A term brought into use in the late Renaissance with a variety of specific meanings, generally implying a composition similar to a canzona or a prelude. By the 18th century the term had a similar implication as the term "sonata". During the 18th century it came to be used for a three movementcomposition, until it gradually took on the meaning of our modern term "symphony". In modern usage, "sinfonia" implies a work of smaller proportions than a full symphony.
The Italian and Spanish (sinfonía) term for symphony.