Moonlight Sonata Sheet Music

Piano Sonata no. 14, c sharp minor - Op. 27 no 2

Moonlight Sonata is one of the Most sought after Piano Pieces. We have here a selection of the best, most Trusted Moonlight Sonata Sheet Music.

Following These Selections we have both Liner Notes for the Sonata as well as The Biography of Ludwig van Beethoven

Cover tiny file look inside Moonlight Sonata * Complete Original * with Performance CD Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). This edition: Paperback. Solo. Classical. Book & CD. With Text Language: English. 48 pages. Published by Santorella Publications (SP.TS340).
Cover tiny file look inside Piano Sonatas - Book I Klaviersonaten. Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). Edited by Bertha Antonia Wallner. Piano (Harpsichord), 2-hands. Urtext Editions. Pages: 283. Classical Period. Collection (softcover). With standard notation, fingerings, introductory text and thematic index (does not include words to the songs). 286 pages. G. Henle #HN32. Published by G. Henle (HL.51480032).

Search For Yourself Among Hundreds of option for the Moonlight Sonata. 

Liner Notes For the Moonlight Sonata

by Aaron Green July 18, 2017

Ludwig van Beethoven composed the famous Moonlight Sonata in 1801, after agreeing to instruct Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, the cousin of his two students Therese and Josephine Brunsvik whom he had been teaching piano since 1799. Guiccaiardi was known for her beauty, and when she and her family moved to Vienna from Poland in 1800, she was quickly noticed by upper society. Shortly after their first few lessons, the two fell in love.

When Beethoven finished his new sonata, he dedicated it to Guicciardi, and it is believed he proposed to her quickly thereafter. Although she was willing to accept Beethoven’s proposal, one of her parents forbid her to ever marry him (likely due to their differing social statuses), and sadly, they never did.  Guiccaiardi later became engaged to Count von Gallenberg, and married him in on November 14, 1803.

Typically, composers would write music after receiving a commission to do so (they had bills to pay, after all). However, based on the evidence (or lack thereof) Beethoven wrote Moonlight Sonata without receiving a commission. The original title of the sonata is “Quasi una fantasia” (Italian. almost a fantasy). The popular moniker Moonlight Sonata actually didn’t come about until roughly five years after Beethoven’s death in 1827. In 1832, German music critic Ludwig Rellstab wrote that the sonata reminded him of the reflected moonlight off Lake Lucerne, and since then, Moonlight Sonata has remained the official unofficial title of the sonata.

MOONLIGHT SONATA STRUCTURE AND NOTES

The Moonlight Sonata is divided into three separate movements.

  • Movement 1, Adagio Sostenuto
    The first movement of the Moonlight Sonata is the most well known. The famous mysterious, almost haunting melody is dark and whisper-like. The form of the first movement is a sort of “condensed” sonata. In other words, it plays the main melody, develops it, and then plays it again very similar to how it was originally played.
  • Movement 2, Allegreto
    The second movement of the Moonlight Sonata is in the form of a scherzo (a comic composition, usually fast-moving and used in the place of a minuet and trio during Beethoven’s time). The key of the second movement is D flat major, which is unrelated to the overall key of c# minor.
  • Movement 3, Presto agitato
    The third movement is completely different from the previous two movements. Its rapid progressions from note to note are invigorating and powerful. The third movement of the Moonlight Sonata is actually marked piano (meaning to play quietly/softly), but Beethoven’s use of sforzandos and fortissimos make the piece actually sound as if the overall dynamic was fortissimo.

MOONLIGHT SONATA RECOMMENDED RECORDINGS

As expected for one of the world's most famous and instantly recognizable pieces of music, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of recordings available. Though it would be impossible for me to listen to every single one, the following selections are ones I have come across in my life that are definitely worth looking into and even adding to your own classical music collection:

  • Beethoven: Sonatas
  • Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas
  • Horowitz Vol VI - Beethoven: Piano Sonatas 14, 21 & 23
  • More Moonlight Sonata Recordings

The Biography of  Ludwig van Beethoven 

BORN: 

December 16, 1770 - Bonn

DIED: 

March 26, 1827 - Vienna

BEETHOVEN QUICK FACTS:

  • Beethoven composed all 9 symphonies between 1799 and 1824.
  • He studied under Haydn for less than a year in 1793.
  • In 1801, he wrote a letter to his friend about his loss of hearing.

BEETHOVEN'S FAMILY BACKGROUND:

In 1740, Beethoven's father, Johann was born. Johann sang soprano in the electoral chapel where his father was Kapellmeister (chapel master).

Johann grew up proficient enough to teach violin, piano, and voice to earn a living. Johann married Maria Magdalena in 1767 and gave birth to Ludwig Maria in 1769, who died 6 days later. On December 17, 1770, Ludwig van Beethoven was born. Maria later gave birth to five other children, but only two survived, Caspar Anton Carl and Nikolaus Johann.

BEETHOVEN'S CHILDHOOD:

At a very early age, Beethoven received violin and piano lessons from his father. At the age of 8, he studied theory and keyboard with van den Eeden (former chapel organist). He also studied with several local organists, received piano lessons from Tobias Friedrich Pfeiffer, and Franz Rovantini gave him violin and viola lessons. Although Beethoven’s musical genius was compared to that of Mozart’s, his education never exceeded elementary level.

BEETHOVEN'S TEENAGE YEARS:

Beethoven was the assistant (and formal student) of Christian Gottlob Neefe.

As a teen, he performed more than he composed. In 1787, Neefe sent him to Vienna for reasons unknown, but many agree that he met and briefly studied with Mozart. Two weeks later, he returned home because his mother had tuberculosis. She died in July. His father took to drink, and Beethoven, only 19, petitioned to be recognized as the head of the house; he received half of his father's salary to support his family.

 

BEETHOVEN'S EARLY ADULT YEARS:

In 1792, Beethoven moved to Vienna. His father died in December that same year. He studied with Haydn for less than a year; their personalities did not mix well. Beethoven then studied with Johann Georg Albrechtsberger, the best-known teacher of counterpoint in Vienna. He studied counterpoint and contrapuntal exercises in free writing, in imitation, in two to four-part fugues, choral fugues, double counterpoint at the different intervals, double fugue, triple counterpoint, and canon.

BEETHOVEN'S MID ADULT YEARS:

After establishing himself, he began composing more. In 1800, he performed his first symphony and a septet (op. 20). Publishers soon began to compete for his newest works. While still in his 20s, Beethoven became deaf. His attitude and social life changed dramatically - he wanted to hide his impairment from the world. How could a great composer be deaf? Determined to overcome his disability, he wrote symphonies2, 3, and 4 before 1806. Symphony 3, Eroica, was originally titled Bonaparte as a tribute to Napoleon.

BEETHOVEN'S LATE ADULT YEARS:

Beethoven’s fame began to pay off; he soon found himself prosperous. His symphonic works proved to be masterpieces (having stood the test of time) along with his other works.

Beethoven loved a woman named Fanny but never married. He spoke of her in a letter saying, "I found only one whom I shall doubtless never possess." In 1827, he died of dropsy. In a will wrote several days before his death, he left his estate to his nephew Karl, of whom he was legal guardian after Caspar Carl's death.

SELECTED WORKS BY BEETHOVEN:
SYMPHONIC WORKS

CHORAL WORKS WITH ORCHESTRA

  • Mass in D Missa solemnis, op. 123 - 1819 to 1823

    PIANO CONCERTOS

    • Piano Concerto No. 1, op. 15 - C Major - 1795
    • Piano Concerto No. 2, op. 19 - B flat Major - c.1788 to 1795
    • Piano Concerto No. 3, op. 37 - c minor - ?1800
    • Piano Concerto No. 4, op. 58 - G Major - 1804
    • Piano Concerto No. 5 Emperor, op.73 - E flat Major