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

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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 Year: 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 throughout - it becomes possible to experiment a bit with the right pedal to achieve the sort of half-blurring that Beethoven was after.

The next two movements are more difficult, but donít hesitate to try the second movement Allegretto if you are an intermediate player, as it is a beautiful piece of music as well as an excellent exercise in articulation, rhythm, balance and control of touch.

The last movement is really only for the most advanced pianists. The piece is like an erupting volcano, and itís quite a feat to keep these continual explosions under control. However, focusing on the steadiness of the left hand part will help you to stay on top of... Sign up for a Gold membership to read the practice tips.

Posts in the piano forum about this piece by :

xx Beethoven - Opus 27, Number 2, C# Minor
November 19, 2001, 06:21:22 AM by MichaelT

The 3rd movement of the Moonlight Sonata.  I was wondering how to go about practicing the 'octave trills' in measures 32 and 128.  These are pretty difficult to execute.  I have had suggestions to just play the top note, instead of the octave, which I am doing at the moment, but I want to be able to do it correctly as well.

Thanks for any advice!

xx Beethovens Moonlight ops 27 No 3
May 11, 2003, 07:13:00 PM by Yoad

can anybody give my some advice for the 3rd movement of Beethovens moonlight sonata?

exclamation Moonlight Sonata Music needed!
February 25, 2004, 08:56:38 PM by spifty


I need help, does anyone know where I can get Moonlight Sonata sheet music in a key other than C... My keyboard is a 61 key keyboard and I can't get the bass notes for it unless I move up the keyboard but then it doesn't sound good!
Any help would be appreciated!

xx Moonlight Sonata
March 01, 2004, 06:11:02 AM by falling4ever3

Does anybody know what grade Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven is? Also just wondering, how long did it take you to get through the peice and learn it? I would appreciate any feedback, thanks Smiley

- falling4ever3

xx Moonlight Sonata
March 01, 2004, 06:16:56 AM by falling4ever3

Does anybody know what grade Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven is? Also just wondering, how long did it take you to get through the peice and learn it? I would appreciate any feedback, thanks Smiley

- falling4ever3

question 2nd movement of Moonlight Sonata-Pedal
March 23, 2004, 03:31:12 AM by DuLudvig

I played this piece today for class and performed it well...I thought, my teacher thought otherwise. Her reason, I didn't use the pedal. Huh

My copy of the score has no pedaling suggestions and everytime I tried to add pedaling during practice it sounded Terrible!

How should it be pedaled?


xx moonlight sonata technical difficulty
March 23, 2004, 04:01:11 AM by dangerousd

I have great difficulty playing the 7th and 8th bars evenly at any sort of speed, could anyone offer me any advice as to how this could be improved.  

This is really the only problem I have with this piece and it pisses me off a bit.....

xx Moonlight sonata question
May 31, 2004, 01:13:50 AM by goalevan

1st movement, bars 5-6, and other times in the piece, why does the fingering change on the G# from finger 5 to 4 and 5 again? I know this edition is old - being from sheetmusic archive, is it still a good idea to use these fingerings?

here's a link to the file: http://www.sheetmusicarchive.net/compositions_b/btsn27_2.pdf

xx moonlight 3rd mov
June 06, 2004, 02:28:26 AM by Sekoul

My friend is learning the 3rd movement of the moonlight sonata and he seems to think that he's really good just because he can play the notes. He still makes a lot of mistakes, has no expression, but i admit he hits the right notes. Am i wrong or is there more to playing a song then hitting the right notes... i wouldnt really say i know a piece unless i can play it well enough to have expression.. either way how hard is the moonlight 3rd mov? it sounds pretty impressive but i dont think its comparable to what im learning at the moment; rach prelude in g minor op 23 #5

xx Beethoven's Moonlight
July 01, 2004, 05:55:40 AM by johnjwong

In Canada, Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata is in Grade 5.  But I have noticed that there is a very big difference between each individual movements.  In the 3rd movement, the piece goes very fast and I believe it is over Grade 5.  Can someone tell me what grade should moonlight be for the 3rd movement?

xx Moonlight sonata 3rd movement
July 09, 2004, 10:25:15 PM by deep_blue


I can play this piece "allegro" without problem almost perfectly but i cant play "presto"

what should i do??

xx Looking for a post about Moonlight 3rd
December 17, 2004, 10:36:42 PM by yamaha

Hi  Smiley

Now that my exam is over I would like to go back and finish learning the Moonlight sonata (which was originally in my exam programme but I gave up on it because I thought the Pathetique would be easier  Embarrassed )

It is of course the 3rd movement that I need to work on.  I remember some time ago reading a post about this movement and Bernhard replied with specific ways to practice it  Smiley

Can anyone point me in the right direction of this post?  I have searched and searched but I cant find it  Sad


exclamation Beethoven - Moonlight Sonata, 3rd mvt
December 25, 2004, 08:10:11 AM by rhapsody7900

Hello, I am having some real technical difficulties with the 3rd mvt of the Moonlight Sonata, I can pretty much play the whole thing to speed except for a couple of specific sections (on which I just croak on every time.)  Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated:

1>  bars 76-83.  I can't seem to speed up the right hand without muddling things, seems especially strange since I can do it fine with the roles reversed for the two hands... (I've even been tempted to play it crossover Tongue ) I've noticed some accent marks in parantheses in my edition on the the beginning of the 4th beat for the right hand, not sure how it helps.

2>  the parallel climb and descent in the 5 bars at the very end... I'm able to play the right notes according to the fingering, but it's just sluggish... I always thought that with enough practice, I would naturally begin to pick up more and more speed - but alas, it hasn't been so.  I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong (I can go up fast, just can't come down without missing a ton of notes unless I play REAL slow.) 

3>  those darn trills in measures 30, 32, 126, and 128 with the 4-5 fingering... arg!  would it be advisable to play them with 2-4 fingering?  I've read the thread on this forum from a long time ago with some good advice about the arm and wrist, but I think my fingers are just too weak to handle it.

I feel like I'm so close to being able to play this piece amply (technically, anyway..) these small bumps are frustrating.  Thank you so much in advance! Cheesy

xx Analysing Beethovens "Moonlight" Sonata 2nd Mvt
March 09, 2005, 12:34:44 AM by fuel925

As part of the theory for my upcoming exam I need to briefly analyse the 2nd movement of the moonlight sonata (allegretto and trio). At the moment I am concentrating on sonata form, and I am referring to the book "A Companion to Beethovens Pianoforte Sonatas" by Donald Francis Tovy. Heres the text it gives me for the Allegretto. Writing in the brackets is my own:

Lyrics Da Capo movement in the tonic major (Key is Db Major as opposed to C# Minor of the first movement).

1-8  Epigrammatic couplets playing with the antithesis of tonic-to-dominant and subdominant-to-tonic. (Me and my teacher looked at the first few bars, and tried to fit this "tonic to dominant and subdominant to tonic" text to the music, which fit for the first bar but didnt work from then on.)

9-16  The repetition of the first strain is written in full, being varied by syncopation. (pretty self explanatory, but by first strain does it mean the previous bars? i.e. bars 1-8?)

17-24  Middle strain in descending sequences ending on half-close leading to... (whats a half-close?)

25-36  ...Expansion of first strain, combining the plain and syncopated versions and insisting on bars 5-6, making a climax before the final close. Repeat bars 17-36.

Could someone who has some knowledge of this please maybe reword the above text into something I could understand better? This book is full of useful information, but unfortunately the wording is not very user friendly. Any help at all with this would be very appreciated Smiley


xx Beethoven, Moonlight, Pathetique, Appassionata.
April 26, 2005, 03:41:16 PM by C#minor

Hi everyone, this is my first post. I have been a long time reader to this awesome forum.
This time I have a question.
Which pianist you think played this work "Beethoven, Moonlight, Pathetique, Appassionata" the best in your opinion?
There is one by Brendel, another one by Kempff, both are pretty famous, but I would like to hear what do you think about their performances.

Thanks a lot.


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