Brief Analysis: Beethoven – “Moonlight Sonata”

Although very well known this piece is largely misunderstood, this sonata rarely sees the powerful dream that inhabits it. Made of a single theme; a single tempo, a single great and mysterious image. The whirlpools in this secret work (third movement) does not alter the tempo; as the major revelation (second movement) does not change the color interior of the work. The first movement generates everything even when it plunges into the storm. A truly mastered, deep, framed, infinite and haunting work. Whose end can be linked to the beginning, in the same tempo and the same atmosphere, in the same tone (C sharp minor). It is then that the first movement takes its true meaning and its exact rhythm.

1. First movement.

Contrary to the common interpretation that insists on the first note of the main motif being a triplet (1st theme), the accent must fall on the last note. It is this note which completes the harmony and continues the musical discourse. The starting G # note (1st triplet theme) responds to the double octave of the 2nd theme. The Superposition of the two themes that will feed this first movement, polyphonically and on bass line too. The movement of the bass voice (left hand) is related to the 1st triplet theme , essential and constant. However, it can be considered as a third polyphonic voice. Because its color, its time, its space, is different. All based upon the same expressive sweetness that we hear three themes, complementary but distinct in time and space.

2. The second movement.

It must be heard in C # Major (enharmonic B major). It’s a distraction that prepares, precipitates, the epiphany of the third movement.

3. The third movement

This is the key and climax of this composition. Made of the same harmonic material as the first movement, they can follow one another as one body. There is no change of tempo, only decomposition of the beats. The first movement (contrary to the indications of the publishers) is at C = 4/4, staying entirely in line with the first movement.

Structure and Form

We will analyze this work as a whole (without taking into account the separation of movements). Which conforms to the form hidden beneath the Structure. This is a painting that is alive and not fragmented. Whose modulations create perspective, distance in time and space. As well as the rhythmic decomposition in the same tempo. We are, from one end to the other, in the color of C # minor. Subtle elements create the unity and balance of this work.

First and last movements.

The first and the last movement have the same harmonic and melodic structure

The theme of the third movement is derived from the main motif of the first. It uses the same harmonic scheme and rhythmically is contained in the same tempo. Passing over the second movement, they are in the same vein. Forming an arch under which passes the entertainment in D b Major. The triplet, major motif and its emphasis on the last note, causes the violence of the pattern to strike through in the same tempo. Whose accent explodes at the end of the sentence. Harmonically it is comparable, revolving around the same modulations. Added to this is the diversion in D Major (Trio) whose color changes at the end of the course and prepares by its restraint, the storm of the last movement. Conclusive but must be linked to the first, without a musical, rhythmic and semantic break.

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20 thoughts on “Brief Analysis: Beethoven – “Moonlight Sonata””

  1. Thatguy says:

    Great piece, the music and this article! When I got my first guitar as a boy I was determined to learn this piece. Responsible for my love of playing piano pieces on guitar.

  2. RDS says:

    Such a badass composition

  3. A Reader of DMU says:

    Congrats this is the first actually objective article I’ve read here. Very nice and un-journalistic

    1. hmm, except that pretty much all the articles are fairly objective, nice try

  4. Frozenlake says:

    Beethoven’s piano sonatas are wonderful and a mantory listen for any metalhead. To me, they are a pinnacle of music, plain and simple. There is no way to ever exhaust their variety and depth. especially considering the number of versions available, each one paints a significantly different picture. I discovered Kovacevich’s take on the whole cycle quite recently and love the energy he puts in his reading. I also quite like Gould’s approach, even if, as usual, quite idiosyncratic. Thanks for this great article, Nick.

  5. Your mom says:

    This website is the biggest conglomeration of retarded snow niggers on the internet.

    1. Yet you return faithfully

    2. White people, also known as “snigs,” are a blight and abomination on this otherwise rainbow-colored Earth.

    3. This Post En(f)dorsed by the Communist Party says:

      Academics will be the first in front of the firing line once we get in power.

      1. It’s tempting to want to murder everyone.

        I just want to separate. Repatriate all the ethnic and racial diversity to its homelands, send the Leftists and defectives to Venezuela, and the remaining 40% of the former population — all Western European — can make a great civilization in America.

        1. This Post En(f)dorsed by the Communist Party says:

          You can bleat your tired old party lines. The only thing that matters in practice are systematic, calculated and unwavering actions. Only end results matter, the rest is trivial.

          Onwards to Utopia (population: 0)!

          1. You can bleat your tired old party lines.

            Noting that the Left are egalitarians and that before the French Revolution, people considered egalitarianism optional if not outright delusional, is far from bleating party lines…

            1. This Post En(f)dorsed by the Communist Party says:

              In the end it is all trivial.

              1. Nothing is trivial. Life thrives on texture.

                1. This Post En(f)dorsed by the Communist Party says:

                  The future belongs to the dead.

  6. Giant Fist says:

    God bless that guy with the “snow nigger” comment. Learn something new everyday.

    1. ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ says:

      There is a variety of niggers, such as potato-niggers (the Irish). This racial division originates with prominent olive nigger and philosopher J. C. Ebola and his tripartite division of the soul, a kind of spiritual racism so to speak.

      1. 50% Snow 25% Potato 25% Olive says:

        Does Evola’s “spiritual racism” explain the infamous line “Caller of the Storms may be black but he has an Aryan heart”?

        1. QT, Virginal, Trad Transgirl says:

          As long as he keeps the metal spirit alive by raping trannies.

        2. No, he meant that body, mind, and soul must all be of a type before the person is of that type.

          Caller of the Storms did great things for metal. Nationalism > racism. Denial of nationalism is a path to suicide for everyone, so nationalism is also the most compassionate option.

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