhar Violins

Potter Violins

Pro-Am Strings Ltd

Violin Lab

Violin Pros

Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop