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Beethoven: Sonata 14 (Moonlight) opus 27 no 2

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Ludwig van Beethoven - Sonatas :
Sonata 14 (Moonlight), Op. 27 No. 2
Sonata 14 (Moonlight) Op. 27 No. 2  in C-sharp Minor by Beethoven piano sheet music
Key: C-sharp Minor Published: 1801
Level: 8+ Period: Classical
piano sheet music Piano score: PS Urtext (284 kB)
piano sheet music Piano score: Ruthardt edition (2569 kB)
piano sheet music Piano score: facsimile of first edition (9844 kB)
piano music mp3 recording Sonata 14 (Moonlight) Op. 27 No. 2 - FREE SAMPLE (mp3 file)

Hypnotic calm before the storm...

Beethoven's Piano Sonata op. 27 no. 2 in C-sharp minor - better known as the Moonlight Sonata - is one of Beethoven's most popular piano works, especially the haunting first movement with its sad melody played against the familiar ostinato triplet rhythm. It's the kind of soothingly beautiful but sad movement that can almost place a listener into a state of hypnosis. The most famous remark about this movement was made by Ludwig Rellstab, a German critic and poet, who likened it to moonlight shining upon Lake Lucerne.

Slightly less well known but indeed well worth exploring are the comparatively cheerful second movement - a fairly conventional and straightforward Scherzo and trio in D-flat major - and the heavier, stormier third movement Presto, which revisits the key and material of the first movement. This dramatic composition, with typical Beethovenian sharp accents, is also very difficult to play, especially when compared to the relatively simple first movement. The sonata was completed in 1801 and dedicated to the Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, a pupil of Beethoven, in 1802.

Practice & Performance Tips:
Beethoven instructs the performer to depress the sustain pedal for the entire duration of the first movement. ("Si deve suonare tutto questo pezzo delicatissimamente e senza sordino"). On most modern instruments, however, the effect will probably be too blurred if there are no pedal changes at all. But if that other main instruction is followed - to play softly and delicately... Sign up for a Gold membership to read the practice tips.

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Posts in the piano forum about this piece by :

xx Beethoven - Moonlight sonate mov. 1,3
March 07, 2016, 03:23:41 PM by eladbu

This is a recording of me playing the moonlight sonate mov. 1+3.
Please leave you thought down in the comments.
Thank you.
Elad Buchris

xx 3rd mvmt of moonlight from jazz player.
September 14, 2013, 08:55:19 PM by dcstudio

think I should try more classical ?


xx bus station sonata nonplayers playing piano
November 18, 2012, 11:43:37 AM by antnhec

Hi, I came across the forum. I have been doing a ocupel of piano projects and was thinking it might be of interest here. In this work we set up a piano in a bus station witha pianist and then got them to play Beethoven moonlight Sonata, only we got passers-bye to join in with him, many of whom were non players. I would really like to know what people think.


xx Suggestions for new pieces to learn?
November 03, 2012, 05:08:23 PM by teenagepiano

I have completed the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata, and this was a big project for me that stretched me. It took me about 3 weeks of learning everyday to memorise the notes and performance-wise it still isn't perfect and I'm currently ironing out the mistakes(Probably one more week until there are no mistakes).

I would like a new project to work on alongside this, but preferably around the same difficulty or less as Moonlight Sonata as I don't think I will be able to handle more technically advanced pieces.

Thank You Smiley

xx Moonlight Sonata 1st Movement - Personal Preference?
October 27, 2012, 05:23:28 PM by teenagepiano

I'm learning the Moonlight Sonata 1st Movement. I'm about half way through at Bar 30 and I'm beginning to refine the performance as I learn more.

My favourite performance of the Moonlight Sonata is by Wilhelm Kempff and he plays the first movement in 5:44, and I'm curious as to what tempo is best.

I'm currently playing with an finish time of about 6 minutes and I think that tempo is good as it won't bore any people listening and gives plenty of time to add more depth to my playing. What temp do you think is best?

In addition to this, I'm learning on a 61 key-keyboard and so I can't play everything precisely as what the sheet music asks, I'm also playing one octave higher but I'm a bit frustrated with the parts such as Bar 5,6,11,etc because I can't replicate the sound like I see in professional perforamances. Can you give me any tips on how to play this correctly?

I mean that part 0:24 in this video for example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6txOvK-mAk

Thanks. All help is appreciated.

xx Quick question about Moonlight Sonata Mov 3
October 25, 2012, 03:38:49 PM by teran

So I was just curious about what sort of metronome mark is sort of the absolute minimum to maintain the effect.

My old fashioned clockwork metronome says presto starts at 168, and I wouldn't say that's necessarily unplayable for me by any means, but when I play at such speeds I find any mistake really sends me crashing and burning.

So yeah I suppose back to the question of what the absolute minimum is in case I'm nervous when asked to perform and more likely to slip up.

exclamation Moonlight Sonata - Adagio Sostenuto. Great orchestral transcription.
September 29, 2012, 04:23:47 AM by presto agitato

This is my first Youtube video that I make.  Smiley
Have you listened to this brilliant orchestral transcription made by Leopold Stokowski??


xx Chords, Arpeggios and Moonlight Sonata 3rd Mvmt
August 17, 2012, 06:26:12 PM by thiagoguedes

Hi there,

I just started learning this piece.

I've already searched the forum, read a couple of posts of bernhard about it. What I'm planning:

- Group the ascending  arpeggios into chords and playing this way, like G# C# E G#. There will be seven chords in the first part;

- As soon as I can play the chords in tempo and accurately I'll start to slow them down into arpeggios again;

That's basically what I've read so far. I'm just worried in the linking part. How do I link these chords like moving the hand laterally in speed?

Anyway, any other advice is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

xx [Video] Beethoven Moonlight Sonata 3rd Movement
February 06, 2012, 04:19:37 AM by faj

My practice video again...
Sorry for some unnecessary mistakes, it’s still difficult for me to play this piece perfectly.
I know I still need to improve, so will be very glad to hear any comments/ suggestion .

Thanks a lot in advance.
Best Regards,

xx Chopin-Etude in C# minor vs. Beethoven-Moonlight Sonata 3rd Movement
July 08, 2011, 06:50:56 PM by corecase

Just curious, which would you guys consider to be more difficult?  I know it will not be an easy question to answer, but i'm just looking for subjective opinions; you don't have to prove anything.

EDIT: I just changed my topic, because i noticed that Fantasie Impromptu is WAY easier.  Hopefully this will bring up more of a challenge.

xx Moonlight Sonata Mov.1 Note Reading Help
June 17, 2011, 03:31:15 PM by light22


I am a beginner to the piano and I am trying to teach myself as best that I can, but I have some questions.  I have only learned how to play one song and that is Bach's Prelude in C major and all when smoothly with that piece.
I would like to try Moonlight Sonata, Movement 1, now....but am having a very hard time reading the music.  Any suggestions on how I can understand how to read music with key signatures.  I am trying to understand...but am very confused.
I figured out that it starts out with C# in the left hand, not C like i had originally thought.
And it starts with G# on the right hand, but I get all mixed up trying to read the music from there. 

Thank you for any help

xx Beethoven - Sonata in c# minor, Op 27 No. 2 (1st Movement)
June 16, 2011, 05:17:37 AM by perfect_pitch


After having a word with an american Doctor who came to give me a masterclass on my Chopin Ballade - he said something that really got to me. He said that true pianism is taking a piece of music and bringing it to absolute beauty. Which is why every week (I'll try and keep it every week), I'll try to post a performance of a classic piece of music and really try to bring it to perfection as I can.

And this is why I would like to post a little performance of the 1st movement of Beethovens 'Moonlight' Sonata. Is there anything I could do to just bump this up a notch to get it truly beautiful?

Remember... this is only on a Yamaha C2 piano, so it's much harder to get the softer dynamics than on a (say) $250,000 Fazioli Grand Piano.    Smiley

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