Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.14 in C# Minor “Moonlight” Analysis


For the benefit of all pianists learning this work, we present to you a concise and easy to use analysis of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No.14 in C# Minor, “Moonlight”

First Movement (Adagio Sostenuto)

Form: Sonata Form. C# minor.

Beethoven Piano Sonata No.14 in C# minor, Op.27 No.2 'Moonlight' Analysis 1


Bars 1-5: Bars 1-5 form an introduction to the first subject.

Bars 5-9: First Subject begins in C sharp minor (tonic), ends in E major. Both subjects being and end in different keys.

Bars 10-15: Connecting Episode. Bars 9-15 form a passage which fulfills the duty of a connecting episode, although in some respects it may be considered as a continuation of the first subject. It begins in E minor and ends in B minor.

Bars 15-23: Second Subject begins in B major, ends in F sharp minor.


Bars 23-42: The development is very short. It only contains one slight reference to the first subject, and twelve bars upon a dominant pedal point closing in tonic key.


Bars 42-46: First Subject in original keys.

Bars 46-51: Connecting episode. The connecting episode differs from that already referred to. It begins in E major and ends in C sharp minor.

Bars 51-60: Second Subject begin in C sharp (tonic) major, ends in C sharp minor. The second subject re-appears considerably altered after the first four bars.

Bars 60-End: Coda. The Coda refers to the first subject in the part next the bass, Bars 60-65.

Second Movement (Allegretto)

Form: Ternary Form. Db Major.

Beethoven Piano Sonata No.14 in C# minor, Op.27 No.2 'Moonlight' Analysis 2

It is unusual for both the First and Second Parts to be in the same key.


The First Part is in Simple Binary form

Bars 1-9: First Subject in A flat and D flat major (tonic). The first subject (Part I) begins in the key of the dominant. See also “Scherzo,” Op. 26.

Bars 9-17: Repeated (varied). The repetition takes the place of the usual double bar and repeat.

Bars 18-26: Episode.

Bars 26-End of Part I: First Subject (varied and extended) in original keys.

Double bar and repeat from Bar 18.


The Second Part is in Simple Binary form.

Bars 1-9: First Subject in D flat major.

Double bar and repeat.

Bars 10-18: Episode.

Bars 18-End of Part II: Reminiscence of First Subject in original key. There is no regular return of the first subject.

Double bar and repeat from Bar 10.


First part da capo.

Third Movement  (Presto Agitato)

Form: Sonata Form. C# Minor. 

Beethoven Piano Sonata No.14 in C# minor, Op.27 No.2 'Moonlight' Analysis 3

It is a curious fact there is no modulation to the relative major in this movement.


Bars 1-14: First Subject in C sharp minor (tonic). The first subject begins with arpeggio passages in two bar rhythm, Bars 1-6 (condensed to one-bar rhythm, Bars 7-8), followed by a dominant pedal point, Bars 9-14, upon which it ends.

Bars 15-21: Connecting Episode. The connecting episode is built upon the first subject. It begins in C sharp minor (tonic), and ends in G sharp minor.

Bars 21-63: Second Subject in G sharp minor. The second subject (instead of being in the relative major) is in G sharp minor; it is divided into two parts, both beginning and ending in G sharp minor: first part, Bars 21-43; second part, Bars 43-63. The second part may be again sub-divided into two portions – Bars 43-57 and 57-63.

Bars 63-64: Bars 63-64 simply modulate into C sharp minor for the repeat, and into C sharp major for the development.

Double bar and repeat form Bar 2.


Bars 66-102: The development begins with a reference to the first subject. At Bar 72 a portion of the second subject occurs in F sharp minor – the melody of which is transposed to the bass, Bar 76. Bars 88-100 are constructed upon dominant pedal point.


Bars 103-116: First Subject in original key. The first subject remains unaltered.

The connecting episode is omitted.

Bars 117-158: Second Subject in C sharp minor (tonic). The second subject is transposed into the tonic key, one bar (39) being omitted, Compare Bars 37-40 with Bars 133-135.

Bars 158-End: Coda. The Coda begins with a reminiscence of the first subject, followed by a passage of diminished sevenths, Bars 164-167. At bars 168-177 there is a recurrence of part of the second subject, and after some arpeggios (note the chord of the Neapolitan sixth, Bars 180-181) the movement ends with a reference to the end of the subject, upon tonic pedal point (Bar 191).