Portuguese Keyboard Sonatas of the Second Half of the 18th Century. By Mafalda S. Nejmeddine.

Posted by on in 6. Humanities, 6.4 Arts, Communication, ISSUE 1, Português


 Video type: Communication Knowledge Field: Arts (Music) Language: Portuguese Issue: ISSUE 1, January 2019

Portuguese Keyboard Sonatas of the Second Half of the 18th Century: Formal Analysis of Pedro António Avondano’s Works.

Sonatas Portuguesas para Tecla da Segunda Metade do Século XVIII: Análise Formal das Obras de Pedro António Avondano.

Nejmeddine, Mafalda S.*

(*) Department of Music, Arts school, University of Évora.

Filmed: 05/11/2016 Submitted: 20/11/2016 Published: 22/01/2019

Nejmeddine, M. S. (2019). Portuguese Keyboard Sonatas of the Second Half of the 18th Century: Formal Analysis of Pedro António Avondano’s Works. J. Sci. Tec. Lec. (1). Retrieved from https://www.academy-on.com/videos/nejmeddine-ms-enim16-1-2019/


The keyboard works of the Portuguese composer Pedro António Avondano (1714?–1782) are analysed in terms of form and style from an analytical grill based on the Sonata Theory by Hepokoski and Darcy. A comparison with the keyboard sonatas of the most important Portuguese composers of his time demonstrate that Avondano’s sonatas stand out from the corpus of sonatas of these composers.

As obras para tecla do compositor português Pedro António Avondano (1714?–1782) são analisadas a nível da forma e do estilo a partir de uma grelha de análise baseada na Teoria da Sonata de Hepokoski e Darcy. Uma comparação com as sonatas para tecla dos compositores portugueses mais relevantes da sua época demonstra que as sonatas de Avondano se demarcam do corpus de sonatas destes compositores.


Mafalda Nejmeddine concluded in 1995 the Diploma of the Complementary Piano Course at the Academy of Music S. Pio X in Vila do Conde. In 1999, she obtained the 1st Prize of Harpsichord from the Superior Conservatory of Paris-CNR. His academic career was completed with the Harpsichord Degree in the Superior School of Music of Lisbon, Master degre in Music Education in University of Minho, and with PhD degree in Music and Musicology in University of Évora, which has been supported of the Foundation for Science and Technology. She performed teaching activities, interpretation as a harpsichordist and research in the field of musicology. She edited the score of “Sei Sonate per Cembalo” by Alberto José Gomes da Silva, in collaboration with Gerhard Doderer. Her repertoire extends from ancient music to contemporary music with emphasis on Portuguese keyboard repertoire of the eighteenth-century.


The inventory and analysis of the Portuguese keyboard repertory written in the second half of eighteenth century showed that the sonata is the predominant musical genre. Pedro António Avondano (1714?–1782) is one of the Portuguese composers with greater production in this genre and the author of nine sonatas mainly intended to the harpsichord. The study describes the formal and stylistic characteristics of theses keyboard sonatas and presents a comparative analysis with the corpus of sonatas of the most important composers of the time, from an analysis based on the Sonata Theory by James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy. The analysis revealed the coexistence of a great formal diversity and the assimilation of elements identifying the Galant style and the Empfindsamer Stil, together with a creative capacity concerning the modification of the course usually delineated by sonata forms. It was also verified that Pedro António Avondano works stand out of the corpus of sonatas of the remaining composers of the time by his heterogeneous compositional characteristics.

A inventariação e análise do repertório português para instrumentos de tecla escrito na segunda metade do século XVIII demonstraram que a sonata é o género musical predominante. Pedro António Avondano (1714?–1782) é um dos compositores portugueses com maior produção neste género, sendo autor de nove sonatas destinadas maioritariamente ao cravo. O estudo descreve as características formais e estilísticas das sonatas para instrumentos de tecla deste compositor e apresenta uma análise comparativa com o corpus de sonatas dos compositores mais relevantes da época, partindo de uma análise realizada com base na Teoria da Sonata de James Hepokoski e Warren Darcy. A análise revelou a coexistência de uma grande diversidade formal e a assimilação de elementos identificativos do estilo Galante e do Empfindsamer Stil, a par de uma capacidade criativa no que respeita à modificação do percurso habitualmente delineado pelas formas de sonata. Verificou-se ainda que o conjunto das obras de Pedro António Avondano se demarca do corpus de sonatas dos restantes compositores da época pelas suas características composicionais heterogéneas.


Portuguese music, Pedro António Avondano, Sonata, Keyboard music, Musical analysis.
Música portuguesa, Pedro António Avondano, Sonata, Música para tecla, Análise musical.


This work was supported by the Foundation for Science and Technology (research grant of the QREN – POPH with joint participation by the European Social Fund and by the Portuguese Ministry of Education and Science). The author is most grateful to the Bibliothèque nationale de France, British Library Board, Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal and San Francisco State University for allowing the reproduction of images of their manuscripts and editions. These are: the manuscript Vm7 4874 (ff. 24v, 25r, 25v) of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (slides 16 and 17), the edition g.271.(6.) [pp. 2-3] of the British Library Board (shown in slide 15), the manuscript M.M. 337 (ff. 39v, 47v, 84r) of the Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal (shown in slides 7, 10, 11 and 14) and the manuscript M2.5 v. 45 (ff. 64v–65r) of the Frank V. de Bellis Collection of the San Francisco State University (shown in slides 7 and 8).


The author certifies that there is no actual or potential conflict of interest in relation to this video article..


– Baptista, F. X. (1981). 12 Sonatas para Cravo (Lisboa, ca. 1770) (Portugaliae Musica ed., Vol. XXXVI). (G. Doderer, Ed.) Lisboa: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.
– Hepokoski, J., & Darcy, W. (2006). Elements of Sonata Theory: Norms, Types and Deformations in the Late-Eighteenth-Century Sonata. New York: Oxford University Press.
– Nejmeddine, M. (2015). O Género Sonata em Portugal: Subsídios para o Estudo do Repertório Português para Tecla de 1750 a 1807. Tese de doutoramento, Universidade de Évora.
– Newman, W. S. (1983). The Sonata in the Classic Era (3rd ed.). New York: W. W. Norton.
– Sá Silva, V. d. (2010, April). Avondano’s Lisbon Minuets, the Establishment of a Cosmopolitan Model. Ad Parnassum: A Journal of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Instrumental Music , 8 (15), pp. 79-92.
– Sá Silva, V. d. (2008). Circuitos de Circulação da Música Instrumental em Portugal entre 1750-1820. Tese de doutoramento, Universidade de Évora.
– Silva, A. J. (2003). Sei Sonate per Cembalo, Lisboa, ca. 1770 (Musica Lusitana ed., Vol. 2D). (G. Doderer, & M. Nejmeddine, Eds.) [Mollerussa]: Scala Aretina.


6th National Conference on Musical Research, 3-5 November 2016, Aveiro, Portugal.
Organized by: SPIM (Sociedade Portuguesa de Investigação em Música) and University of Aveiro, Portugal.

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