Type 2 Trouble: 
Apparent and (Real!) Reversed Recapitulations in Nineteenth-Century Sonata Forms

In a small number of sonata forms scattered across the nineteenth century, the development is followed immediately by a return of the subordinate theme, the main theme coming back only later or not at all. How to interpret these forms­—often casually referred to as sonata forms with “reversed recapitulation”—has been a topic of debate among theorists within the new Formenlehre. While some (Hepokoski and Darcy 2006, Smith 2019, and Hepokoski 2021) have argued against the “reversed recapitulation” model and in favor of an understanding along the lines of the (eighteenth-century) “Type 2 sonata,” others (e.g., Wingfield 2008, Wingfield and Horton 2012, Vande Moortele 2017) have problematized that position on historical and analytical grounds.

In this paper, I will weigh the arguments pro and contra the various positions, at once problematizing the “Type 2” approach and arguing for a more restrictive application of the “reversed recapitulation” idea. Analyzing more and less familiar pieces by Mendelssohn, Schumann, Martucci, Hartmann, and Hummel, my goal is to develop ways of thinking about these forms that move beyond the dichotomy between these two alternatives.

Steven Vande Moortele

University of Toronto


Steven Vande Moortele is Associate Professor of Music Theory at the University of Toronto, where he is also Associate Dean, Research at the Faculty of Music as well as director of the Centre for the Study of Nineteenth-Century Music (CSNCM). His research interests include theories of musical form, the analysis of large-scale instrumental music from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century, and the works of Richard Wagner and Arnold Schoenberg. He has published articles and reviews in Music Theory Spectrum, Music Analysis, Music & Letters, Intégral, Res Musica, Current Musicology, Nineteenth-Century Music Review, Musik und Ästhetik, Dutch Journal of Music Theory, and Revue belge de musicologie, as well as essays in several edited volumes. His article “The Sorcerer as Apprentice: Trial, Error, and Chord Magic in Wagner’s Die Feen” (Music & Letters, 2019) was awarded the 2020 Westrup Prize from the Music and Letters Fund, and his article “Murder, Trauma, and the Half-Diminished Seventh Chord in Schoenberg’s Song of the Wood Dove” (Music Theory Spectrum, 2017) won the 2019 Roland Jackson Award from the American Musicological Society. In 2018, his book The Romantic Overture and Musical Form from Rossini to Wagner (Cambridge University Press, 2017) received the Wallace Berry Award from the Society for Music Theory. Vande Moortele is also the author of Two-Dimensional Sonata Form: Form and Cycle in Single-Movement Instrumental Works by Liszt, Strauss, Schoenberg, and Zemlinsky, (Leuven University Press, 2009), and co-editor (with Julie Pedneault-Deslauriers and Nathan Martin) of Formal Functions in Perspective: Essays on Musical Form from Haydn to Adorno (University of Rochester Press, 2015).

Current projects include a volume Wagner Studies for Cambridge University Press (co-edited with J.P.E. Harper-Scott) and a SSHRC-funded research project on sonata form in European concert music between 1815 and 1914 (in collaboration with Julian Horton and Benedict Taylor). Vande Moortele also serves on the editorial board of Music Theory Spectrum and the advisory board of Music Theory & Analysis, as well as on the editorial board of the book series Operatheek (Leuven University Press).

Before coming to the University of Toronto, Vande Moortele held postdoctoral positions at the University of Leuven (Belgium) and McGill University and taught at the University of Oklahoma. His research is or has been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Connaught Fund of the University of Toronto, the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung (Bonn, Germany), and the Research Fund Flanders (FWO Vlaanderen). In 2013 he was awarded the Mart. J. Lürsen Prize of the Dutch-Flemish Society for Music Theory (Vereniging voor Muziektheorie). Since 2015, Vande Moortele has been an affiliate faculty member of the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. From 2014­ until 2016, he also was a co-editor of the journal Music Theory & Analysis (MTA).