A sonata rondo (ABACABA) features the same refrain-episode alternation that we find in the five-part rondo, but certain aspects of sonata form are infiltrate this alternation.
Exposition Development Recapitulation
Refrain 1 Episode 1 Refrain 2 Episode 2 Refrain 3 Episode 3 Refrain 4
- Refrain 1 and Episode 1 form a sonata exposition that is recapitulated in Refrain 3 and Episode 3. As is the case in sonata form, the recapitulation contains a “tonal adjustment” so that it ends in the tonic key. That is, Episode 1 and 3 will be the same thematically, but Episode 3 will occur in tonic.
- Because it resembles sonata form, the first and third episodes are always constructed as “second-theme” complexes.
- Episode 2 (C in the short-hand diagram above) may be a development—possibly containing a prep-zone, CAZ, and retransition—or it may be a simpler interior theme.