Sonatine in Modal Style

This collection aims to be a valid alternative in modern/contemporary style to the sonatas by Clementi, Dussek, Kuhlau, etc., maintaining the same level of technical complexity and the same didactic utility in the development of the hand and musical sensitivity. These sonatas are pleasant to listen to and fun to study. 

The “Sonatine in modal style” are composed following the classic Sonata-Form and are inspired by the four elements. This inspiration allowed me to imagine a “depicting music”, music that originated from images and that creates images as well.

Working with images doesn’t necessarily mean writing movies soundtracks, I wanted to investigate them from another point of view.

Image is memory codification, our temper grows and forms itself starting from the images stored in ourselves even if we don’t see or even remember them and make us feel as we do.

Images are made up of vibrations and therefore of frequencies. Music is composed of frequencies, too, and it is the perfect art to work with them. The pieces I write want to be an attempt to search for images, colours, forms or other visual elements stored jealously in the inner part of each of us. They are different from mine but authentic in the same way, and they touch the most secret part of us making us feel special and unique.

I used the modal style for composing these Sonatine, I feel this style suitable for me and I followed composing techniques typical of the 20th century used by Stravinski, Prokofiev, Janácek, but modified them according to my personal sensitivity. Those techniques are used gradually and mixed with a language caressing the soundtrack sphere.

The Modal style has allowed the synthesis of languages, from the inventions of contemporary music to modern music through film music.

As Mattia Mei writes: “Carlo Corazza’s music is placed somewhere between the deep classical background and soundtrack allusions”.

The “Sonatina of Air” is the first of the “Modal Style Sonatine” and is dedicated to the element of air. We cannot exist without air; even a few minutes without it results in death; it is thus the most crucial element. For us musicians, Bach is as important as air, and there are two Bachian quotes in the first movement. Bach’s music is as essential to our survival as oxygen is to our lungs.

The first movement is titled “In the sky,” because Bach surely directs the choir of angels from above.
The second movement, “At the edge of space,” is nearly cinematic soundtrack, imagining a ride on a spacecraft just where the sky and air finish and space and the sense of weightlessness begin.
The third movement was inspired by the dream of flying, being up there and hovering in the air, twisting and observing everything from above without feeling dizzy, pure happiness and adoration of beauty.

In the 1st and 3rd movement of Sonatina Friulana we find the word “Stajare”. It is a rural dance which comes from Austria, in particular from the Steiermark region, and from there it has arrived in Italy and in Friuli Venezia Giulia. Here the dance took typical local features that remember a kind of Mazurka. The first movement of Friulian Sonatina, is built following the Sonata-Form scheme. However in this Sonatina the two main themes are taken from Friulian popular tradition. In particular, the first is the Stajare Tintine Tintone, that I transformed from a tonal to a modal armonisation, while the second is the villotta “E tu Pieri cjol Anute”, that I armonised with fourth augmented. The first 8-bar theme leaves the place to a 3-bar little modulant bridge leading to the second 8-bar theme. At bar 21 we find the development elaborating the material. The recapitulation at bar 39 introduces the second theme, in the starting modal tone. The original melody of Tintine Tintone begins with the notes of left hand at bar 5 and continues with the right hand melody of the beginning. I superimposed the 2 melodies in bars 5 and 6 with are presented in successioni in the original.

The Stajare theme was used by L.van Beethoven in his Sonata op. 81 entitled “Das Wiedersehn”.

In the second movement The Echo of the Earth, there are thematic elements that recall the popular melodies of Ave or Vergine, us saludi by Luigi Garzoni and Stelutis aplinis by Arturo Zardini. The third movement Nuova Furlana Campestre is a harmonic adaptation of the Antica Furlana Campestre, mixed with a hint of the famous Friulian dance Schiarazule Marazule by Giorgio Mainerio (Parma 1535 – Aquileia 1582), a theme that will be harmonized in a modal style and developed with variations in the final movement.

The first movement of the Sonatina of Water has the same formal structure as the Friulian Sonatina.


The Sonatina of Fire instead has a different structure: the 2 themes, of 8 bars each, are proposed twice before giving rise to a development starting from bar 33.

In the second movement of the the Sonatina of the Fire, The Embers, there is the hymn of St. John, which is the liturgical hymn of Vespers of the solemnity of the nativity of St. John the Baptist which occurs on 24 June. Traditionally, on the evening of June 24, a ritual fire is lit that represents the purifying force, to recall the positive energy in every creature and destroy negativity.

The fame of this hymn, written by the historical monk and poet Paolo Diacono (Cividale del Friuli, 720 ca. – Montecassino 799), is due to Guido d’Arezzo (991 ca.-1033), who used the first verse to draw the names of the six notes of the hexachord. The names of the musical notes used in Italy still derive from this conventional criterion: Ut-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La. The name of the note Si occurred in the sixteenth century and are the Initials of Sancte Iohannes = SI.

In the third movement the main theme is the Friulian villotta Vinarastu San Martin. Often the feast of San Martino is linked to the first tapping of the new wine.