key-notes is pleased to present a beautiful new edition of Beethoven’s beloved “Moonlight” Sonata. The first movement, available for free download, was edited by Albert Frantz directly from the manuscript and first edition and beautifully typeset using professional music notation software.
Simply click the link to download the “Moonlight” Sonata sheet music.
About the Music
The work’s actual title is simply Sonata in C-sharp minor… Beethoven never actually used the famous nickname when referring to the sonata. The “Moonlight” appellation comes from 19th-century poet Heinrich Rellstab, who considered this movement reminiscent of the moonlight over Lake Lucerne.
Composed in 1801, at the end of Beethoven’s early period, it is the second of two sonatas Beethoven published together as his Opus 27, and the fourteenth of an eventual 32 piano sonatas. (Little-known are the three “Electoral” Sonatas which the 12-year-old Beethoven composed as composition exercises, bringing the total to 35. These childhood compositions are generally excluded from Beethoven’s mature works; hence Beethoven’s piano sonatas are referred to as “the 32.”)
The “Moonlight” Sonata has held the fascination of pianists and listeners for over two centuries, and it continues to be among the most beloved works of classical music. The first movement is a free fantasy—it does not conform to Classical sonata form (although the third movement does). It is a sort of extended prelude, a hushed, seductive improvisation.
There is some confusion as to Beethoven’s pedal indication, which should be taken to mean only that pedal should be used throughout… not that the entire movement should be played without changing the pedal!
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