Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.29 in B-flat Major “Hammerklavier” 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.29 in Bb Major Op.106 “Hammerklavier”

First Movement (Allegro)

Form: Sonata Form. Bb Major. 

Beethoven Piano Sonata No.29 in B major, Op.106 'Hammerklavier' Analysis 1


Bars 1-18: First Subject in B flat major (tonic). The first subject is in two sections; the first section, Bars 1-5; the second section, Bars 5-9, ending on dominant; the latter section is repeated and elongated, ending with full close on tonic.

Bars 18-64: Connecting Episode. The connecting episode commences with a subject of two bars, which is repeated three times with different harmony, Bars 18-25. A passage closely following, beginning in octaves and ending on the dominant, prepares the ear for a reference to the first phrase of the first subject, the rhythm of which is used for a modulation to D major, Bars 37-39. Bars 39-46 are formed upon the dominant chord of G major, in the key of which an episode follows, which leads to the second subject, Bars 46-64

Bars 63-101: Second Subject in G major. The second subject begins with the melody in an inner part. (Note that the concluding three notes of the bass of the preceding episode (Bars 63-64) also form the first three notes of the second subject, Bars 63-64). Bars 63-67 are repeated, Bars 67-71, altered to end in E minor. A sequential passage modulating into D minor, C major, B minor, A major, and G major, Bars 71-75, leads to two bars in the latter key (repeated) followed by two bars modulating to D major. These six bars are repeated in different octaves, Bars 82-87, and followed by a sequential passage, Bars 88-91, leading to a modulation to C major (where a new figure is introduced, Bars 92-93). This soon gives place to four bars in the key of G, which end the second subject.

Bars 101-121: Coda. The Coda begins with a new subject of six bars, repeated (varied), Bars 107-112. A passage beginning with the dominant seventh of C major brings the first part to an end in G major (Bar 121).

Bars 121-126: Passage leading to the repetition of the exposition.

Double bar and repeat.

Bars 127-130: Bars 127-130 form a passage leading to the development.


Bars 131-233: The development begins with a passage suggestive of the commencement of the connecting episode ending in E flat major, Bars 131-138. Five bars (139-143), in the same key are followed by a fugal treatment of a subject, which is considerably developed (Bars 144-148) – the first part founded upon Bars 1-3, the latter part suggested by the first three notes of the second subject. At Bars 183-187 a passage occurs which is repeated in different keys, Bars 188-195. At Bar 208 there is a reference to the Coda, Bar 101. At Bar 219 the fugal treatment of the first part of the first subject occurs again, forming a passage leading to the second entry of the first subject.


Bars 233-256: First Subject in original key. The first subject re-appears considerably altered. The beginning of it is accompanied by a figure, the rhythm of which may be found, among other places, at the commencement of  the second subject. The succeeding bars are differently harmonized as far as the pause (Bar 141), and the latter part, instead of ending in the tonic key as before, is elongated, and closes in G flat major.

Bars 256-302: Connecting Episode. The connecting episode is constructed on much the same material as in the exposition, transposed into different keys. It begins in G flat major and ends in tonic key.

Bars 301-339: Second subject in B flat major (tonic). The second subject re-appears transposed, to begin and end in tonic key.

Bars 339-End: Coda. Bars 339-358 of the Coda resemble that in the exposition transposed so as to begin and end in tonic key. Bar 357 is then developed to Bar 369, where there is a reference to the commencement of the original Coda. A scale passage, Bars 380-383, leads to some new material. The Coda ends with reminiscences of the first subject.

Second Movement (Scherzo – Assai Vivace)

Form: Ternary Form. Bb Major. 

Beethoven Piano Sonata No.29 in B major, Op.106 'Hammerklavier' Analysis 2


Bars 1-47: First Subject in B flat major (tonic). Nearly the whole of the first part is constructed upon Bars 1-2. The first eight bars ending on dominant are repeated an octave higher, slightly altered. Some development follows, Bars 15-31, which bars are also repeated with slight variation, Bars 31-47.


Bars 47-98: Second Subject in B flat minor. The second part commences with a passage beginning in B flat minor, ending in D flat major, Bars 47-55, which is repeated with the parts inverted, Bars 55-63. The same passage the appears, Bars 64-72, beginning with D flat major, ending in B flat minor (the keys being reversed). It occurs again Bars 72-80, with the parts reversed. After two bars in B flat minor, Bars 80-81, the time changes to Presto, and a new subject is introduced, Bars 82-89, beginning in B flat minor, and ending in F major, repeated (varied), Bars 90-97, beginning in F major and ending in B flat minor.

Bars 98-115: Bars 98-115 form a passage, the commencement of which is founded on “Presto,” leading to the repetition of Part I.


Bars 116-162: First Subject in original key. Part I is repeated in its entirety.

Bars 162-End: Coda. The Coda commences with a modulation to B minor by enharmonic change, B flat to A sharp. It closes with a reference to the commencement of Part I.

Third Movement  (Adagio Sostenuto)

Form: Sonata Form. F# Minor. 

Beethoven Piano Sonata No.29 in B major, Op.106 'Hammerklavier' Analysis 3


Bars 2-27: First Subject in F sharp minor (tonic). The first subject is preceded by an introductory bar (Bar 1). At Bars 14-15 there is a curious modulation to G major; Bars 10-17 are repeated (varied and extended), Bars 18-26.

Bars 27-45: Connecting Episode. The connecting episode commences, after one bar of introduction, with a new syncopated subject of three bars (18-31), repeated (varied), Bars 31-34. Bars 34 is repeated (varied), Bar 35, after which a passage follows modulating D major, Bars 36-45.

Bars 45-63: Second Subject in D major. The second subject leads off with a phrase, the melody of which is in the bass, Bars 45-46 (the notes forming it simply consisting of the triad of D major), repeated in the treble, Bars 47-48. The same phrase (varied) then occurs in the bass, with semiquaver (sixteenth note) triplet accompaniment, Bars 49-50, and is repeated again in the treble, with the same accompaniment, Bars 51-52, followed by an ascending passage in the treble (Bars 53-56) of four bars (accompanied by a semiquaver figure), the bass being two octaves and a third below it until Bar 56 where it is a tenth below. The second subject ultimately ends with full close in D major, Bars 62-63.

Bars 63-69: Coda. The Coda simply confirms the final cadence of the second subject; it ends of the chord of the sixth, Bar 69.


Bars 69-88: The development begins in D major with a varied repetition of the first three bars of the first subject (Bars 69-71), which is repeated in the bass in F sharp minor, Bars 73-75. The first bar of the first subject occurs at Bar 77 in E flat major, after which the whole of the development is based upon the outline of the first four notes of the first subject, which form a triad, beginning, Bar 78, with [C flat, A flat, F], and followed [D flat, B flat, G], [D sharp, B natural, G sharp], [E, C sharp, A sharp], etc., ending with a cadenza upon dominant ninth of the tonic (Bar 87).


Bars 88-112: First Subject (varied) in original key. The first subject re-appears considerably varied throughout.

Bars 113-130: Connecting Episode. The connecting episode begins in D major, and though it resembles that in the exposition, it is considerably altered so as to end in the tonic major key. The original connecting episode commenced in F sharp minor (tonic), and ended in D major; this one begins in D major and ends in F sharp major.

Bars 130-148: Second Subject in F sharp major (tonic). The second Subject appears, varied, and transposed into the tonic major key.

Bars 148-End: Coda. The Coda commences as the exposition (the key being changed from D to F sharp major), and refers to both the first and second subjects. The key signature changes to one sharp, Bar 156; two sharps, bar 164; and to three sharps, Bar 166. From this bar to the end, the Coda is based upon the first subject in tonic key. It ends, however, with the major tonic chord (Tierce de Picardie).

Fourth Movement (Introduction: Largo – Allegro – Prestissimo,  Allegro Risoluto)

Form: Rondo and Fugue (Combined). Allegro Risoulto – Bb Major. 

Beethoven Piano Sonata No.29 in B major, Op.106 'Hammerklavier' Analysis 4

This is the first movement (taking these Sonatas in the order in which they were published) containing a combination of forms.


Bars 1-5: This introduction is very fragmentary in character and is not in any prescribed form. It is divided into four parts, each forming a totally different subject; Part I begins in F major, “Largo,” ending on chord of B major; Part 2 (“un poco piu vivace”), beginning and ending in B major; Part 3 (“Allegro”), beginning and ending in G sharp minor; Part 4 (Bars 9 to Bar 5 of the “Allegro Risoluto”) beginning in A major and ending in B flat major, and tonic A being used as a leading note to B flat. A continuation of the introduction overlaps the entry of the first subject, Bar 6. Between Parts 2 and 3 (end of Bar 2), also Parts 3 and 4 (Bar 8), there is a reference to Part I.


Bars 6-84: First Subject and Episodes in B flat major (tonic). The first subject consists of a passage, Bars 6-13, treated fugally at considerable length. After a short codetta it is answered tonally, Bars 16-23, the last two notes being altered. A counter-subject appears at Bars 17-22. The subject enters again in tonic key in the bass (slightly shortened) at Bar 25, and the counter-subject at Bar 26 in the treble. An episode, Bars 32-55, formed upon the subject and counter-subject and codetta leads to the entry of the subject in the treble in A flat, Bar 55. Another episode, formed upon the end of the subject and a part of the counter-subject (partly in double counterpoint), closes in G flat major, Bar 75, followed by a series of imitations beginning in G flat major and ending in E flat minor (principally based upon the figure in Bar 75), which lead to the re-entry of the first subject.

Bars 84-106: First Subject in E flat minor. The first subject, instead of re-appearing in tonic key (which it usually does at the end of Part I in a Rondo), enters in E flat minor (augmented), answered (partially) at Bar 101 in the treble, and Bar 1102, by inversion in the bass. The first part ends in D flat major, Bar 106.


Bars 106-186: Development and episode. The development refers, from Bar 106 to 141, principally, to previous material. At Bar 143 a new subject is introduced in B minor, followed by further development of fragments of the first subject.


Bars 186-269: First Subject and Episode in D major. The subject re-appears, Bar 186 (slightly shortened), in D major in the bass, answered by inversion in G major, Bar 198, and slightly altered (also by inversion) at Bar 206 in an inner part. An episode formed mainly upon the subject, ending Bar 239 on the chord of A major, is followed by a new episode in D major – it is imitatory in character.

Bars 269-356: First Subject in B flat major (tonic). The subject re-appears (shortened) in various parts, commencing Bar 269 in tonic, the beginning of the episode (Bar 240) being combined with it. It is answered in the key of the dominant (inverted), Bar 284, in the bass, and direct, Bar 284, in the treble. The subject enters again, Bar 290 (inverted), in the treble, and at Bar 290 direct in the bass. The rest of this section of the movement is occupied with references to previous material, which is introduced in almost every conceivable form of imitation. It ends with full close in tonic key, Bar 356.

Bars 357-End: Coda. The chief feature of the Coda is the pedal point which commences, Bar 359, on the subdominant (E flat) proceeding to the dominant, Bar 362, upon which a tonic pedal point is added. This double pedal point continues to Bar 371. The whole of the Coda is founded upon the first subject and counter-subject. It ends with full close in the tonic key.