Piano Sonata in A minor, D 537 (Schubert)

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The Piano Sonata in A minor D 537 of Franz Schubert is a sonata for solo piano, composed in March 1817.


I. Allegro ma non troppo

A minor. The exposition modulates to the submediant, F major, rather than to the usual mediant, C major. The recapitulation begins in the subdominant, D minor, and most of the recapitulation's second group is in A major before a short coda returns to the minor mode for the movement's ending.

II. Allegretto quasi andantino

E major. A five-part rondo with an unconventional key scheme as follows:

A (E major) → B (C major) → A (F major) → C (D minor) → A (E major)

Schubert also composes brief transitions at the ends of each episode--that between the B section and the medial A section features a small amount of the B section's material in F major (the medial A section's key), while that between the C section and the final A section modulates from the C section's D minor up a tone to E minor, and then sits on its dominant for a few measures before the return to the movement's tonic key with the final A section. The movement ends with a short coda that is completely diatonic.

III. Allegro vivace

A minor. In sonata form without development (the exposition modulates to E major, and the recapitulation then begins in E minor and moves to A major).[1]

Ends in the parallel major

The work takes approximately 20 minutes to perform.[citation needed] Daniel Coren has summarised the nature of the recapitulation in the last movement of this sonata.[2] Harald Krebs has noted that Schubert reworked the opening of the second movement of the D. 537 sonata into the opening theme of the finale of the A major piano sonata, D. 959.[3]

References in Popular Culture[edit]

The piano sonata is featured in the 1985 film adaptation of E.M. Forster's "A Room with a View," as protagonist Lucy Honeychurch is practicing piano.


  1. ^ Newbould, Brian (1999). Schubert: The Music and the Man. University of California Press. p. 100. ISBN 9780520219571. 
  2. ^ Coren, Daniel (1974). "Ambiguity in Schubert's Recapitulations". The Musical Quarterly. LX (4): 568–582. doi:10.1093/mq/LX.4.568. 
  3. ^ Krebs, Harald (Autumn 2003). "Review of Charles Fisk's Returning Cycles: Contexts for the Interpretation of Schubert's Impromptus and Last Sonatas". Music Theory Spectrum. 25 (2): 388–400. doi:10.1525/mts.2003.25.2.388. 


  • Tirimo, Martino. Schubert: The Complete Piano Sonatas. Vienna: Wiener Urtext Edition, 1997.

External links[edit]

Piano sonatas (2 hands) by Franz Schubert
Preceded by
Sonata in B major (D. 575)
AGA, Series 10 (15 sonatas)
No. 6
Succeeded by
Sonata in E-flat major (D. 568)
Preceded by
Sonata in E major (D. 459)
21 Sonatas numbering system
No. 4
Succeeded by
Sonata in A-flat major (D. 557)
Preceded by
Sonata in E minor (D. 769A)
23 Sonatas numbering system
No. 5