Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
in D Minor, K. 397

This richly expressive piece is incredibly rewarding to take on for the intermediate pianist - but its interpretation remains a considerable challenge even to the most mature and experienced musician.

ID: 1221
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

K. 397

Key: D Minor
Year: -
Level: 6
Period: Classical
piano sheet music Piano score: PS Urtext Download
piano sheet music Piano score: PS Edition Download
piano sheet music Piano score: PS Instructive Edition Download
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piano music mp3 recording Fantasia K. 397 - FREE SAMPLE (mp3 file)

From darkness to light

This piece gives us an insight in Mozart's improvisational style, and reveals the darker sides of his personality. The somber introduction and the aria-like melody that follows belong to Mozart’s most despairing moments. The heavy, chromatically descending octaves of measures 20-22 seems to take us to the gloomiest regions of the human soul. After sections of nervously palpitating music, and dramatic outbursts covering the entire range of the keyboard, suddenly the mode changes to D major, giving to this piece a surprisingly joyful and relaxed ending.

The fantasy-character is underlined by the many silences, fermatas and mood changes. The pianist has to grasp all these different parts and make them into a convincing, coherent performance, as if reenacting Mozart's improvisation. The time signature in the D minor section is alla breve or cut time. In other words, the beat is counted in half-notes, so every bar has only two (slow) beats. The pianist that keeps this in mind will have an easier time shaping the music beautifully, especially the melody at the start of the Adagio section. There are many two-note slurs throughout the piece. Accents on the first note in these slurred pairs make them sound like expressive sighs.


The Fantasy was only published after Mozart’s death, and the manuscript has been lost. In the first edition, the piece ended at the fermata in bar 97. Whether Mozart had intended to continue the Fantasy or attach it to a Sonata or Fugue remains unclear. In the Breitkopf & Härtel edition that appeared a few years later, ten concluding bars in D major, probably composed by the editor, appeared. This ending has been republished in practically every edition ever since, and are included in the vast majority of recordings of the piece.

Mitsuko Uchida was probably the first recording artist to provide an alternative ending, returning to D minor and the arpeggiated chords of the beginning. Hélène Grimaud stops at the fermata and uses the Fantasy as an introduction on her recording of the D minor Concerto K. 466.

Practice & Performance Tips:

Think of the first note of this introduction (low D) as a seed that starts to germinate and take shape. It is interesting that Mozart writes the bass line (downbeats) with long notes. This is called "finger pedal" and makes the harmonies ring more without the performer having to use too much pedal.
Practice all the arpeggios by blocking the notes to form chords. Blocking chords will help with memorization and also with shaping. Try to hear the chord progression outlined here and strive to shape this introduction that ends on the dominant chord (an important chord that prepares the listener for the theme).

Remember that the term Adagio means “at ease”. Try to feel this section in two (remember that the time signature is 2/2, cut-time).
Mozart loved hearing and writing operas. He was definitely thinking about an aria when he wrote this beautiful melodic line. Give a singing tone to your melody while your left hand holds the bass notes (the composer is using the finger pedal technique again!). Moreover, can you play the double notes in the left hand lightly? The soft touch here will provide just the right atmosphere in the background while the right hand will... Sign up for a Gold membership to read the practice tips.

Forum posts about this piece:

How to get pieces to performance standard by orbulation
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Member's recordings of piece:

Mozart Fantasia in D minor by ranjit
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. youtube.com/watch?v=o834EuqEPxE...

Fantasia No. 3 in D Minor, K. 397/385g - Piano, Luca Rebola by madaquando
www.youtube.com/watch?v=esgmO8zOUZI Comments are welcome!...

Mozart fantasy d minor, LIVE by pianoman53
Hi everyone! I finally had a concert! The second this yeat, compared to what probably would have been the 10th a normal year. It was an ho...

Mozart: Fantasy in D minor by pianoman53
After being sick until Wednesday or so, I started learning this weird piece. I'm not completely happy with it (the alberti basses aren&...

Mozart - Fantasia in D Minor, K. 397 by optimist125

My first Mozart by deandeblock
Hi all, I am learning Mozart's K397 Fantaisie in D minor I really enjoy learning and playing this one. I hope it comes through You...

MOZART---FANTASY IN D Minor K397 by matterintospirit
Repost. Posted last year and grew to really dislike that recording. Have been working on it ocassionally since that time. This I like better...

Mozart "Makeover" Fantasy in D minor K. 397 by matterintospirit
Thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts. and thnx to my little digital recorder. I see better now the direction i need to g...

Fantasy in D minor K. 397-----------Mozart by matterintospirit

Recital.... MOZART K397 Fantasia in D Minor ADDED LINK! by totallyclassics
Sorry, if you visited this thread and the link was not there!  I just added it!  I don't post often! Still trying to get it ...

Mozart Fantasy in D minor K. 397 by lazlo
Open for comments. I realize its not perfect. But there was no manipulation at all (which will probobly be obvious). ...

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hey guys,i have a recording of myself playing at a competition i think a week ago. these pieces im going to play at another competition in 1...

Members who like this piece have also downloaded:

Mozart: Fantasia K. 397 in D Minor . DOWNLOAD piano sheet music from Piano Street digital sheet music library.
Fantasia in D Minor K. 397 by the composer Wolfgang Amadéus Mozart (1756-1791). This piece is from the Classical era and is part of Mozart's Miscellaneous pieces.