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Home>Beethoven Music>Beethoven Piano Sonatas>The Pathetique Sonata

Beethoven Pathetique Sonata Op. 13

Beethoven's Piano Sonata op. 13 in C minor also known as " Pathetique " is by far the most well-known work from his early creation, composed in 1798 but published in 1799 and dedicated to prince Karl Lichnowsky. Some sources attribute the title to Beethoven himself, while others state that the title was given by the publisher of the sonata, who was so impressed by its tragic sonorities that he proposed Beethoven the name Pathetique.

The sonata has three parts.

  1. Grave: Allegro di molto e con brio
  2. Adagio cantabile
  3. Rondo: Allegro

The first part is opened by a slow introduction – Grave – containing the main motif found in parts 1 and 3.

Excerpt from Beethoven's Patetica Sonata

Here is how this motif is transformed from the sonata form of the first part:

Excerpt from Beethoven's Pathétique Sonata

In the secondary theme of the first part:

Excerpt from Beethoven's Pathétique Sonata, Part I

Or the main theme of the final rondo:

Excerpt from Beethoven's Pathétique Sonata, Final Rondo

Beethoven’s Pathetique may very well have been inspired from Mozart’s piano sonata K. 457, since both compositions are in C minor and have three very similar movements. This is, however, just a theory since musicologists don’t seem to come to an agreement on this issue, especially since the unique connection of motifs throughout the sonata constitutes a major step forward from Haydn or Mozart’s creation. Beethoven's Pathetique, still remains one of his most popular sonatas even 200 years after its composition.

Download the Beethoven Pathetique music sheet from here

Read more about Beethoven's Piano sonatas :

  1. Sonata in F minor, op. 2, no. 1
  2. Sonata in A major, op. 2, no. 2
  3. Sonata in C major op. 2, no. 3
  4. Sonata in E flat major, op. 7
  5. Sonata in C minor, op. 10, no.1
  6. Sonata in C minor, op. 13, “Pathetique”
  7. Sonata in A major, op. 10, no. 2
  8. Sonata in D major, op. 10, no. 3
  9. Sonata in G major, op. 14, no. 2
  10. Sonata in B flat major, op. 22
  11. Sonata in E flat major, op. 26
  12. Sonata in E major, op. 14 no. 1
  13. Sonata in E flat major, op. 27, nr. 1
  14. Sonata in C sharp minor, op. 27, nr. 2 “The Moonlight Sonata”
  15. Sonata in D major, op. 28 “Pastorala”
  16. Sonata in G major, op. 31, no. 1
  1. Sonata in D minor, op. 31, no. 2
  2. Sonata in E flat major, op. 31, no. 3
  3. Sonata in G minor, op.49, no. 1
  4. Sonata in G major, op. 49, no. 2
  5. Sonata in C major,No. 21 op. 53 “Waldstein”
  6. Sonata in F major, op.54
  7. Sonata in F minor, op. 57, “Appassionata”
  8. Sonata in F sharp major, op. 78
  9. Sonata in G major, op. 79
  10. Sonata in E flat major, op. 81 a
  11. Sonata in E minor, op. 90
  12. Sonata in A major, op. 101
  13. Sonata in B flat major, op. 106, “Hammerklavier”
  14. Sonata in E major, op. 109
  15. Sonata in A flat major, op. 110
  16. Sonata in C minor, op. 111


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  Best 5 Beethoven Books on Amazon

1. Beethoven: The Universal Composer by Edmund Morris;

2. Beethoven by Maynard Solomon;

3. Beetoven: The Music and the Life by Lewis Lockwood;

4. Late Beethoven: Music, Thought, Imagination by Maynard Solomon;

5. Beethoven as I Knew Him by Anton Felix Schindler;

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