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Beethoven: Sonata 8 (Pathétique)

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Ludwig van Beethoven - Sonatas :
Sonata 8 (Pathétique), Op. 13
Sonata 8 (Pathétique) Op. 13  in C Minor by Beethoven piano sheet music
Key: C Minor Published: 1798
Level: 8+ Period: Classical
piano sheet music Piano score: PS Urtext (844 kB)
piano sheet music Piano score: Ruthardt edition (3376 kB)

The start of a new piano era

Beethoven’s eighth piano sonata, in c minor, is one of the few works that the composer himself named, officially calling it Grande sonate pathétique. It is one of the first sonatas where Beethoven’s unique temperament and his revolutionary approach to the piano becomes truly evident. The first, dramatic and almost aggressive movement starts with a massive, loud c minor chord that must have come as a shock to contemporary listeners. Before long, the slow introductory section gives way to a fast and explosive rising staccato motif. A third theme, which returns slightly transformed in the last movement of the sonata, has the right hand jumping back and forth from treble to bass.

The second movement in A-flat major, far more familiar to the casual listener, features a beautiful cantabile melody, one of Beethoven’s most beloved creations. This Adagio certainly makes a nice soothing contrast to the violence of the first movement.

The third movement is a rondo and returns to a faster tempo. It contains elements of the first two movements, thereby tying the entire sonata together in a way that represents a significant development in the history of the piano sonata. Although it is the second movement that most listeners will remember, the full effect of this amazing work is revealed only when it is considered as a whole. It is also interesting to note that there are several similarities between the Pathétique Sonata and Mozart’s c minor sonata K. 457. For instance, the main theme of the slow movement of the Pathétique sounds remarkably similar to a theme in the slow movement of the Mozart sonata.

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Posts in the piano forum about this piece by :

xx Beethoven's 8th piano sonata (complete, video recording)
October 08, 2013, 08:38:25 PM by thesixthsensemusic

Hi everyone,

Been polishing up some of my old repertoire, and decided to record the famous 'Pathétique' sonata today.

So, here's the end result:

Curious to what you think about them, as usual. Smiley

xx Beethoven Sonata Op.13, No.8 1st Movement
April 16, 2012, 04:31:43 PM by jugular

Been working on this for a bit and just wanted critique of my playing. Ignore the tuning of my school's piano, they're heavily neglected in that department...

xx Beethoven Grande Sonate Pathétique op.13
March 11, 2012, 10:45:27 PM by pianowolfi

First movement. I hope I can add the other movements soon, I have recorded them but I'm trying to get better takes.

I added the second movement:

third movement:

xx Beethoven pathetique movement 2
June 24, 2011, 06:38:01 AM by benzenering


Thanks for watching.

xx Excerpt from Pathetique Sonata Mvmt. 1
April 15, 2011, 04:24:11 AM by musicluvr49


I'm doing a competition on the 29th, and I'm playing the 1st movement of Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata. I just found out today, that I can only perform 5 minutes... but they say that I can perform an excerpt. Sad  I really don't like the idea of cutting parts out from this beautiful sonata, but it is my best piece that I have perfected, so I really want to perform this one.

Anyone have any ideas which parts I should play that would be under 5 minutes? Playing through the whole thing, takes me about 10 minutes.

Any advice would be helpful.

Thanks. Smiley

xx Beethoven Sonata op. 13 1st mvmt (string quartet arrangement)
March 29, 2011, 09:35:57 AM by cygnusdei

Hi all,

Here's an attempt at a string quartet arrangement of of Beethoven Piano Sonata no. 8 in C minor, Op. 13 (1st movement). Please take a listen, and let me know what you think. Thank you  Kiss


xx Beethoven's Pathetique 2nd movement
March 12, 2011, 12:11:03 AM by jazzhands56

Any Tips On Fingering or just general Tips On Playing Pathetique Smiley  Grin Many Thanks Wink

xx pathetique 2nd movement
March 01, 2011, 06:06:44 PM by ch101

hi guys. this is my first new topic.
I am working on the pathetique sonata for my arct exam and I do not know ow to control the pedaling for the second movement. I am kind of hovering over the pedal right now. anyone got any good ideas?

xx Pathetique 2nd mvt.
February 16, 2011, 08:01:32 PM by fred792k


Could you tell me how difficult the 2nd mvt of Pathetique is compared to Träumerei and Moonlight Sonata mvt 1.

I Can play a minute of the second movement of Pathetique so far, but I don't know, if it's too difficult. What do you think?

Kind regards

xx Voicing in Pathetique Sonata 2nd Movement
January 29, 2011, 07:27:37 PM by musicluvr49

Ok, so I've been playing this piece for about a month now, and I think I've got it down pretty well. But I was wondering... Has anyone ever tried doing like seperate dynamics and voicing for each voice in the piece,  other than the melody line? I just though of this, but I think it would sound really cool. Smiley

xx Pathetique Sonata 1st Movement speed.
January 13, 2011, 03:25:17 AM by musicluvr49

I listened to a couple of recordings of this, like Horowitz's version. and I was wondering......Does this sonata really have to be played at that speed, or can it be slower, and still be acceptable?

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