Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata"




Because it one of the most well-known Beethoven pieces, I've included a bit more information in the hopes that you can get a new appreciation of a piece you have likely heard a number of times already.

Written in 1800, "Sonata quasi una Fantasia" literally means "a sonata sort of like a fantasy." The nickname "Moonlight" was assigned by a music critic some time after Beethoven's death and the moniker stuck. During the time of the sonata's composition, Beethoven was privately struggling with hearing loss, and most biographers speculate that this piece in particular reflects his emotional turmoil over this hearing loss. It has been further speculated that this piece was written in the lower octaves to accomdate the notes that Beethoven could still hear. Another theory proposes that the emotions reflected in this sonata came from Beethoven's love of a countess who, effectively, wanted nothing to do with him. It also is worth noting that the Opus 27 Sonatas were not commissioned pieces:that is Beethoven wrote them simply because he wanted to!

The spirit of these "fantasies" is that of spontaneous music that reflects a stream of consciousness, with each of the movements including instructions to the performer to move directly to the next movement, without the traditional pause. The first movement of the "Moonlight" Sonata, which is the excerpt that we are performing, is often associated with melancholy.

For those familiar with the piano, Beethoven had intended for the entire first movement to be played with the sustain pedal engaged throughout. However, due to innovations made to the piano's resonance in the last 200 years, this practice tends to be avoided by modern performers of the piece. To those that wish to explore the piece from a theory-based standpoint, you will notice that the piece shifts from C# minor, to E major then E minor, to C major, B minor to B major, and so forth until finally coming to rest back in C# minor.

The second movement begins on a C sharp major chord, immediately following the previous movement's C sharp minor chord. This movement functions as a lyrical interlude between two very tragic outer movements. Piano virtuoso Franz Liszt called this movement "A flower between two abysses."
The third movement reflects a frequency range similar to the first movement, but appears to reflect more rage and anger than the despair of the first movement.

This piece has been arranged for guitar numerous times. For ease of playing, most of these arrangements have moved this piece to the key of A minor. Our arrangement is in the original key of C sharp minor.
*Please take note as to whether or not your part requires a capo.


Audio Files

Right click, "save as"

Here is the .WAV file to listen to and enjoy

Here is the .MUS file to open in Finale Notepad"

Here is the MIDI file if you prefer a program other than Finale


Sheet Music


Here is the music for Guitar 1

Here is the music for Guitar 2

Here is the music for Guitar 3

Here is the music for Guitar 4

Here is the music for Guitar 5

Here is the music for Bass Guitar

Parts Assignments:

Moonlight Sonata

Gtr1- Spencer, Chris
Gtr2- Tony, Randy
Gtr3- Jake, Tonna
Gtr4- Andrew, Ocky, Elijah
Gtr5- Lisa, Bill
Bass- Zoey