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My piano teacher gave me the go ahead to start learning Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. I'm really excited as I love this piece. She suggested that I work on the first two movements in parallel. After a few weeks of work, I'm finding the second movement much easier than the first. I think I'm going to learn this movement much faster than the first movement. Have any of you other "beginners" played both movements (I and II)? Which one did you find more challenging?

And yes, I know there is a third movement, which is very difficult. That's a challenge for another day -- or year or two or ten! ;-)


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Ah but the 1st movement is a lot better though. It will be worth the effort. It is a fantastic piece. I found it took many years to be able to project the tune on the 1st successfully so it something I have gone back to a few times. It is a feature of many piano pieces to project the tune and play the accompaniment in the same hand. How are you doing with this?

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Originally Posted by CLM Piano Learner
Have any of you other "beginners" played both movements (I and II)? Which one did you find more challenging?



I doubt there would be many ''beginners'' who would attempt both. Many have played the first movement though, with quite a few entries in the ABF recital index. I seem to remember someone playing it after six months of starting. I myself was playing it after a year of starting and can't say I found it difficult note wise. Both movements have difficulties, but the second movement to my mind looks the more difficult.


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I have’t looked at it recently, and never learned the second movement, but always thought it looked relatively easy. I considered learning it for the flow from the first, but then decided that without the third, which was unobtainable, that there was no point. That said, if your teacher thinks it would be a good project, then by all means go for it. It is quite beautiful.

Good luck....I’ll look forward to hearing the two upon completion.


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Oh and as to the difficulty of the first, there are definitely some tough spots. The diminished scales in approx M32-42 are fun, and taught me quite a lot as I used them as a platform from which to study diminished arpeggios, and there was one segment towards the end that I found tricky for quite a while, (M55-57 I think) but within reach. It really is quite a powerful movement.


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Originally Posted by Moo :)
Ah but the 1st movement is a lot better though. It will be worth the effort. It is a fantastic piece. I found it took many years to be able to project the tune on the 1st successfully so it something I have gone back to a few times. It is a feature of many piano pieces to project the tune and play the accompaniment in the same hand. How are you doing with this?


Melody + accompaniment in the same hand is definitely why I find the first movement so challenging. I'm getting the hang of it slowly.


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Originally Posted by earlofmar
Originally Posted by CLM Piano Learner
Have any of you other "beginners" played both movements (I and II)? Which one did you find more challenging?



I doubt there would be many ''beginners'' who would attempt both. Many have played the first movement though, with quite a few entries in the ABF recital index. I seem to remember someone playing it after six months of starting. I myself was playing it after a year of starting and can't say I found it difficult note wise. Both movements have difficulties, but the second movement to my mind looks the more difficult.


I'm not clear of when one is no longer a beginner, but I'm in year three of taking lessons (after a year off). I'm not doing a formal curriculum, but looking at the requirements of an intermediate player, I doubt I'm there yet. I'm doing piano for enjoyment, so not in a rush.


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Originally Posted by cmb13
I have’t looked at it recently, and never learned the second movement, but always thought it looked relatively easy. I considered learning it for the flow from the first, but then decided that without the third, which was unobtainable, that there was no point. That said, if your teacher thinks it would be a good project, then by all means go for it. It is quite beautiful.

Good luck....I’ll look forward to hearing the two upon completion.


Thanks!! Maybe I'll upload a video later next year. smile


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I play both of them. From my perspective the first movement never posed any technical difficulties, but getting it to sound the right way is rather difficult. The second movement is technically vastly more difficult; it's much faster, it has large jumps, it has some quite subtle slurs, and much greater dynamic range. But there is less to memorize with the second movement, because it is far shorter.


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It's hard to say where you might come across difficulty. The 1st movement is certainly a greater challenge. People take months learning it and years or entire lifetimes polishing. The 2nd movement is not complex with 2 finger harmony in each hand and some quick moving octaves. Some syncopation is tricky though and nothing like it is in the 1st movement.

The 1st mvmt is fairly consistent throughout. So like, if you can learn the first 8 or 12 bars and make sound nice you can be fairly confident to finish the entire mvmt just as well. The 2nd is more about short sections with distinct timing issues. Can cause headaches ... but a much easier work to learn when issues worked out and a really fun piece to play. Worth it, if you've learned the 1st.


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