Keyboard Sonata

Domenico Scarlatti

Keyboard Sonata in D major

K. 430, Kk 430 • “Tempo di ballo”

About this work

Scarlatti was an extremely sophisticated composer, using his own imaginative formal designs and employing thematic, harmonic, and rhythmic ideas beyond the confines of the accepted musical idiom of his time. Nevertheless, he never deliberately sought complexity, and never worried about sounding naïve. This delightful Sonata in D major is a case in point. It is as straightforward and simply constructed as almost any effort by the composer. Scarlatti linked its music to dance with the marking Non presto ma a tempo di ballo (Not hurriedly, but in dance tempo), and gives it an almost folk-like character with sharp rhythms and festive moods. The sonata opens with a jaunty, rhythmic theme that exudes joy and a sense of abandon. Catchy thematic fragments permeate the music that follows each appearance of the tune. Midway through the sonata, the theme is somewhat developed and thereafter re-appears, sounding more substantial, with less writing in the upper register. In the end, this light, chipper work must be assessed as one of the more appealing sonatas in the composer's canon. It typically has a duration of just over three minutes.