Mozart: Piano Sonata No.6 in D major, K.284 Analysis


First Movement (Allegro)

Form: Sonata Form. D Major. 

Mozart Piano Sonata No.6 in D major, K.284 Analysis 1


Bars 1-9: First Subject in Tonic. It should be noted that the first phrase is written in unison, and that the second one is lengthened to five bars by repetition in Bars 5-6. The semiquaver (sixteenth note) figures (Bars 7 and 8) form a descending melodic sequence, ending with a perfect cadence in the tonic, Bar 9.

Bars 9-21: Bridge-passage or Transition (overlapping). The transition commences with the four bars on tonic pedal (Bars 9-12) overlaps the first subject. It continues to Bar 21 and, beyond a transient modulation to G major, is entirely in the key of the tonic which it ends on a half-cadence. Bar 16 forms the chord of the augmented sixth in D major.

Bars 22-51: Second Subject in A major (Dominant). The second section is divided into two section (Bars 22-38 and 38-51). The first section of the second subject starts with a four bar phrase, ending on an inverted cadence (Bar 25); Bars 26-29 repeat the foregoing in modified form. A five-bar phrase, whose first three bars rise sequentially, follows and ends on a half cadence (Bars 33,34). The final phrase is written out on dominant pedal. The second section (Bars 38-51) commences with what is really a four-bar phrase, but which is contracted to three bars by the phrase being immediately repeated overlapping. The responsive phrase is lengthened by the sequential repetition of Bar 47, and by the cadential extension at the end of the phrase.

Double bar and repeat.


Bars 52-71: Episode. The second part of this movement consists wholly of an episode. Although, in the usual acceptation of the term, there is no development of material from the exposition, the germ of the episode is to be found there. Compare with Bars 17 and 18, the opening motive of this episode with its semiquaver (sixteenth note) accompaniment. The section is full of inversion of parts and of sequential passages. Starting in the key of A minor, it modulates thence through E minor, B minor, F sharp minor, E minor, D minor, and G minor to D major, on the dominant chord which key it closes, Bar 70. Note that

  1. the second chord in Bar 60, which is taken as the first inversion of the chord of the submediant in B minor, is quitted as the Neapolitan sixth in F sharp minor;
  2. the chord in Bar 69 which, in similar manner is taken in G minor, is quitted in D major;
  3. the fourth chord in Bar 68 is the first inversion of the chord of the minor seventh in the key of G minor; and
  4. Bars 70-71 form a link leading into the recapitulation.


Bars 72-80: First Subject in Tonic (unaltered).

Bars 80-92: Transition (unaltered).

Bars 93-127: Second Subject in Tonic (lengthened and slightly varied). first (93-110) second (110-127)

Double bar and repeat.

Second Movement (Rondeau En Polonaise)

Form: Rondo-Sonata Form. A Major. 

Mozart Piano Sonata No.6 in D major, K.284 Analysis 2

It is not only somewhat unusual to find the slow movement of a sonata in rondo form, but this movement is written also in the less usual key of the dominant. The metrically unaccented cadences (cadences in which the final chord or melody note falls on a weak beat) should be noted in Bars 8 and 16 (and at each repetition of the principle subject) but also in Bar 30, the last bar of the second subject. This feature, combined with the triple time in which the movement is written, is the special characteristic of the Polonaise. 


Bars 1-16: Principle Subject in A. The principle subject, a sentence of sixteen bars, consists of an eight-bar theme in A major, ending the first time on a half-cadence; the theme is then repeated varied, ending the second time on a full cadence.

Bars 17-30: Second Subject in the keys of A major (Tonic) and E major (Dominant). The second subject starts with a new theme in the tonic, modulating (Bar 22) to E major (dominant), in which key there is a full cadence, Bar 25; the sentence is then extended by cadential repetitions to Bar 30.

Bars 31-46: Principle subject (second entry) varied.


Bars 47-52: Episode in F sharp minor. In this passage, which ends on a half-cadence in F sharp minor, the bass descends chromatically. The cadence is formed by the chord of the augmented sixth – the German sixth changing into the Italian sixth – resolving on to the chord of the dominant.


Bars 53-69: Second Subject, slightly lengthened, and transposed into the keys of D major (Subdominant) and A major (Tonic) and closing on a half cadence in A minor.

Bars 70-92: Principle Subject (third entry) lengthened and again varied. The principle subject this time is not only considerably varied but is also lengthened by cadential repetitions. The original final cadence is interrupted by an inverted cadence in the key of the relative minor – F sharp, and appears, instead, at the end of the extensions, Bars 90-91.

Third Movement (Andante)

Form: Air with Variations. D major. 

Mozart Piano Sonata No.6 in D major, K.284 Analysis 3

AIR and all VARIATIONS except No. VII:

A: Sentence in D major (Tonic) and A major (Dominant).

Double bar and repeat (except in No. XI and XII).

B: First phrase (second sentence) ending on half-cadence in D major (Nos. IX, X, and XI have a half cadence in the tonic).

A2: Second phrase (second sentence). Return to opening phrase of first sentence.

Double bar and repeat.


A: Sentence in D minor (Tonic minor) and A minor (Dominant minor).

B: First phrase (second sentence) ending on half cadence in D minor. Second phrase (second sentence). Return to one of the phrases of the first sentence. 

Double bar and repeat.


The “Tema” is written in a form which is neither wholly binary nor wholly ternary in design, but which partakes of the character of both.


  1. The first variation is characterized by triplets in the treble.
  2. The second variation is worked entirely on the figures which it opens in both bass and treble.
  3. The third variation is characterized by the semiquaver (sixteenth note) movement in the treble.
  4. The fourth variation is characterized by the semiquaver (sixteenth note) movement in the bass.
  5. The special feature to notice in the fifth variation is the slight working of the opening motive. This is, to a great extent, combined with an accompaniment of thirds. The inversion of bars at the commencement of the last phrase (Bars 13-15) should be noted.
  6. In the sixth variation the melody, divided between the bass and treble, is accompanied throughout by the reiterated figure of a “broken” interval. The figure is invariably formed of thee semiquavers (sixteenth notes) followed by a semiquaver rest.
  7. Although, in music of this period, examples to the contrary can be found, more frequently, as in this set of variations, only one variation was written in the minor mode. The Italian sixth in D minor occurs both in Bars 3 and 16; that of the German sixth in A minor in Bar 6; and in Bar 10, the first inversion of the chromatic major chord on the mediant of D minor is followed by the chord of the Neapolitan sixth.
  8. In the eighth variation the melody is in octaves. The phrases, commencing in Bars 4 and 13, start with the parts inverted.
  9. The ninth variation is characterized by almost constant syncopation combined with imitation between the parts, both by similar and contrary motion. Note specially Bars 4-6 and 12-15, in which there is strict imitation at the octave above; in Bars 12-14, the imitation is by contrary motion.
  10. The tenth variation is accompanied throughout by broken octaves. in this variation the return is undoubtedly made to the second phrase of Part I.
  11. The eleventh variation is marked “Adago Cantabile” is, as the words imply, of a song-like character. As usual in such cases, each part of the melody is greatly varied and ornamented at the repetition. The repetitions, therefore, are written out in full and the double bar and repeat marks which have occurred both in the middle and at the end of the “Tema” and in each of the previous variations are of course omitted, and only the one set of double bars (without repeat marks) placed at the end.
  12. In the twelfth variation, marked Allegro, both the time and the tempo are changed, the alteration from common time to 3/4 time giving a lively character to this final variation. Both parts are repeated, each being greatly varied. In Part II, the second phrase is twice lengthened by the introduction of an interrupted cadence causing cadential repetition. Bar 28 forms the chord of the Italian sixth in D major.