Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.15 in D Major “Pastorale” 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.15 in D major “Pastoral.”

First Movement (Allegro)

Form: Sonata Form. D Major.


Bars 1-39: First Subject in D major (tonic). The first ten bars of the first subject are repeated an eighth higher, Bars 11-20. The next eight bars, 21-28, are treated in the same way (with slight alterations and elongations), Bars 29-39. The subject ends a full close on tonic.

Bars 40-90: Connecting Episode. The connecting episode is of great importance; it contains three distinct episodes, Bars 40-62, 63-77, and 77-90.

Bars 90-159: Second Subject in A major. The second subject begins simultaneously with the ending of the last phrase of the connecting episode. The second subject is divided into two parts, Bars 90-135, and 135-159; both begin and end in the dominant key. Some writers consider the second subject begins at Bar 63 and ends Bar 159; others that it ends at Bar 135.

Bars 159-163: Bars 159-162 form a passage leading to the development.

Double bar and repeat.


Bars 164-269: The development is almost entirely founded upon bars 7-10 of the first subject. Double counterpoint at the eighth is continuously used from Bars 184 to 208. There is no reference to the second subject, excepting at the end, where a portion of the second part of the second subject appears (varied) in B major, B minor, and D major. The development ends on dominant seventh, Bar 269.


Bars 270-312: First Subject in original key.

Bars 313-365: Connecting Episode. The connecting episode begins exactly like the original one, Bars 313-337. It ends, however, in the key of A (instead of E). The second part, Bars 338-352, and the third part, Bars 352-365, are an exact copy of the second and third parts of the original connecting episode transposed a fourth higher, so as to end in D instead of A.

Bars 365-435: Second Subject in D major (tonic).

Bars 435-438: Bars 435-438 form a passage leading into Coda.

Bars 439-End: Coda. The Coda, formed on tonic pedal point, refers to the first subject.

Second Movement (Andante)

Form: Ternary Form. D Minor. 


Bars 1-8: First Subject in D minor (tonic). The first subject begins with section of four bars, ending in D minor, followed by another four-bar section, beginning in F major, and ending in A minor.

Double bar and repeat.

Bars 10-18: Episode. This Episode is formed upon dominant pedal point.

Bars 18-24: First Subject in original key. The first subject is altered so as to end in tonic key.

Double bar and repeat from Bar 10.


Bars 24-32: First Subject in D major, ending in A major.

Double bar and repeat from Bar 25.

Bars 34-38: Episode.

Bars 38-41: First Subject in original key shortened. The first subject is altered so as to end in D major.

Double bar and repeat from Bar 34.


Bars 43-87: Repetition of First Part (varied).

Bars 87-End: Coda. The Coda refers to both subjects.

Third Movement  (Scherzo – Allegro Vivace)

Form: Ternary Form. D Major.


The First part is in Simple Binary form.

Bars 1-32: First Subject in D major (tonic), ending in A major. The first subject in the key of D major, Bars 1-8, is repeated slightly altered, Bars 9-16, in the key of the dominant; Bars 1-16 are then repeated with slight alterations, Bars 17-32.

Bars 33-48: Development. This development is in sequence. The first four bars, Bars 33-36, are repeated first of all in A major, Bars 37-40, then in B minor, Bars 41-44; it closes on dominant seventh, Bar 48.

Bars 49-70: First Subject in original key. The first subject is slightly altered and elongated; it closes in D major.

Double bar and repeat from Bar 33.


Bars 1-8: First Subject in B major, ending in D major. The first subject in the second part is in two sections of four bars each, repeated, Bars 9-24, with the second section preceding the first section, occurring in this form twice.

Double bar and repeat.

Bars 9-24: Repetition of First Subject.


First Part da capo.

Fourth Movement  (Rondo – Allegro Ma Non Troppo)

Form: Rondo Form. D Major. 


Bars 1-17: First Subject in D major (tonic). The first subject is curiously constructed. The first four bars are repeated, Bars 5-9; the next four bars, 9-13, are treated in the same way (varied), Bars 13-17. The whole of the subject is written upon a tonic pedal point.

Bars 17-29: Episode. This episode, formed of arpeggios, beings in D major and ends in E major.

Bars 29-44: Second Subject in A major. The second subject consists of four bars 29-33, repeated (varied), Bars 33-37, the rest of the subject being made up of a repetition of Bars 36-37. The first bar of the subject leads off in the treble, answered at an eighth below by the alto, and then by the bass.

Bars 44-52: Bars 44-52 form a passage leading to second entry of first subject.

Bars 52-68: First Subject in original key. At Bars 57-58 a little figure is added in the treble part (where there were rests originally).


Bars 68-102: Third Subject in G major and D minor. The first part of the third subject, Bars 68-79, might be looked upon as a development of the first subject; at Bar 80, however,, the subject assumes an independence of its own.

Bars 102-114: Bars 102-114 form a passage on dominant pedal point leading to third entry of first subject.


Bars 114-130: First Subject in original key. The figure referred to at Bars 57-58 is slightly elaborated, Bars 119-120.

Bars 130-145: Episode. This episode resembles the original one, altered so as to end in A, instead of in E major.

Bars 145-161: Second Subject in D major (tonic).

Bars 161-169: Bars 161-169 form a passage leading to Coda.

Bars 169-End: Coda. The Coda begins with an allusion to the third subject. At Bar 194 the time changes to Più Allegro being the same as that which accompanies the first subject.