Beethoven - Piano Music

Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven pushed the boundaries for what was possible to express on the piano. Compared to polished classicists like Mozart and Haydn, he wears his heart on his sleeve - Beethoven is rough, direct, passionate, and bold. He had more than his fair share of inner turmoil, ill health, and personal troubles. Still, he remained an optimist in the deepest sense of the word - his music can be an emotional roller coaster, but more often than not, it leaves you feeling uplifted.



Top Pieces:


Für Elise in A Minor

The graceful, meandering simplicity of this slightly melancholy music never loses its charm. The opening phrase is one of the best known motifs in classical music.

Sonata 8 (Pathéthique) in C Minor, Op. 13

In his eighth piano sonata, Beethoven’s bold, revolutionary approach to the piano becomes truly evident.

Sonata 14 (Moonlight) in C-sharp Minor, Op. 27 No. 2

The soothingly beautiful sadness of Beethoven’s most beloved piano sonata can almost place a listener into a state of hypnosis.

Sonata 23 (Appassionata) in F Minor, Op. 57

Beethoven’s own favorite piano sonata is dominated by a sense of anger and frustration - nothing can prepare you for the first movement’s violent outburst and crashing chords.

Sonatina 6 in G Major, Anh. 5/1

Beethoven’s most popular Sonatina is a lyrical, pleasant, happy work, with two moderately paced movements. A great piece for the early intermediate student who wants to get to know Beethoven’s style.

Biography

Ludwig van Beethoven’s (1770-1827) mother died when he was 16; because of his father's alcoholism he became responsible for his two younger brothers. To stop the family’s money from being spent on drinking, Beethoven even went to his father’s employer to demand half of the salary. At age 22, Beethoven went from his native town Bonn to Vienna to study with Haydn. He established a reputation as a virtuoso improviser at the keyboard and managed to get support from the aristocracy in spite of his uncouth manners; the Archduke Rudolph later decreed that usual court etiquette did not apply to Beethoven.

Beethoven’s first opus, three piano trios, appeared in 1795 and had immediate success. Not long after this Beethoven began to lose his hearing, which not only made it hard for him to perceive music and to perform, but also intensified his antisocial tendencies. He even contemplated suicide but eventually made a resolution to continue living for his art. He then spent the following decade writing some of the most admired works in all music history, many of them expressing struggle and heroism. The first of these, his 3rd symphony Eroica, was originally dedicated to Napoleon – he erased the dedication when Napoleon proclaimed himself emperor. Beethoven became the most respected composer of his time, but his personal difficulties continued, including a series of failed romances. The realisation that he would never marry probably contributed to a period of depression and low productivity from about 1812. That year he wrote a famous love letter to a certain "Immortal Beloved", the identity of whom remains unknown.

When his brother suddenly died, Beethoven became involved in a long struggle for the custody of his nephew Karl. However, towards the end of the 1810s Beethoven’s creative imagination triumphed once again over his troubles. The works of his late period are written in a unique, highly personal musical language where variation form and contrapuntal writing features prominently and large-scale forms are handled with complete freedom. In spite of his deafness, Beethoven managed to perform on a number of occasions; having conducted the premiere of the Ninth Symphony, he began to weep when he turned around and saw the tumultuous applause of the audience. Beethoven died on 26 March 1827, in the midst of a fierce thunderstorm – legend has it that the dying man shook his fists in defiance of the heavens.


Quotes by Beethoven

“Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.”

“Do not merely practice your art, but force your way into its secrets; it deserves that, for only art and science can exalt man to divinity.”

“O you men who think or say that I am malevolent, stubborn or misanthropic, how greatly do you wrong me, you do not know the secret causes of my seeming. I sometimes ran counter to it yielding to my inclination for society, but what a humiliation when one stood beside me and heard a flute in the distance and I heard nothing, or someone heard the shepherd singing and again I heard nothing, such incidents brought me to the verge of despair, but little more and I would have put an end to my life - only art it was that withheld me, ah it seemed impossible to leave the world until I had produced all that I felt called upon me to produce, and so I endured this wretched existence.”

“The true artist has no pride. He sees unfortunately that art has no limits; he has a vague awareness of how far he is from reaching his goal; and while others may perhaps admire him, he laments the fact that he has not yet reached the point whither his better genius only lights the way for him like a distant sun.”

“What you are, you are by accident of birth; what I am, I am by myself. There are and will be a thousand princes; there is only one Beethoven.” (Letter to Prince Karl Lichnowsky)

“I shall seize Fate by the throat; it shall certainly not bend and crush me completely”

Quotes about Beethoven

"When I left out something in a passage, a note or a skip, which in many cases he wished to have specially emphasized, or struck a wrong key, he seldom said anything; yet when I was at fault with regard to the expression, the crescendo or matters of that kind, or in the character of the piece, he would grow angry. Mistakes of the other kind, he said were due to chance; but these last resulted from want of knowledge, feeling or attention. He himself often made mistakes of the first kind, even playing in public." (Ferdinand Ries)

"His improvisation was most brilliant and striking. In whatever company he might chance to be, he knew how to produce such an effect upon every hearer that frequently not an eye remained dry, while many would break out into large sobs; for there was something wonderful in his expression in addition to the beauty and originality of his ideas and his spirited style of rendering them. After ending an improvisation of this kind he would burst into loud laughter and banter his hearers on the emotion he had caused in them. You are fools! he would say." (Carl Czerny)

Beethoven Piano Sheet Music

for digital devices or to download & print

Total pieces by Beethoven: 162

ID:3
TitleKey YearLevel

Most popular pieces:

Für Elise A Minor 18105
Sonata 8 (Pathéthique) Op. 13C Minor 17988+
Sonata 14 (Moonlight) Op. 27 No. 2C-sharp Minor 18018+
Sonata 23 (Appassionata) Op. 57F Minor 18058+
Sonatina 6 Anh. 5/1G Major -3

Concertos

Piano Concerto 1 Op. 15C Major 17978+
Piano Concerto 2 Op. 19B-flat Major 17988+
Piano Concerto 3 Op. 37C Minor 18038+
Piano Concerto 4 Op. 58G Major 18068+
Piano Concerto 5 Op. 73E-flat Major 18098+
Triple Concerto Op. 56C Major 18058+
Choral Fantasy Op. 80C Minor 18088+

Sonatas

Sonata 1 Op. 2 No. 1F Minor 17958
Sonata 2 Op. 2 No. 2A Major 17958+
Sonata 3 Op. 2 No. 3C Major 17958+
Sonata 4 Op. 7E-flat Major 17978+
Sonata 5 Op. 10 No. 1C Minor 17988
Sonata 6 Op. 10 No. 2F Major 17988
Sonata 7 Op. 10 No. 3D Major 17988+
Sonata 8 (Pathéthique) Op. 13C Minor 17988+
Sonata 9 Op. 14 No. 1E Major 17988
Sonata 10 Op. 14 No. 2G Major 17998
Sonata 11 Op. 22B-flat Major 18008
Sonata 12 Op. 26A-flat Major 18018
Sonata 13 Op. 27 No. 1E-flat Major 18018+
Sonata 14 (Moonlight) Op. 27 No. 2C-sharp Minor 18018+
Sonata 15 Op. 28D Major 18018+
Sonata 16 Op. 31 No. 1G Major 18028
Sonata 17 (The Tempest) Op. 31 No. 2D Minor 18028+
Sonata 18 Op. 31 No. 3E-flat Major 18028
Sonata 19 Op. 49 No. 1G Minor 17976
Sonata 20 Op. 49 No. 2G Major 17975
Sonata 21 (Waldstein) Op. 53C Major 18048+
Sonata 22 Op. 54F Major 18048+
Sonata 23 (Appassionata) Op. 57F Minor 18058+
Sonata 24 Op. 78F-sharp Major 18098
Sonata 25 Op. 79G Major 18097
Sonata 26 (Les adieux) Op. 81E-flat Major 18108+
Sonata 27 Op. 90E Minor 18148
Sonata 28 Op. 101A Major 18168+
Sonata 29 (Hammerklavier) Op. 106B-flat Major 18188+
Sonata 30 Op. 109E Major 18208+
Sonata 31 Op. 110A-flat Major 18228+
Sonata 32 Op. 111C Minor 18228+

Sonatinas

Sonatina 1 WoO 47E-flat Major 17835
Sonatina 2 WoO 47F Minor 17836
Sonatina 3 WoO 47D Major 17836
Sonatina 4 WoO 50F Major 17925
Sonatina 5 WoO 51C Major -6
Sonatina 6 Anh. 5/1G Major -3
Sonatina 7 Anh. 5/2F Major -5

Variations

Nine Variations on a March by Dressler WoO 63C Minor 17828+
Six Easy Variations on a Swiss Song WoO 64F Major 17916
24 Variations on "Vieni amore" by Righini WoO 65D Major 17918+
13 Variations on "Es war einmal ein alter Mann" by Dittersdorf WoO 66A Major 17928+
Eight Variations on a theme by Count Waldstein WoO 67C Major 17928
12 Variations on a theme by Haibel WoO 68N/A 17958
Nine Variations on "Quanto è bello l'amor contadino" WoO 69A Major 17958+
Six Variations on "Nel cor più non mi sento" by Paisiello WoO 70G Major 17958+
Eight Variations on "Ich hab' ein kleines Hüttchen nur" B-flat Major 17958
Twelve Variations on "Das Waldmädchen" (a Russian Dance) WoO 71A Major 17978+
Eight Variations on "Une fièvre brûlante" by Grétry WoO 72C Major 17988+
Ten Variations on "La stessa, la stessissima" by Salieri WoO 73B-flat Major 17998+
Six Variations on "Ich denke dein" WoO 74D Major 17998
Seven Variations on "Kind, willst du ruhig schlafen" by Winter" WoO 75F Major 17998+
Eight Variations on "Tändeln und Scherzen" by Süssmayr WoO 76F Major 17998+
Six Easy Variations WoO 77G Major 18007
Six Variations Op. 34F Major 18028+
15 Variations and a Fugue (Eroica) Op. 35E-flat Major 18028+
Seven Variations on "God Save the King" WoO 78C Major 18037
Five Variations on "Rule Britannia" WoO 79D Major 18037
32 Variations WoO 80C Minor 18068+
Six Variations Op. 76D Major 18098+
33 Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli Op. 120C Major 18238+

Bagatelles

Bagatelle WoO 52C Minor 17958
Bagatelle WoO 56C Major 18044
Bagatelle WoO 60B-flat Major 18185
Bagatelle WoO 61aG Minor 18253
Bagatelle Op. 33 No. 1E-flat Major 18037
Bagatelle Op. 33 No. 2C Major 18037
Bagatelle Op. 33 No. 3F Major 18035
Bagatelle Op. 33 No. 4A Major 18036
Bagatelle Op. 33 No. 5C Major 18038
Bagatelle Op. 33 No. 6D Major 18035
Bagatelle Op. 33 No. 7A-flat Major 18037
Bagatelle Op. 119 No. 1G Minor 18226
Bagatelle Op. 119 No. 2C Major 18227
Bagatelle Op. 119 No. 3D Major 18227
Bagatelle Op. 119 No. 4A Major 18226
Bagatelle Op. 119 No. 5C Minor 18226
Bagatelle Op. 119 No. 6G Major 18227
Bagatelle Op. 119 No. 7C Major 18228
Bagatelle Op. 119 No. 8C Major 18227
Bagatelle Op. 119 No. 9A Minor 18226
Bagatelle Op. 119 No. 10A Major 18224
Bagatelle Op. 119 No. 11B-flat Major 18227
Bagatelle Op. 126 No. 1G Major 18247
Bagatelle Op. 126 No. 2G Minor 18247
Bagatelle Op. 126 No. 3E-flat Major 18247
Bagatelle Op. 126 No. 4B Minor 18246
Bagatelle Op. 126 No. 5G Major 18245
Bagatelle Op. 126 No. 6E-flat Major 18246

Dances

Minuet WoO 217F Major -3
Country Dance D Major -2
Ecossaise WoO 86E-flat Major -2
Peasant Dance F Major -2
Allemande WoO 81A Major 17933
12 German Dances WoO 8N/A 17954
12 Minuets WoO 7N/A 17955
6 minuets WoO 10N/A 17954
12 German Dances WoO 13N/A 17973
7 Ländler WoO 11N/A 17993
6 Ländler WoO 15N/A 18023
Minuet WoO 82E-flat Major 18035
6 Écossaises WoO 83E-flat Major 18065
Ecossaise WoO 23G Major 18103
Waltz WoO 84E-flat Major 18243
Waltz WoO 85D Major 18253
German Dance WoO 8 No. 1C Major -2
German Dance WoO 42 No. 1F Major 17952
German Dance WoO 42 No. 2D Major 17952
Minuet in G WoO 10 No. 2G Major 17963
German Dance WoO 42 No. 4A Major 17952
German Dance WoO 13 No. 6B-flat Major 18003
Polonaise Op. 89C Major 18148

Symphonies - Transcriptions for four hands

Symphony 1 Op. 21C Major 18008+
Symphony 2 Op. 36D Major 18028+
Symphony 3 (Eroica) Op. 55E-flat Major 18038+
Symphony 4 Op. 60B-flat Major 18068+
Symphony 5 Op. 67C Minor 18088+
Symphony 6 Op. 68F Major 18088+
Symphony 7 Op. 92A Major 18128+
Symphony 8 Op. 93F Major 18128+
Symphony 9 Op. 125D Minor 18248+

Sonatas for Violin and Piano

Sonata 1 - for violin and piano Op. 12 No. 1D Major 17988+
Sonata 2 - for violin and piano Op. 12 No. 2A Major 17988+
Sonata 3 - for violin and piano Op. 12 No. 3E-flat Major 17988+
Sonata 4 - for violin and piano Op. 23A Minor 18008+
Sonata 5 (Spring) - for violin and piano Op. 24F Major 18018+
Sonata 6 - for violin and piano Op. 30 No. 1A Major 18028+
Sonata 7 - for violin and piano Op. 30 No. 2C Minor 18028+
Sonata 8 - for violin and piano Op. 30 No. 3G Major 18028+
Sonata 9 (Kreutzer) - for violin and piano Op. 47A Major 18038+
Sonata 10 - for violin and piano Op. 96G Major 18128+

Miscellaneous pieces

Andante WoO 211C Major -3
Rondo Anh. 6B-flat Major -8
Russian Folk Song G Major -1
Fugue WoO 31D Major 17834
Rondo WoO 48C Major 17835
Rondo WoO 49A Major 17837
Allegretto WoO 53C Minor 17975
Lustig-Traurig WoO 54C Major 18023
Prelude WoO 55F Minor 18036
Andante Favori WoO 57F Major 18058+
Für Elise A Minor 18105
Turkish March B-flat Major 18118+
Allegretto WoO 61B Minor 18214
Sonata - for four hands Op. 6D Major 17975
Prelude Op. 39 No. 1C Major 18048
Prelude Op. 39 No. 2C Major 18046
3 Marches Op. 45N/A 18038
Rondo Op. 51 No. 1C Major 18026
Rondo Op. 51 No. 2G Major 18028
Fantasy Op. 77F-sharp Minor 18108+
Russian Folk Song Op. 107 No. 7A Minor 18192
Rondo a Capriccio (Rage Over a Lost Penny) Op. 129G Major 18288+
Grosse Fuge - for four hands Op. 134B-flat Major 18268+


Forum posts about Ludwig van Beethoven

What to read to understand the Classical Style? by jlmap
Hi! I'm an amateur pianist. I've studied some sonatas by Beethoven and Mozart, and I would like to learn more about this period. I&#...

I'm stressed and need some advice (Tell the whole story in the post) by pierusskiy
Hi! I’m a 18 turn 19 years old piano student outside the music college, conservatory and any music school. I have a private teacher, but...

Which English Translation of Beethoven's Letters is the best? by theholygideons
I am planning on reading the letters of Beethoven. I am looking for a translation that captures Beethoven's unique writing style as muc...

Composers born or who lived in Viena by chechig
Hi everyone. Many great composers through history were born or lived in Viena, like Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Bortkiewicz, Chopin...

Re: Schubert & Beethoven performers by kempff1234
it really depends on what oeuvre of these composers you are looking so: (my favs) Beethoven: Piano concerti- Wilhelm Kempff, Arthur Rubins...

Pedalling in Beethoven by steve jones
This is going to be one of those REALLY broad questions, so please hang in there! Id like to ask how typically the pedal is used in Beetho...

Re: Do you consider Alfred Brendel the best Beethoven interpreter? by Bernhard
Not really. I like Arrau, Backaus, Serkin, Kempf, Ivan Moracec and Andras Schiff far better. However I do like his books and essays on m...

How to learn to feel angry for playing Beethoven? by xvimbi
Someone I know has an interesting "problem". She has been told repeatedly that her Beethoven sonatas sound flat and that she needs...

Re: Beethoven or Mozart? by bachopoven
Hard to choose. I always go through ever-changing periods of Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin, and yes, Bach. I can't choose between these four....