Friedrich Kuhlau
in C Major, Op. 55 No. 1

The sweet and joyful character of this sonatina has made it the most popular of Kuhlau’s piano works.

ID: 471
Friedrich Kuhlau - Sonatinas:

Op. 55 No. 1

Key: C Major
Year: 1823
Level: 4
Period: Classical
piano sheet music Piano score: Scanned score Download
Piano Music AST Audiovisual Study Tool Listen & View
piano music mp3 recording Sonatina Op. 55 No. 1 - FREE SAMPLE (mp3 file)
piano music mp3 recording Sonatina Op. 55 No. 1 2nd mvt - FREE SAMPLE (mp3 file)

A sunny sonatina

Classical sonatas normally have three parts or movements: fast-slow-fast. However, this sonatina has only two movements: fast-faster! The first movement might make you think of a wind ensemble - especially if you know that the composer's father, grandfather and uncle were military oboists, and that he was sometimes called “the Beethoven of the flute” because of his many works for that instrument. It has a wealth of melodic material for the right hand to take care of, often in the shape of rather fast moving eighth-notes. The left hand has many passages with double notes in the middle register, like two horns playing together. The bright and lively second movement is short but comprehensive: its main theme is dance-like and very articulated, but it also contains a more lyrical section, brilliant chromatic scales, and a dramatic coda.


The Op. 55 Sonatinas were published in Copenhagen in 1823. They were designed for teaching purposes and the amateur market, and follow Classical conventions closely in terms of form. This is the first sonata of the set, with a first movement in sonata form and a second movement in sonata-rondo form.

Practice & Performance Tips:

I. Allegro
This movement has three sections: an exposition, a development and a recapitulation. It is very important to know where these sections start and end, before you start practicing them.

The exposition starts in measure 1 and ends in measure 20. Write the word "EXPOSITION" on the top of m. 1. This exposition, as in many sonatas, has two themes.

The first theme is in the tonic. If you group the first three notes together in the first measure (right hand), they form a C-Major chord. Circle all the C-Major arpeggios then play them as a chord (blocked) using the correct fingering.

Circle the rests marked on the bass clef. They are as important as the notes in between them and help one give more rhythmic vitality to their playing. The left hand has many passages with double notes in the middle register, whose sound reminds us of two horns playing together. Can you imagine horns when playing the left hand and a violin when playing the right hand?

The second theme is in the dominant (G Major). The horns can be heard here too. Practice mm. 10-12 left hand alone. Can you hear the horns alternating with the single note played by your thumb? Check that your thumb is... Sign up for a Gold membership to read the practice tips.

Forum posts about this piece:

Member's recordings of piece:

Khulau: Sonatina Opus 55 No. 1 1st & 2nd mvts. by marsippius
Piano is an upright Kurtzmann from the 1920s. Recording setup is a Windows pc with Audacity.exe . Microphone is one of those kind with an o...

Members who like this piece have also downloaded:

Kuhlau: Sonatina Op. 55 No. 1 in C Major (published in 1823) . DOWNLOAD piano sheet music from Piano Street digital sheet music library.
Sonatina in C Major Op. 55 No. 1 by the composer Friedrich Kuhlau (1786-1832). This piano piece was composed in 1823 and is part of Kuhlau's Sonatinas.