Talk:Piano Sonata No. 29 (Beethoven)

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Third movement form[edit]

III is Sonata-Form, not Variations. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:54, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

How many movements in a Classical sonata?[edit]

A conventional classical sonata has three, not four, movements. Skiasaurus 04:52, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

A 'classical' sonata has three or four movements. Beethoven's first sonatas and many others have four movements, I believe that many of Mozart's have four (but I don't study those so I can't confirm that). Note that symphonies, a parallel form for orchestra often have four movements.Quendus 21:19, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

I don't think that it should say rather unconventional. A full 13 of Beethoven's 32 Piano Sonatas have 4 movements. I think Mozart may have had a few 4-movement sonatas. I know that other composers like Schubert had many 4-movement sonatas. Asmeurer (talkcontribs) 03:06, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Mozart did not have any four movement piano sonatas. Four-movement form (fast-slow-"dance"-fast) was well-established by the time Haydn wrote his quartets and symphonies in his Sturm und Drang era of the 1760s, but that form was not applied to the Piano Sonata and Piano Trio genres until Beethoven's early Op 1 and Op 2 sets. So, it was an established form, but had not been established in those genre's yet. DavidRF 21:00, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Generally the conventional piano sonata has three or four movements. I think one runs into four just slightly more often than three but I've never really seen a survey of the percentages. (talk) 06:32, 11 December 2009 (UTC)


Changed the meaning of "Hammerklavier" from piano to the more accurate "fortepiano". --Hesperides

Hmm... Here's why I have just reverted.
First, the sentence should be interpreted in context. The sentence was meant to help readers who don't know any German. Such a reader could very plausibly imagine that the word "Hammerklavier" must mean something important or unusual, and in fact it doesn't, it was simply the word Beethoven wanted to use for "piano" at the time. (If you publish a sonata for piano, it's not a bad idea to include the words "Sonata for piano" on the cover!) To use a fancy word here would lessen clarity.
Second, "fortepiano" is anachronistic from the viewpoint of naming the sonata. Today, we use this word to mean "early piano", but Beethoven surely would not have seen it that way; for him, it was just the piano.
Finally, it's not even clear that one should say "fortepiano" for the instrument Beethoven know toward the end of his career. His very last piano, by Conrad Graf, was a really massive thing, quite different from the Mozartian instrument that we commonly associate nowadays with the word "fortepiano." So really, there's little payoff in accuracy for saying "fortepiano" instead of "piano."
I hope this seems reasonable. Opus33 05:59, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
Surely the more common term was and still is pianoforte, abbreviated to piano. The title of the piece was all about the correct name to use for this new instrument (basically a harpsichord (klavier) played with hammers instead of plucking). I have now edited (reverted?) the relevant section to reflect this.
Scolaire 22:59, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
According to The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, the terms pianoforte and fortepiano are interchangeable; synonymous. I disagree with the structure of "modern pianoforte" that should just say "modern piano." Academically, the piano refers to the modern piano. Pianoforte/fortepiano refers to the older pianos. While Beethoven's late pianoforte's were pretty close to the modern grand piano, they were still pianoforte's. There are so many different brands of pianoforte's that a person really must differentiate with them by using the date of manufacture and brand. I also question whether or not Germans actually say "hammerklavier" it's my understanding they just say "Klavier." Bach used the term "Clavier" to refer to any keyboard instrument. (talk) 08:27, 8 January 2020 (UTC)


I think Beethoven's Hammerklavier sonata is in the Romantic style, just the way it is structured with the notes, rhythm, and harmony. I would think it sounds nothing like Haydn or Mozart. In fact, I don't think Beethoven's works from either his middle or late periods should belong in Classical period categories (not the categories on Wikipedia) or studies. I think they should belong in topics on developments of the Romantic style. If one is interested in Classical period studies, that person should instead focus in more detail the compositions of CPE Bach, and even, Domenico Scarlatti. I think that Beethoven's early period ("Imitation") works should be included at the very end of any Classical period topic, and how it leads into the Romantic style. I think the works of Scarlatti and CPE Bach especially are more closely related to the Classical style than most of Beethoven's. And is there any way I can contact this guy, Charles Rosen? Marcus 20:37, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

Hello, Marcus2,
I'm sorry, but your recent changes are in violation of the basic rules of the Wikipedia -- you're just putting in your own opinions, without any reference sources. The relevant rule is given under Wikipedia:Verifiability, and I urge you to look at it.
Rosen is a very well known source, widely quoted in studies of music. If you want to have the article say that the Hammerklavier is a Romantic sonata, contrary to Rosen's view, you need to go to the library, find a book that says this, read it, and report what you read. You should also leave the existing Classical claims--insofar as they are by published authors--alone, in order to follow the Wikipedia's NPOV policy.
I'm out of time for editing right now but next time I edit, I will try to take out everything (not just by Marcus2) that has no reference source. I have no problem with the article saying (as one opinion) that the Hammerklavier is a Romantic sonata, but it has to be a published opinion, not the personal opinion of a WP editor.
Sincerely, Opus33 00:20, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
I found one source that might have implied that Hammerklavier is a Romantic sonata: Its heading includes "Romantic to Modern", and for musical period purposes, I go with Romantic. I believe this is a press release. There may be more to come. I haven't had much of a chance to go to the library; I only have a NYS learner's permit, which I got a month ago, and I have to have a friend drive me. Marcus 00:55, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Further description of the fourth movement[edit]

I have given further elaboration to the various devices Beethoven applies in the amazing fugue movement, which deserves a fuller treatment. --Anonymous, Aug 20, 2007.

It says in the section about the first movement that it ends with fortississimo, but in fact it is only fortissimo. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:22, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Length of the Hammerklavier[edit]

The second paragraph under "Composition" says this work lasts 50 minutes. Just below that, the first paragraph under "Structure" says 45 minutes. I checked my four versions and all last 42-43 minutes (I know there is at least one version out there that is much longer). Suggest the first timing reference be changed to 45 minutes. --Anon. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:07, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

I went ahead and made the necessary change. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:29, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

Additional citations[edit]

Why, what, where, and how does this article need additional citations for verification? Hyacinth (talk) 22:38, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

At least in the "Structure" section, a lot reads as though it is original material. Exceptions are when citing a rather subjective observation on the emotional content of the music, and good citations occur there. But when describing the formal structure of each movement, perhaps even including the modulative activity, the text completely lacks citations.Tgkohn (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 07:32, 30 May 2015 (UTC)

Move discussion in progress[edit]

There is a move discussion in progress on Talk:Piano Sonata No. 1 (Beethoven) which affects this page. Please participate on that page and not in this talk page section. Thank you. —RM bot 13:16, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Note the date of the foregoing notice. The discussion, now long closed, concerned whether to move the sonata articles to new titles incorporating opus numbers. The conclusion was not to do so. Drhoehl (talk) 23:56, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

Move discussion in progress[edit]

There is a move discussion in progress which affects this page. Please participate at Talk:Piano Sonata No. 8 (Beethoven) - Requested move and not in this talk page section. Thank you. —RM bot 20:40, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

Note the date of the foregoing notice. The discussion, speedily closed long ago, concerned whether to move this article to the new title "Hammerklavier Sonata." Drhoehl (talk) 23:56, 12 March 2012 (UTC)


We say the world had to wait till the 20th century before its significance was realised, but Liszt was a famous exponent and he certainly understood it.

He did seem to premiere it in a few places, but does anyone know who was the very first to play it in public? My searches have been fruitless. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 04:37, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

I read Carl Czerny premiered the Hammerklavier however without any footage. See my entrance under Czerny Otto Ede Pool (talk) 00:39, 5 May 2016 (UTC)

Obviously le petit Litz did the well documented Parisian premiere of the piece in the Liszt-Thalberg battle. We have to remind that in those times culture and art were much more localy oriented than nowadays and it was nowhere stated that this parisian premiere was a world premiere.

Otto Ede Pool (talk) 04:14, 6 May 2016 (UTC)

"Duration of roughly 9–13 minutes"[edit]

Or rather 9 minutes, unless you favour your own comfort over Beethoven's ideas. Beethoven did not write half note = 138 for nothing, and while almost nobody seems to dare to take it that fast, the piece loses a lot when "Allegro" is mistaken for "Allegro maestoso". Double sharp (talk) 05:50, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

P.S. The idea of orchestrating this sonata should probably be criticised as well as just stated in this article. The opening is hugely effective on the piano and falls completely flat in the orchestra – and I'm pretty sure I've read some comments to this effect. (I can't remember where exactly: I will go looking.) Double sharp (talk) 05:53, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
(P.P.S. Beethoven also wrote to Ferdinand Ries about the marking: "First movement Allegro, but only Allegro; you must remove the Assai." I suspect, as does Rosen, that the original was therefore Allegro assai and that Beethoven was revising the tempo down (although he has also noted that it might have also been Assai allegro, which might instead be slower than Allegro, I think Allegro assai is more likely for musical reasons: I am often tempted myself to take the work faster than half note = 138). Double sharp (talk) 07:39, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

Piano work with fugue within sonata form.[edit]

The article stated: "It is perhaps[original research?] the first major piano work to so thoroughly incorporate a Baroque contrapuntal style (the fugue) within an originally Classical structure (the sonata form)." I removed this statement alltogether.

At first: a Fugue appearing within in a classical structure was not a novum at all when Beethoven composed the Hammerklavier. In fact Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven wrote earlier and very thorough Fugues in their String Quartets, Trios, Symphonies (Jupiter!) all representing the Fugue within a Classical structure and most (all?) of them - like the Hammerklavier - as a final part: The Fugue as a proof of compositional mastership crowning the work.

Furthermore Beethoven many times and in a structural way used fugal technique in his earlier pianosonatas, and I believe the opus 101 Piano Sonata (1815-1816) with a fugato and opus 102:2 Cello Sonata (1815) with an elaborate fugue as a last part precede the Hammerklavier (1817-1818) by a few years. The Cello Sonata as such is not a piano solo work, but the piano part and the fugue are so extensive, complex and harsh that this piece has to be taken into account in this discussion. The opus 101 fugato is more imitative and harmonic in nature, but the Hammerklavier fugue also has its more harmonic oriented parts.

But then there is Beethovens pupil Carl Czerny who really beat Beethoven in this aspect! : His first piano sonata opus 7 dating 1810 published by Artaria in 1810 or 1812 is like the Hammerklavier sonata of true heroic proportions (39 dense pages excl repeats) and including a fugue as a fifth movement. 1. Andante (rep.)/ Allegro moderato ed espressivo / Andante / Allegro moderato ed espressivo in A-flat (5pages) 2. Scherzo / Trio in C-sharp minor / G-flat major / C-sharp minor/ A-flat major (8pages) 3. Adagio espressivo e cantabile (inspired on van Beethoves op31.2 marche funebre) (7pages) 4. Rondo Allegretto (17pages) 5. Capriccio Fugato, (tempo moderato): A 4 voice Fugue in As major) with a theme and texture that resembles the Hammerklavier theme (6p)

The sonata was long time forgotten but it was recently republished IMSLP Score Piano_Sonata_No.1,_Op.7_(Czerny,_Carl) and recorded Czerny op 7 - part 5 Fugue.

Czerny probably got the idea of an instrumental Sonata ending with a fugue from Beethovens close friend Ferdinand Ries. Ries wrote in Paris 1808 his F major violin sonate Opus 8.1 with an additional Baroque fugue as a fifth part.

I hesitate little to call Czernys sonata an important work in piano literature, and it is at least aiming for the classification "major work". The Czerny fugue is a true contrapunctal masterpiece of considerable complexity and technical difficulty. As we know Beethoven and Czerny were in close contact those years. It is unthinkable that Czerny did not at least play parts his first pianosonata for Beethoven, even more because the Hammerklavier Fugue is written in an idiom remarkably resembling the Czerny Fugue, however surpassing it in complexity and technical challenge.

So no, the Hammerklavier Sonate is not the first major (classical style) pianosonata to so thoroughly incorporate a Baroque contrapuntal style (the fugue) within an originally Classical structure (the sonata form). I think the importance and uniqueness of the Hammerklavier fugue lies in its in the Classical era unprecedented complexity and its uncompromising technical difficulty. It is thanks to Liszt that this Sonate including a fugue (more then Opus 101 fugato, the 102:2 Cello Sonata fugue, or the Czerny Sonata for that matter) set a landmark in piano literature, leading to for example the Brahms Handel Variations fugue and off course the Liszt Sonata fugue. However in concipiating the Hammerklavier sonata Beethoven is indebted significantly to his so very talented pupil Carl Czerny, who wrote this huge , complex and technically challenging first piano sonata including a fugue that ended up under the dust of history.

Otto Ede Pool (talk) 22:15, 6 May 2016 (UTC)

Hammerklavier Premiere by Carl Czerny[edit]

Carl Czerny premiered the piece:

"Only Carl Czerny, who studied the sonata repeatedly with Beethoven and who premiered the piece,""

5. Autograph Tempo in Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier Sonata”—Practice and Theory

Otto Ede Pool (talk) 03:27, 5 May 2016 (UTC)

Why not add this important information to the article? It's nearly two years later. (talk) 00:34, 26 March 2018 (UTC)


"In the twentieth century, Pierre Boulez's Piano Sonata No. 2 applies a serial syntax to the playing style of a Beethoven piano sonata." This statement is uncited and seems speculative at best. I have removed it.Opus131 (talk) 04:14, 6 January 2019 (UTC)


There needs to be more discussion on this article about Beethoven's tempo markings, which are a contentious matter in general, but especially so for the Hammerklavier and have been almost since its publication. Last November, a user edited the durations of each movement, changing them from their average lengths in recorded performances to their supposed lengths were they to be played strictly at Beethoven's tempi (ignoring the fact that Beethoven did not wish for his works to be played at one tempo throughout). Without getting into too much detail, something ought to be mentioned of the amount of debate surrounding Beethoven's markings, whether he actually meant them to be taken strictly or as a guide or a starting point, and especially the fact that no recorded performance has ever come even close to these tempi. Much has been said about the first and last movements, but it is the adagio that stands out to me. The swiftest recording I have ever heard is that of Egon Petri in 1956, who played it in 14:20. Even the lifeless MIDI recording in the article, at 12:53, is still nowhere near the 8 minutes that are supposedly called for.

I suggest rather than list the duration of the movements, we simply give Beethoven's listed tempi, as well as some words about their history of contentiousness. Or we could simply revert back to the duration of the movements as they are normally performed. (talk) 20:54, 2 February 2020 (UTC)