Mozart: Piano Sonata No.2 in F major, K.280 Analysis


First Movement (Allegro Assai)

Form: Sonata Form. F Major. 

Mozart Piano Sonata No.2 in F major, K.280 Analysis 1


Bars 1-13: First Subject in Tonic. First Subject in Tonic. The first subject commences with a six-bar phrase, the extension being caused by sequential imitation over a short tonic pedal. The responsive phrase appears twice, the first time as a three-bar phrase – shortened by the omission of the final chord of the cadence. On the repetition of the phrase, however, the final chord is added, and the subject ends on a full cadence in the tonic, Bar 13.

Bars 13-26: Bridge-passage or Transition. The transition is written entirely in triplets, and ends on a half cadence in F major (tonic). Bars 18-22 form a sequence on a chromatically descending bass.

Bars 27-54: Second Subject in C major (Dominant). The second subject in C major is divided into two sections (Bars 27-43 and 43-54) , each ending on a perfect cadence. It should be noted that the second subject opens in the bass, and, like the first subject, with an arpeggio, which, however, is now taken by inverse movement. The first phrase of the first first section consists of four bars on tonic and dominant harmonies, the former predominating, and ends with a half-cadence, Bar 30. This phrase is repeated, Bars 31-34, with the harmonies in reversed positions, and ends with full cadence. Bars 35-59 form a sequence on a chromatically rising bass. The triplet figures in the treble are derived from those in the transition. The greater part, vis., four bars, of this sequence is real. The second section starts with a new figure in semiquavers (sixteenth notes), which figure is repeated sequentially, Bars 43-45. The first phrase ends with a perfect cadence, Bar 48. Bars 48-54 form a lengthened and slightly varied repetition of Bars 43-48.

Bars 54-56: Codetta. The Codetta is founded on the opening figure of the second subject, taken with partial diminution.

Double bar and repeat.


Bars 57-82: The development alludes to the transition and to the second subject, Bars 80-82 alone referring to a little figure from the first subject. It opens in the key of C major with a passage founded on the triplet figure from the transition (Bar 23) in combination with a new figure in the treble, of which latter there is some slight development in the following bars. In Bar 64, there follows a modulating sequence formed by the opening bars of the second subject, which are taken successively on the chords of D minor, G minor, C major (as the dominant of F major) and on F major. The music now returns to the key of D minor, and reverts definitely to F major (the key of the tonic) in the last bar of the section only (Bar 82). The slurred two-crotchet (quarter note) figure (Bars 75-77) are taken from a similar two-quaver (eighth note) figure, Bar 40. By an implied enharmonic modulation (Bar 81) the chord of D minor II with flat ninth is quitted as F major II with flat ninth.


Bars 83-95: First Subject in Tonic (unaltered).

Bars 95-108: Bridge-passage or Transition. With the exception of Bars 100-103 the second transition is an exact repetition of the original passage.

Bars 109-142: Second Subject in Tonic. First section (Bars 109-131); second section (Bars 131-142). The second subject reappears transposed almost literally into the key of the tonic, but lengthened in the first section by the interpolation of six bars (Bars 117-122). In these the opening figure of the subject is taken in alternate bars in exact and in modified form – the former in the bass, the latter transferred to the treble – accompanied each time by a variation of the semiquaver (sixteenth note) figure form the second bar of the subject. The whole passage forms a descending sequence which, however, alters in the last two bars.

Bars 142-144: Codetta. There is no coda, the movement ends with a repetition of the codetta transposed into the key of the tonic.

Double bar and repeat. In his pianoforte sonatas Mozart very frequently marks the second, as well as the first, part of his sonata allegro movements to be repeated. This custom, which is now practically obsolete, was almost invariable in the older sonata-forms from which the newer design was gradually evolved. Its ultimate origin is traceable even further back to the still more ancient dance-forms.

Second Movement (Adagio)

Form: Sonata Form. F Minor. 

Mozart Piano Sonata No.2 in F major, K.280 Analysis 2

This is the only pianoforte sonata by Mozart in which the slow movement is written in the key of the tonic minor.


Bars 1-8: First Subject in Tonic. A sentence of eight bars in F minor that divides into two four-bar phrases, the first ending on an interrupted, the second on a full, cadence.

No Bridge-passage.

Bars 9-21: Second Subject in A flat major (relative). A sentence of just over twelve bars. The various instances of imitation between the parts should be noted in the first subject, the chord of the German sixth in Bar 13 (and in Bar 47), and the first inversion of the chord of the supertonic minor ninth, in Bar 15.

Bars 21-24: Codetta. The Codetta is founded on the opening figure of the movement.

Double bar and repeat.


Bars 25-32: The development consists of a passage of eight bars, starting in the key of A flat major, and of which the opening bar alone bears any reference to the exposition. It modulates to the key of B flat minor, Bar 26, and ends on a half-cadence on G – the dominant of C minor – in which key the return to the first subject is made.


Bars 33-42: First Subject in C minor (Dominant minor) and F minor (Tonic). At its return the opening phrase of the first subject is heard first in the key of C minor (the dominant minor), after which the subject contracted from eight bars to six, appears regularly in the key of the tonic.

Bars 43-57: Second Subject in Tonic (slightly lengthened). The second subject reappears slightly lengthened and modified and in the original minor instead of the tonic major. This change of mode, a favourite device of Mozart’s, gives the subject a new and very beautiful effect.

Bars 57-60: Codetta in Tonic.

Third Movement (Presto)

Form: Sonata Form. F Major. 

Mozart Piano Sonata No.2 in F major, K.280 Analysis 3


Bars 1-16: First Subject in Tonic. The first subject is a sixteen-bar sentence in four-bar rhythm. After the half-cadence in the tonic, Bar 8, the melody is repeated an octave lower, the final phrase being altered to close with a perfect cadence.

Bars 17-37: Bridge-passage or Transition. The transition starts on a tonic pedal in F major. Bars 21-24 repeat the foregoing phrase with the upper parts inverted. A short descending sequence follows (Bars 35-38), varied slightly in the last bar, and modulating, in Bar 27, to C major. The transition ends, Bars 37, on a cadence – several times repeated – on G, the dominant of C major, in which key the second subject appears.

Bars 38-66: Second Subject in C major (Dominant). The second subject consists of one sentence in which, like in the first subject, the second part (Bars 50-66) is a varied repetition of the first; here it is also lengthened by cadential repetition of the final phrase. It is interesting to note that the opening two-bar section becomes, on repetition, a three-bar section, Bars 40-42. And, on the other hand, that a comparison of Bras 46-49 with Bars 59-62 proves that here the former is a three-bar phrase, and not a two bar section lengthened by the sequential repetition in its second bar. Another point to notice is that the melody in Bars 50-52 is accompanied in the left hand by an imitation a tenth below. Compare the semiquaver (sixteenth note) passage, Bars 59-65, with that in Bas 5-8

Bars 66-77: Codetta. The Codetta commences with a figure founded on the opening notes of the first subject; the semiquaver (sixteenth note) figures also may be traced to those occurring earlier in the exposition.

Double bar and repeat.


Bars 78-106: The development refers alternately to the opening bars of the second subject and to a passage (Bars 25-28) from the transition. It starts in the key of C minor and modulates through G minor, B flat minor, and F major to D minor, on the dominant of which key it ends, Bar 106. This exceptional ending of the development on dominant harmony in the key of the relative minor is a most interesting point to notice, for, in the older classical music, it was almost universal practice to end this section of the movement of the dominant harmony in the key of the tonic. Note also the continual inversion and re-inversion of the parts (Bars 90-106), the chord of the Neapolitan sixth (Bar 98), and and the Italian sixth (Bars 102 and 104).


Bars 107-123: First Subject in Tonic (unaltered).

Bars 124-148: Bridge-passage or Transition (lengthened). The second transition starts like the original passage; it is, however, lengthened by four bars (Bars 136-139), which form a real sequence to the previous four. The latter part is modified to lead into the second subject in the key of the tonic.

Bars 149-177: Second Subject (in Tonic).

Bars 177-190: Codetta. The Codetta reappears slightly lengthened.

Double bar and repeat.