Sonatina in C Major, Op. 36, No. 1

A popular three-movement early intermediate-level piano sonatina by Muzio Clementi. 6 pages.


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Muzio Clementi Sonatina in C Major, Op. 36, No. 1 Sheet Music. I: Allegro, II: Andante, III: Vivace. 6 pages.

Often hailed as the “father of the piano,” Clementi influenced the keyboard styles of Beethoven, Czerny, and Chopin, all of whom used his works in their teaching. As the piano began to replace the harpsichord in the late 18th Century, Clementi was at the vanguard of a keyboard style suited to the newer instrument. His innovations as a piano manufacturer helped develop a more robust, legato action with longer tone decay and better crescendo-decrescendo capability. It is difficult to imagine Beethoven’s expressive demands on the piano without these improvements.

The six sonatinas of Opus 36 provide an excellent bridge between the easy sonatinas of Thomas Attwood and the more demanding works of Kuhlau, Dussek, and Diabelli. With such ordinary materials as scales, arpeggios, and Alberti figuration, Clementi weaves an engaging fabric of tuneful melodies and cohesive structure in this progressive set of works.  

By far the easiest of the six is No. 1 in C major, one of the most popular early-intermediate sonatinas of all time. Rated grade 3 by the Royal Conservatory of Music, the piece opens with a concise sonata-allegro movement. Scales, broken octaves, and Alberti Bass are used to the utmost technical benefit.  In the recapitulation, the main theme returns and is promptly inverted, giving further interest and organic development to the melody. The second movement is a lovely, introspective andante in F major with long phrases and a central section in C minor. Finally, a brisk rondo in 3/8 concludes the work, sparkling with more scale passages.

Opus 36, No. 1 is rewarding for students who wish to tackle a large-scale work without the greater difficulties posed by Haydn and Mozart. It serves equally well as both a recital piece and an exploration of classical keyboard technique. Once mastered, a student’s way is clear to the remaining five sonatinas of the set, each one different, fresh, and imaginative.

You may also be ready for these other sonatinas by Muzio Clementi:
Sonatina in G Major, Op. 36, No. 2
Sonatina in F Major, Op. 36, No. 4
Sonatina in G Major, Op. 36, No. 5
Sonatina in D Major, Op. 36, No. 6
6 Sonatinas, Op. 36 (Complete Collection)


Clementi Sonatina in C major, Op. 36, No. 1 Audio Sample