Piano Sonata No. 11 (Mozart)

"Alla Turca" redirects here. For the general Turkish-inspired trend in European music, see Turkish music (style).
The first two bars of Sonata in A, K. 331  Play 

The Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major, K. 331 (300i), by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is a piano sonata in three movements. It is uncertain where and when Mozart composed the sonata; however, Vienna or Salzburg around 1783 is currently thought to be most likely (Paris and dates as far back as 1778 have also been suggested). The sonata was published by Artaria in 1784, alongside Nos. 10 and 12 (K. 330 and K. 332).[1]


Sound files based on MIDI files from the Mutopia Project

Andante grazioso, Variation 1

Variation 2

Variation 3

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Variation 4

Variation 5

Variation 6


  1. Andante grazioso – a theme with six variations
  2. Menuetto – a minuet and trio
  3. Alla Turca – Allegretto

All of the movements are in the key of A major or A minor; therefore, the work is homotonal. A typical performance of this entire sonata takes about 20 minutes.[2]

Movement 1 – Theme and variations

Since the opening movement of this sonata is a theme and variation, Mozart defied the convention of beginning a sonata with an allegro movement in sonata form. The theme consists of two 8 measure sections, each repeated, a structure shared by each variation. The tempo marking is "Andante grazioso" (walking pace, gracefully). It is in the key of A major.

Movement 2 – Menuetto and trio

The second movement of the sonata is a standard minuet and trio movement in A major. The minuet is 40 measures long, and the trio is 52.

Movement 3 – Rondo alla turca (Turkish March)

Beginning of the third movement
Alla Turca
Performed by Romuald Greiss on an 1850 Budynowicz piano

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The last movement, "Alla turca", popularly known as the "Turkish March", is often heard on its own and is one of Mozart's best-known piano pieces. Mozart himself titled the rondo "Alla turca".[3] It imitates the sound of Turkish Janissary bands, the music of which was much in vogue at that time.[4] Various other works of the time imitate this Turkish style, including Mozart's own opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail. In Mozart's time, the last movement was sometimes performed on pianos built with a "Turkish stop", allowing it to be embellished with extra percussion effects. The form of the rondo is A–B–C–D–E–C–A–B–C–coda, with each section (except the coda) being repeated twice.

Section A – This section, in A minor, consists of a rising sixteenth note melody followed by a falling eighth note melody over a staccato eighth note accompaniment. It is eight measures long.

Section B – This section introduces new material in a melody in thirds and eighth notes before varying the A section with a crescendo before falling back to piano.

Section C – A forte march in octaves over an arpeggiated chord accompaniment. The key changes to A major.

Section D – A piano continuous sixteenth note melody over a broken chord accompaniment. This section is in F-sharp minor.

Section E – A forte scale-like theme followed by a modification of section D.

Coda – A forte theme consisting mostly of chords (arpeggiated and not) and octaves. There is a brief piano restatement of the theme in the middle of the coda. The movement ends with alternating A and C-sharp octaves followed by two A major chords.

Relationships to later compositions

The theme of the first movement was used by Max Reger in his Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Mozart (1914) for orchestra.[5] Dave Brubeck's "Blue Rondo à la Turk" (1959) is not based on or related to the last movement, "Alla turca".[6]

Original score

In 2014, a Hungarian musicologist discovered four pages of Mozart's original score of the sonata in Budapest's National Széchényi Library. The paper and handwriting of the four pages matched that of the final page of the score, held in Salzburg. The original score is close to the first edition, published in 1784, but differs from later editions. These later editions had been altered over time on the opinion of scholars that the first edition was incorrect.[7] Zoltán Kocsis gave the first performance of the discovered score in September 2014.[8]


  1. Irving, John (2013). Understanding Mozart's Piano Sonatas. Ashgate. p. 54. ISBN 9781409494096.
  2. Robins, Brian. Piano Sonata No. 11 in A Major ("Alla Turca") K. 331 (K. 300i) at AllMusic. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
  3. John Thompson's Modern Course for the Piano: The Fifth Grade Book. The Willis Music Company; Cincinnati, Ohio, 1952.
  4. Schmidt-Jones, Catherine. "Janissary Music and Turkish Influences on Western Music", 10 May 2010
  5. "Max Reger's Mozart Variations", presented by Walter Parker, Vermont Public Radio, 19 March 2012
  6. Sleeve notes to Time Out, notnowmusic.com
  7. Kozinn, Allan (1 October 2014). "A Mozart Mystery: Sonata Manuscript Surfaces in Budapest". The New York Times. p. C4.
  8. "A rediscovered sonata, as Mozart intended". AFP. 27 September 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-10-09. Retrieved 2015-02-14.
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