The Sonata for Two Pianos in D major, K. 448 is a piano work composed in 1781 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, at 25 years of age. It is written in strict sonata-allegro form, with three movements. The sonata was composed for a performance he would give with fellow pianist Josephine von Aurnhammer. Mozart composed this in the gallant style, with interlocking melodies and simultaneous cadences. This is one of his only formal compositions written exclusively for two pianos. This sonata was also used in the scientific study that tested the theory of the Mozart Effect, suggesting that classical music increases brain activity more positively than other kinds of music. The sonata is written in three movements,
1. Allegro con spirito
and 3. Molto Allegro.
The first movement begins in D major, and sets the tonal center with a strong introduction. The two pianos divide the main melody for the exposition, and when the theme is presented both play it simultaneously. Mozart spends little time in the development introducing a new theme unlike most sonata forms, and begins the recapitulation, repeating the first theme. The entire second movement is played Andante, in a very relaxed pace. The melody is played with both pianos, but there is no strong climax in this movement. It is written in a strict ABA form. Molto Allegro begins with a galloping theme. The cadences used in this movement are similar to those in Mozart’s Rondo alla Turca. According to the British Epilepsy Organization, research has suggested that Mozart’s K 448 can have the “Mozart effect”, in that listening to the piano sonata improved spatial reasoning skills and reduce the number of seizures in people with epilepsy. Apart from another Mozart Concerto, K 488, only one other piece of music has been found to have a similar effect, a song by the Greek composer Yanni, entitled “Acroyali/Standing In Motion”, which is featured on his album Yanni Live at the Acropolis. It was determined to have the “Mozart effect”, by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine because it was similar to Mozart’s K 448 in tempo, structure, melodic and harmonic consonance and predictability.