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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 - 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, itís 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

xx Beethoven Sonata no.14 mvnt 3
May 24, 2011, 04:18:41 PM by zeroblackstar

I'm currently learning this piece and was wondering if anyone else has learnt it and would be willing to share their approach to learning it and how long it took?

I'm finding it rather difficult, my right hand is up to speed and no problem but I'm finding that my left hand is letting me down somewhat..

Ironically my left hand is pretty well exercised considering my first instrument is guitar and I've been playing for 8 years. 

xx Beethoven Op.27 n.2 - Concert/Lesson by Pietro Rigacci
April 28, 2011, 08:09:07 PM by giuggio

Hi all,

I recorded a nice Event in Florence: a concert/lessons by Pietro Rigacci of the second sonata of Beethoven op.27, the Moonlight Sonata!

There was a little presentation of the Sonata and the executions. I want to share with you these videos! Thank you all!

The lesson

The execution (1mvt, 2mvt, 3mvt)

xx please comment on this vid: moonlight sonata mov 1.
April 24, 2011, 05:38:24 AM by nadia goh

hi. this is my first time posting a video in this forum for people to comment. this is my second year of taking piano lessons on weekends. playing piano is my serious hobby.

below is the link to the video of me playing beethoven's moonlight sonata mov 1. i stopped and continued in the middle of playing the piece because i was playing from memory and suddenly i forgot. okay, despite the fact that i stopped halfway, i'd like you guys to comment on my playing. i wish to improve really well in the future.


thanx  Smiley

P/S: wish to have a lot more piano friends  Grin

xx Beethoven Moonlight Sonata 1st movement
December 28, 2010, 10:42:01 PM by tatmis

This is my first piano practice and first recording. And I appreciate your feedback.
I know that I need to practice more to make it better. I just finished memorizing the whole movement last week and didnt have much time to practice to make it more even and a has clean melody, not to mention the mistakes. 

I am a self-learner beginner. I bought my piano (YDP-161)  3 months ago and
I try to practice 4-5 hours a week. (my son doesn't let me practice more!)
Although piano is new to me, I have been playing oud for a long time and I can read sheet music, but very slowly.


xx Which level are this pieces?
November 24, 2010, 07:35:03 AM by musicioso

Hallo dear forum members,

Can someone tell me which level the following pieces are?

1 chopin etude op.25 no.12
2 Moonlight sonata 1st movement
3 chopin nocturne in c# minor
4 chopin fantasie impromptu
5 chopin prelude op.28 no.24
6 revolutionary etude (chopin)

And i also would like to know what is the highest level and some pieces that are of the highest level.

I hope you guys can help me with this..


xx Beethoven Moonlight Sonata mvt 3
October 23, 2010, 09:45:57 PM by raph_a_el

Well, here's my recording of this wonderful piece:


My piano is a bit out of tune, sorry about that...

All opinions, advice, criticism, are welcomed.


xx Moonlight sonata, 3rd movement
October 17, 2010, 06:44:09 PM by dlipatti

I've just started learning this piece, and will probably have a lot of questions on technicalities and performance tips, so I thought I should just start this thread and seek some advice from those of you who have played this before.

First off, what fingering would you use on the octave trills? And should the ornamentations be played on the beat with the left-hand, or before?

Feel free to discuss anything about the entire sonata here, I really could use any kind of help. Smiley

xx Transpose Moonlight sonata
September 10, 2010, 03:46:35 PM by jeffnc

I was in a store the other day looking at pianos and saw the sheet music for the Moonlight sonata.  It took me awhile, but I finally realized it is in c# minor (I'm not very good :-)

That's kind of a pain, so I was wondering what would be the feasibility of simply playing it in c minor?  That way I wouldn't really even have to transpose it, I could just read the music and play it as written, but in the simpler key.  I might be wrong at first on a couple of the sharped or flatted notes, but otherwise.... ?

xx moonlight sonata 3rd movement
July 09, 2010, 09:03:22 PM by dougiedog

I've managed to get through movements 1&2 and am now starting on the 3d movement. I'm guessing about a year to even getting it sounding intelligible, anyone have any pointers? I have no intention of ever playing it for anyone. it's wholly an academic pursuit.

xx Hi - and fingering 10th measure of Moonlight 2nd movement
June 04, 2010, 07:13:03 PM by dralan

Hi - this is my first post (just joined).

I'm just starting to look at the 2nd movement of Moonlight and can't find a RH fingering that works in the 10th measure and maintains legato between the Bb and Eb in the melody. Any tips?



xx Beethoven - Moonlight sonata (3rd mvt)
April 09, 2010, 06:55:22 AM by ponken

I played some mistakes but hope it is listenable. Any critique or advises are appreciated. Smiley


xx Beethoven Sonata In C# Minor Op27 No 2 Movement 1
March 18, 2010, 10:48:29 PM by realpiano

Recorded over a year ago, on Yamaha CLP411. Would like comments or otherwise!
Have since obtained an acoustic piano but still experimenting on the recording techniques.

xx moonlight sonata
December 12, 2009, 11:36:47 AM by monamibecky

it is a well known sonata, but my first and would like some advice on how to learn it, memorize and perfect it.

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