Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


School of Music


Lisa M. Maynard

Wanchi Huang

Carl Donakowski


Since the completion of Ysaÿe’s Six Sonatas for the Solo Violin in 1923, performances of this important work in the violin literature have continually been well received by the public. This collection is frequently compared with J.S. Bach’s Six Sonatas and Partitas for the Solo Violin, because of the clear connection between these two works. Each of Ysaÿe’s pieces were dedicated to six younger violinist contemporaries and were composed in consideration of the character of the dedicatee, forming a kaleidoscope of musical and technical delights for both the performer and their audience.

While each of Ysaÿe’s six sonatas offer performers technical and musical challenges, some of the works, such as No. 3 and 4, have been favored with preferential treatment by violin performers over the remaining works. “The first four sonatas are the most important of the set and the most likely to win a permanent place for themselves in the repertory.”[1] This document focuses on Solo Violin Sonatas No’s. 5 & 6 which, while less frequently performed than their counterparts, possess unique contrasting musical qualities making them worthy of being examined in more detail.

The purpose of this document is to examine and discuss these two important works focusing on not only their unique musical and technical elements, but also how to practice and teach them. This document will also explore the historical backgrounds of these two violin masterpieces, with an eye towards understanding the musical and technical skills required for their successful performance. Lastly, questions of how to best practice these sonatas efficiently will be discussed.

[1] Lev Ginsburg and Herbert R Axelrod, Prof. Lev Ginsburg’s Ysaÿe (Neptune City, N.J.: Paganiniana, 1980), 532.



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