There is no consensus regarding the manner in which sonata form in the decades around 1800 is to be grasped. Analysts are confronted with a clutch of diverse approaches with differing emphases, interests, and terminologies. At the same time we propose a new genre-based perspective, along with useful ways of formulating analytical questions and moving on to productive hermeneutic endeavors. Musicology and music theory have often pursued distinct paths that generate different questions and answers. Studying and teaching musicology and music theory in the 1960s to 1980s, most authors absorbed in such views and previous textbooks invited a too rigid understanding of sonata form. By midcentury, it had become a scholarly point to declare war on the textbooks on the limitations of classifying schemes in general.
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