Rondo Forms

Chapter 6: The Rondo

The Classical Rondo form is based on the presentation of a principal theme (A), with contrasting material (B,  or C, or D) in a different key called an episode occurring between statements of the principal theme in the original key.  First Rondo has three parts, A-B-A, and is basically ternary.  Second Rondo has five parts, usually A-B-A-C-A.  Third Rondo has seven parts, usually A-B-A-C-A-B-A.  Each of the episodes, or digressions, is typically in a different key and introduces a contrasting thematic idea. 

Composers often employed modulatory transitions between sections of the Rondo form, as well as a brief coda or codetta at the end.  Like the Minuet and Trio, the Rondo was commonly used in multimovement instrumental works from the Classical period.


Create a Graphic Analysis Form with Analytic Observations of the Finale of the Mozart Sonata K. 545 found on page 286.  The link to a YouTube performance is included in the Materials.  Complete the analysis graphs and forms for Haydn’s Symphony No. 4, Finale on page 288 as well.  An MP3 file and a YouTube performance of this piece are among the Materials below.

In addition to the pieces found in the text, two examples by Beethoven are included in the Materials below.  Each of these Analysis Exercises has a page provided for structural analysis.  These two pieces are the  Sonata Op. 13, No. 8, Mvt. II, Adagio, and the Sonata, Op. 49, No. 2, Mvt II.  Mark the sections, phrases, keys, and cadences on the music, then complete the analysis page that accompanies the score.

Amadeus Mozart:  Sonata K. 545, Finale, page 286.

Analysis Exercise Beethoven: Sonata Op. 13, No. 8, Mvt. II (“Pathetique”) (PDF)

Analysis Exercise Beethoven: Sonata, Op. 49, No. 2, Mvt II  (PDF)

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