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

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

ID: 20
Ludwig van Beethoven - Sonatas:

Sonata 8 (Pathéthique)
Op. 13

Key: C Minor
Year: 1798
Level: 8+
Period: Classical
piano sheet music Piano score: PS Urtext Download
piano sheet music Piano score: Ruthardt edition Download
Piano Music AST Audiovisual Study Tool Listen & View

The start of a new piano era

The first, dramatic and almost aggressive movement of the Pathétique starts with a massive, loud c minor chord that must have come as a shock to contemporary listeners. The ensuing Grave section requires interpretative maturity and careful considerations of the complex rhythms. The slow introduction gives way to a fast and explosive rising staccato motif, with a very fast broken octave accompaniment in the left hand. 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, is a soothing contrast. Here great attention is needed to voicing the thick textures in order to bring out the beautiful cantabile melody, one of Beethoven’s most beloved creations. The third movement is a driving, energetic rondo with long, complex phrases, requiring careful articulation and inflection. It contains elements of the first two, thereby tying the entire sonata together in a way that represents a significant development in the history of the piano sonata.

Background

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 interesting to note that there are several similarities between the Pathétique Sonata and Mozart’s C minor sonata K. 457, as well as Bach's C minor Partita. 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.


Forum posts about this piece:

Piano Performance: How Far Can Average Skills Take You? by anthonythompson
[right][url=smashkartsio.com][size=1pt]smash karts[/size][/url][/right] I’ve been pondering a question about the piano and the extent to which someone with “average” abilities can excel in...

Repertoire suggestions for background music by wiegenlied
Hello, I am wondering if anyone can suggest some classical repertoire to play for family and friends, and also as background music at a restaurant/bar etc. I am currently playing at around AmusA (Australian)...

Hidden Gems for a Wedding by shashasha
Hello everyone  :) I hope that you've all been well. I haven't posted in years, but my screen name was musicsdarkangel for any that may have been around back in the day.

Relative Difficulties of Beethoven's 7th and 8th Sonatas by flyusx
Hello, Would you all consider Beethoven's Opus 10 №3 (Sonate #7) or Opus 13 (Pathetique) more difficult relatively speaking? I'm working Op10№3 right now, used the first movement...

Undergrad Audition Repertoire at a Decent Canadian School by bwl_13
Hey everyone, I've decided to change my pace and switch from being a film student to a music student. I am extremely excited but also quite nervous. I live in Canada and I'm auditioning to...

How long time should it take to learn a piece? by slurred_beat
Hi all, I'm wondering how long it should take to learn a new piece. Say I open a book with the Beethoven patetique, how long should it take from I start working until it is finished? Or I know different...

What happens at the end of the development section of the Pathetique Sonata? by jlmap
What happens at the end of the development section of the first movement of Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata, at measure 167? It seems something like this Quiescenza, with the movement C# - D - C natural - B...

Why has piano notation recently moved to hands being split across staves? by carrot_cake
I started learning the piano in the late 80s, just over 30 years ago. At this point almost all the editions used notation that separated hand position by stave, or at least all the notes relating to one hand...

Auditioning for Precollege by complexnote
I'm planning on auditioning for Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music Precollege programs. My repertoire: 1. Bach Fantasia in C Minor 2. Beethoven Pathetique Sonata 3. Liszt Un...

Rondo Pathétique (3rd Movement) or Tempest sonata 3rd Movement by fredchopin
Hello Everybody, I would like to commence either of the 3rd movements of my 2 favourite sonatas (Pathetique and Tempest). I have played revolutionary etude, black key etude, Fantaisie impromptu, and...

Recital Repertoire Suggestions by aaaaaa
Hi everyone! My teacher is having me hold a solo recital next year. I currently don't have enough repertoire to comprise a whole recital, so I'm looking for suggestions for new pieces that...

20th Century Repertoire for My Level? by aaaaaa
Hi everyone! I've been looking for contemporary/20th century repertoire lately as a way to fulfill competition requirements for next year. My teacher suggested Barber's Nocturne op. 33 or...

Audition Repertoire by pianoplayer8
Hello! I’m working on compiling my collegiate audition repertoire, and I could use some advice. I’m auditioning for both state schools with easier programs to get into and some much more...

Ideas for repertoire in my masters by hannapiano
I am going to be starting graduate school in the fall for piano pedagogy and performance. I am still currently in my undergrad but working from home due to the virus, so I’m attempting to get a head start on...

Help with interpreting Sonata Op 13 (Pathetique) by kawwai
2nd movement is fine, I mainly need help with 1st and 3rd. For the 1st, with all the chords, should I bang them and make sure they're ff, then the next ones diminishing, and quieter? Also, on allegro...

University Audition Pieces? by kawwai
Hello everybody, I am a late starter (started at 13 1/2 years old, am now 15 1/3 years old in my freshman year) I really fell in love with the piano last spring and decided I wanted to do a double major. My...

Does anyone here have experience teaching previously self-taught pianists? by ranjit
I'm really worried about this from a personal standpoint, being self-taught since several years. What has your experience been teaching people who are previously self-taught? For example, did you have to...

Triceps fatigue while playing left-hand tremolos by ggpianogg
Hi, I'm learning Beethoven's Pathetique (1st movement). It's the first time I'm exposed to fairly fast octave tremolos. I play the tremolo with a combination of wrist...

Pathetique 2nd movement - how to make the transition sound good by henrikbe
Hi, in bar 36 of the 2nd movement of Beethoven's Pathetique sonata, there is a change of rhythm, from 16th to 16th triplets. When I play this, I think the change is rather abrupt, and this...

Help with Pathetique Sonata 1st movement measures 4 and 10!! by rovis77
Hi, I just have a doubt with these measures. There are a lot of 64th notes in these measures. Should they be measured mathematically or a bit...

Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata 8 (Pathétique) Op. 13 in C Minor from Sonatas - piano sheet music to print instantly. This piece is level 8+ and was composed during the Classical period.
This piece is composed by Ludwig van Beethoven and was published in 1798. Title: Sonata 8 (Pathétique), Op. 13 in C Minor from Sonatas. The difficulty level if graded by ABRSM would be approximately 8+ and it belongs to the Classical period.