Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.2 in A major 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.2 in A major.

First Movement (Allegro Vivace)

Form: Sonata Form. A major.

Beethoven Piano Sonata No.2 in A major, Op.2 No.2 Analysis 1


Bars 1-33: First Subject in A major (tonic). The first subject, with the exception of the dominant, Bars 17-21, is entirely in the tonic key, ending with a full close, Bar 33.

Bars 33-59: Connecting episode. The connecting episode begins in tonic key with a passage of two bars in the bass, which is immediately repeated (a twelfth higher) in the treble. The same passage then occurs in the bass (a third higher than it originally did), and is followed by a modulation through the dominant major key to that of the dominant minor, in which key the connecting episode ends, Bar 59.

Bars 59-93: Second Subject in E minor and E major. The second subject begins with a four-bar phrase, Bars 59-63, in E minor, ending in G major, which is immediately repeated in G major ending in B flat major, Bars 63-67; and in B flat major, ending in D major, Bars 67-71; it eventually modulates to E major, in which key it closes with a four-bar phrase, Bars 85-88, repeated (Bars 85-86 being inverted), Bars 89-92.

Bars 93-117: Coda. The Coda is formed from previous material.

Double bar and repeat.


Bars 127-229: The development is preluded by the repetition of the last three chords of the Coda, transposed into E minor (Bars 123-125). It principally refers to fragments of the first subject (Bars 5-9); the second subject is entirely ignored.


Bars 230-257: First Subject in original key. The first subject re-appears shortened and altered. Instead of the passage, Bars 21-33, there is a repetition of the two-bar phrase, Bars 247-249, extending to three bars, first in D major, Bars 250-253, and then in A major (tonic), Bars 254-257, bringing the first subject to a close.

Bars 257-283: Connecting Episode. The connecting episode is altered so as to end in the key of the tonic minor.

Bars 283-317: Second Subject in A minor, ending in A major. The second subject re-appears transposed to begin in the tonic minor and end in the tonic major; it is only very slightly altered. Compare Bars 87-88=91-92 with Bars 311-312=315-316.

Bars 317-End: Coda. The Coda, transposed into the tonic key, is altered in the bass, Bars 325-326.

Double bar and repeat from Bar 127. Repetitions of the development and recapitulation are unusual, although they will be found in Op. 10, No 2, first and third movements; Op 57, third movement; Op 78, First movement; and Op. 79, first movement.


Second Movement (Largo Appasionato)

Form: Ternary Form. D major.

Beethoven Piano Sonata No.2 in A major, Op.2 No.2 Analysis 2


Bars 1-19: First Subject in D major (tonic). The first subject begins with two four-bar phrases, the latter ending in D major, followed by a four-bar phrase in A major, which, at Bar 12, modulates back to D major. The first two four-bar phrases then appear compressed into one phrase of seven bars, Bars 13-19.


Bars 19-32: Second Subject commencing in B minor, ending in the tonic key. The second subject commences in B minor, modulating to F sharp minor, Bar 23, in which key the three first bars are repeated in a varied form, succeeded, at Bar 26, by another variation of the same material in G major, which ends in D major, Bar 32, overlapping the entry of the first subject.


Bars 32-50: First subject (varied) in original key. The first subject re-appears unaltered excepting that the parts in Bars 8-11 are inverted.

Bars 50-End: Coda. The Coda begins with a development of the figure taken from the first subject, Bars 9-10. At bar 58 there is a reminiscence of the first subject in D minor, and at Bar 68, the whole of the first two phrases reappear considerably varied, ending with full close in the tonic key, Bar 75, which is repeated in varied form to the end of the movement.


Third Movement  (Allegretto)

Form: Scherzo and Trio. A major. 

Beethoven Piano Sonata No.2 in A major, Op.2 No.2 Analysis 3

FIRST PART – Scherzo:

The Scherzo is in Simple Binary form.

Bars 1-9: First Subject in A major (tonic). The first subject consists of two four-bar phrases, the first ending in the dominant, the second ending in the tonic key.

Double bar and repeat.

Bars 10-33: Development. The development ends at Bar 21 where an episode appears in G sharp minor, after which a passage consisting of a sequence of dominant sevenths leads back to the tonic key.

Bars 34-42: Repetition of First Subject.

Bars 42-46: Coda. The short Coda is founded upon the first subject.

Double bar and repeat.


The Trio is in Simple Binary form.

Bars 1-9: First Subject in A minor (tonic), ending in E minor.

Double bar and Repeat.

Bars 10-19: Development. The development commences in C major, modulates to D minor, and then back to A minor. The rhythm of it is identical with that of Part I.

Bars 19-26: First subject in original key, ending in A minor (tonic). The first subject re-appears varied and altered so as to end in A minor, instead of E minor as before.

Double bar and repeat.

THIRD PART – Scherzo:

Da Capo.

Fourth Movement (Grazioso)

Form: Rondo Form. A major. 

Beethoven Piano Sonata No.2 in A major, Op.2 No.2 Analysis 4FIRST PART:

Bars 1-16: First Subject in A major (tonic). The first subject begins with a four-bar phrase ending on a half close on dominant, followed by another four-bar phrase ending with full close on dominant. A four-bar phrase on dominant pedal point is succeeded by another one of the same length similar to Bars 1-4, but altered to end in tonic key.

Bars 16-26: Episode. The episode begins with a new subject in the tonic key, modulating to the dominant, in which it ends, Bar 26.

Bars 26-40: Second Subject in E major. The second subject commences with a phrase in E major, Bars 26-28, which is immediately repeated (varied) twice. A sequential passage leads to an inverted dominant pedal point preparatory to the second entry of first subject in tonic key.

Bars 21-56: First Subject (varied) in original key. The first subject is varied at each repetition.


Bars 57-101: Third subject in A minor. The third subject is based almost entirely upon the figure in Bar 57. It commences in A minor and modulates to C, in which key there is a full close, bar 66 (double bar and repeat from Bar 57), this is followed by a passage (in imitation, Bars 68-72) ending in E major, Bar 75. Bars 57-61 are then repeated (with slight variation), Bars 76-80. Bars 68-80 the recur, the last two bars, however, Bars 79-80, are altered, Bars 92-93, to end on the dominant. Bars 93-100 form a passage leading to Part III.


Bars 101-116: First Subject (varied) in original key.

Bars 116-124: Episode. The original episode is slightly altered and shortened.

Bars 125-136: Second Subject in A major (tonic). The second subject re-appears transposed into the tonic key, it is also slightly altered. Compare Bars 27 and 29 with Bars 125 and 127. It ends with full close in the tonic.

Bars 136-149: First Subject (varied) in original key. The first subject re-appears considerably varied. At Bars 141-142 there is a modulation to F major. By enharmonic change, Bars 145-146 modulate back to tonic key.

Bars 149-End: Coda. The Coda consists of modulating reminiscences of the first and third subjects.