Mozart: Piano Sonata No.15 in F major, K.533/494 Analysis


First Movement (Allegro)

Form: Sonata Form. F Major. 

Mozart Piano Sonata No.15 in F major, K.533 Analysis 1


Bars 1-32: First Subject in Tonic. This subject is of somewhat unusual length for Mozart, with one exception (viz., in the finale of Sonata XII, where the first subject is extended to thirty-five bars) is the longest one to be met within the movements in this form throughout his pianoforte sonatas. The length is caused by constant repetitions wherein inversion of the parts is a prominent feature. The construction of the subject, and its variety of treatment, should be carefully studied. Points to be noted are:

  • The tonic pedal, Bars 4-8;
  • The transference of melody to the bass in Bar 8, and the consequent inversion of the parts when the accompaniment enters in Bar 12;
  • the tonal sequence (Bars 16-17) which forms a new continuation to the phrase which starts in Bar 13 (compare with Bars 5-8), but which makes a fresh start in Bar 15, with the parts re-inverted;
  • the interrupted cadence, Bars 21-22, which leads into a cadential repetition of the preceding passage. This repetition commences with the parts again inverted, and culminates in the very interesting imitational passage founded on the opening motive, Bars 27-32, with which the subject closes.

Bars 32-41: Bridge-passage or Transition. The transition is founded entirely on the opening bars of the first subject. Although this subject ends on the first beat of Bar 32, and the transition does not commence till the fourth beat, the imitational passage, which starts in Bar 27, continues unbroken till Bar 37, the bass taking up the imitational figures during the break. The remainder of the transition is worked on a portion – four notes only – of the opening motive of the first subject, the passage ending on a half close in C minor. Bar 39 forms a first inversion of the chromatic supertonic ninth in C minor.

Bars 41-89: Second Subject in C major (Dominant). The first of the two section in which the second subject divides, Bars 41-66, is worked entirely on its own first phrase (Bars 41-45). The responsive phrase commences a tone higher, in the key of D minor, with the same opening motive, accompanied in the bass by a figure of which rather prominent use is made during the movement. For not only is the figure itself variously worked both above and below the subject, but the principle motive of the second section of this subject is also founded upon it. After closing with a perfect cadence in its original key of C major, the foregoing sentence is repeated varied, commencing with the melody transferred to the bass. This is answered, in the treble, a half-bar later by imitation at the octave, whilst, in the second phrase, the triplet figures in the bas of Bar 54, are answered in contrary motion in the treble of Bar 55. The remainder of the section consists principally of variations on the same motive, taken alternately in the treble and bass. It ends on inverted cadence in G major. The bass, in Bars 57-59, should be compared with that in Bars 45-47, and its inverse movement noted.

The second section (Bars 66-89) commences with a new phrase (the opening figure is, however, founded on that in the bass, Bars 45-47) announced in the bass alone, ending, Bar 70, on the note G, which note is prolonged, and forms a pedal. Over this pedal the previous phrase, transferred to the treble, is repeated and much lengthened, and with imitation between the upper parts. It starts in Bar 73, in which the tenor is a free imitation, by inverse movement, of the treble in Bar 72, and then continues for two further bars in close imitation of the same voice, at the interval of a fourth below. The phrase ends, Bar 78, on a perfect cadence in D minor. Bars 78-82, modulating back to the key of C major, give the impression of being a cadential repetition – though a very modified one – of the latter part of the preceding passage, which is further prolonged through the use of the interrupted cadence (Bars 81-82). The latter leads to still further cadential extensions which continue to Bar 89, where the second subject finally closes on a perfect cadence in C major. The alteration from the chromatic supertonic harmony, in Bars 82 and 84, to that of the chord of the German sixth, in Bar 86, with the corresponding and effective modulation of the scale passage, should be carefully noted. Also the unusual method of writing a dot, in the place of a tied not, on the first beat of the bar, in the syncopated passage, Bars 74-75.

Bars 89-102: Codetta. The triplet figures in the codetta are derived form the first section of the second subject.

Double bar and repeat.


Bars 102-145: The development is worked on figures drawn form both subject, and from the codetta. It commences in the key of C minor with the opening motive of the first subject in combination with triplet figures taken both from the codetta and the second subject. The first sentence comes to a close in the key of G minor, and is then immediately repeated, inverted and overlapping, and modulating, ending this time on a half-cadence in D minor. In the latter key, in Bar 125, an interesting passage commences, worked on the opening motive of the second subject, accompanied by an imitation of the figure which, in the exposition, is not announced until the second phrase of this subject. The figure is worked above and below the motive, the parts being alternately inverted and re-inverted at each succeeding repetition. And, as each of these repetition occurs respectively in the keys of D minor, G minor, C major and F major, the whole passage forms a modulating sequence. Following on this, the motive is taken in both part together, the bass imitating the treble at a half-bar’s distance, first at the interval of a fifth below (in the key of B flat major) and afterwards, modulating to the key of F major, and the interval of the octave. In Bar 137, the the motive is taken in both parts simultaneously, by contrary motion. The section ends with a reproduction of the final bars of the codetta, taken on the dominant seventh of F major.


Bars 145-153: First Subject in Tonic (first eight bars only).

Bars 153-168: Bridge-passage or Transition (lengthened). The transition, starting with the opening motive of the first subject, taken in the bass instead of, as originally, in the treble, reappears lengthened by the interpolation of a freely modulating sequential passage. This is worked on the second four-quaver (eighth note) figure form the above motive. The key passed through the transition are: F major, D flat major, B flat minor, F minor, D flat major, B flat minor, A flat major, and F minor, in the last of which key the passage ends on a half cadence. In Bar 160, the four-quaver (eighth note) figure is transferred from the bass to the treble where, in Bar 164, it reverts from the second, to the opening four-quaver figure of the same motive. From this point to the end of the transition is an exact transposition of the corresponding portion of the original passage into the key of F minor.

Bars 168-226: Second Subject in Tonic. The second section (Bars 193-226) reappears much modified and lengthened. The first alteration occurs in Bars 200-201, where the opening sentence comes to a full close after eight bars. Particular attention should be given to the most interesting passage which immediately follows. Here, the opening bars of the first subject and of the second section of the second subject, are taken simultaneously, the latter forming a counter-subject to the former.

Bars 226-239: Codetta in Tonic. This passage is a transposition of the original codetta into the key of the tonic.

Double bar and repeat.

Second Movement (Andante)

Form: Sonata Form. Bb Major. 

Mozart Piano Sonata No.15 in F major, K.533 Analysis 2


Bars 1-18: First Subject in Tonic. The subject begins with a ten-bar sentence (the second phrase is lengthened from four to six bars by the free sequential imitation on Bars 4-6, in Bars 6-8), which ends on a cadence in the dominant. The second sentence leads into the transition.

Bars 19-22: Transition. The short transition is sequential in character. Modulating through G minor, it ends on a half-cadence in F major.

Bars 23-46: Second Subject in F major (Dominant). The first section (Bars 23-33) is founded on the first subject. It starts with the opening motive taken in the bass, accompanied by a new counter-subject in the treble. The last chord resolves on to the first inversion of the chord of F major (the tonic chord of the passage. The second section of this subject (Bars 33-46) consists of a new theme, which starts over a tonic pedal. The sentence is prolonged by cadential repetitions in both phrases, and incidentally touches the keys of F minor and A flat major. The chord of the Neapolitan sixth in Bar 40 should be noted.

Double bar and repeat.


Bars 47-72: From Bar 47 to Bar 59, this section is worked on the opening motive of the first subject accompanied by passage of semiquaver (sixteenth note) figures founded on those in the second section of the second subject. It commences with the motive taken in the bass, in similar manner to the opening bars of the second subject. In Bar 51, the parted are inverted, and re-inverted and again inverted in Bars 55, and 57, respectively. The passage starts in the key of F major, which, however, is immediately quitted, and it modulates through D minor, B flat major, G minor, C minor, D minor and G minor, and ends on an inverted cadence in A major. The last chord of this cadence is, however, quitted as the dominant of D minor, in which the second portion of the development commences. This is a very interesting passage of sequential character worked on the opening motive of the second phrase of the first subject, with free imitation between parts. It starts in D minor and, modulating freely, touches the keys of G minor, B flat major (dominant seventh only), C minor, E flat major (dominant seventh only), F major (dominant seventh only), and G minor, ending on the dominant seventh in B flat major, to lead into the recapitulation in that key.


Bars 73-86: First Subject in Tonic (incomplete). There are two special features to be noted in Bars 82-86, which form the last phrase of the curtailed re-entry of the first subject:

  1. They are an inversion of the original phrase (Bars 10-14) with which they should be compared; and
  2. They are another instance in which both subjects are brought together in the recapitulation, the accompaniment of triplets of semiquavers (sixteenth notes) (Bar 84) being derived from figures in the second section of the second subject.

Bars 87-90: Transition.

Bars 91-114: Second Subject in Tonic. The opening bars of this subject reappear inverted. The second subject divides into two sections (Bars 91-101 and 101-114)

Bars 114-122: Coda. The short coda consists of a series of cadential repetitions. It commences with a three-bar phrase ending on an interrupted cadence. The following phrase, which is the final one of the movement, is also a three-bar phrase lengthened to five by cadential repetitions. The enhanced effect of the interrupted cadence, Bars 16-17, owing to the transient modulation to G minor, and the momentary suggestions of the keys of E flat major, and C minor (Bars 117-118) should be noted.

Double bar and repeat.

Third Movement (Rondo)

Form: Rondo-Sonata Form. F Major. 

Mozart Piano Sonata No.15 in F major, K.533 Analysis 3


Bars 1-12: First Subject in Tonic. The opening twelve-bar sentence divides into two six-bar phrases. The first ends with a momentary modulation to the key of the dominant; the second with a full close in the tonic.

Bars 12-22: Bridge-passage or Transition. The transition opens in the key of the dominant with a melody founded on that in the first subject.

Bars 22-34: Second Subject in C major (Dominant).

Bars 34-38: Link leading to reappearance of First Subject.

Bars 39-50: Repetition of First Subject, slightly varied.


Bars 51-82: Episode I: 

  • First Section, Melody in D minor (Bars 51-67). Bars 51-52 are repeated sequentially in Bars 53-54. The responsive phrase phrase, however, returns to the more quiet figures of the principle subject, on which it is founded.
  • Link (Bar 67).
  • Second Section, Melody in B flat major (Bars 68-79); modulating through G minor and ending on a half-cadence in F minor.
  • Link (Bars 79-82).

Bars 83-94: First Subject (second entry), first twelve bars only.

Bars 95-116: Episode II.

  • Part i in F minor and A flat major (Bars 95-102). The first phrase of Part i forms a descending sequence, in which the upper parts are written in double counterpoint, and the alto imitates the treble at the interval of a fifth below . The responsive phrase modulates to the relative major, closing on a perfect cadence in that key. Double bar and repeat.
  • Part ii, Passage modulating and ending on half-cadence in F minor (Bars 103-108). Part ii commences with some slight development of the opening motive, treated sequentially in the keys of B flat minor and A flat major.
  • Part iii, Repetition of Part i in the key of F minor (Bars 109-116).

Bars 116-119: Link.


Bars 120-131: Principle Subject in Tonic.

Bars 132-143: Second Subject in Tonic.

Bars 143-187: Coda. The Coda is chiefly founded on material from the first subject. Imitation of the figure in Bar 2 of the first subject will be seen commencing at Bar 152.