To kick off this year’s classical music month and following our beginner’s guide to classical music, we wanted to help inspire your playing however we can, offering a range of the best sheet music books out there, from some of the most influential composers of all time in order to inspire your next musical journey.
That is why today we are kicking off our spotlight focus and also our essentials guide to Mozart, with one of the all time greatest musicians to have ever walked the earth...Ludwig Van Beethoven.
Below we’ve partnered with our friends at Presto Music in order to bring you the very best of Beethoven, so whether you are a total beginner, seasoned player or even are looking for something a little different, we’ve got you covered for all of your essential Beethoven pieces!
To those not familiar with Beethoven’s works, he is widely regarded as the one of the greatest composers who ever lived. Beethoven’s work dominates a period of musical history as no one else before or since, his sound is traditionally associated as being rooted in the classical traditions of Joseph Haydn and Mozart, however his passion and enigmatic approach to performance, tone and sound has allowed his art to reach out to encompass an incredible level of the spirit of humanism.
In musical form he was a sensational innovator, widening the scope of sonata, symphony, concerto, and quartet and combined the worlds of vocal and instrumental music in a manner never before attempted. All of this however was also marked by a life full of woe and struggle against encroaching deafness. It was during this time that some of his most important works were composed when he was quite unable to hear.
Being one of the most famous and popular composers to have ever lived, many have tried to capture the joys of Beethoven in an accessible and endearing manner, whilst some of the difficulty of these pieces have been removed, the nostalgic elegance of them still shines through and their instantly recognisable melodies are still just as serene to hear.
As with all sheet music, a little theory and understanding how to read and interpret sheet music is required to play these pieces, however they offer many a fantastic introduction to bringing Beethoven’s exquisite sound into your home!
What better place to start than the Super Easy Songbook! This fun and welcoming series features accessible arrangements for piano, with simple right-hand melody, letter names inside each note, and basic left-hand chord diagrams, making it an ideal starting point for beginners.
As such, this book also contains all of the Beethoven classics such as: Choral Fantasy, Für Elise, Piano Sonata No. 14 (Moonlight), Symphony No. 9 ·Turkish March. And many more.
Following a similar tread is the likes of Beethoven for Beginning Piano Solo. For those looking to develop their playing technique, hand independence and begin experimenting with the basics of great key attack, this book is an ideal place to begin!
Beginners can start their piano playing in easy to follow arrangements, whilst perhaps a little more technical than the Super Easy Songbook, this book offers a still incredibly accessible introduction to Beethoven and his iconic pieces.
Need some more inspiration? Check out our guide to the top classical pianists of all time!
Intermediate - Early Advanced Pieces (G3-6?)
As we move into more intermediate pieces, we shift our attention to those who play between the Grade 3 to Grade 6 mark; these pieces offer a fun and rewarding challenge that still delivers an immensely sophisticated sound and appreciation for Beethoven’s nuances.
Talk about a dictionary of all things Beethoven! This comprehensive volume contains 134 pieces from Early Intermediate to Early Advanced level, including Beethoven's complete bagatelles, various dances, sonatinas, selected variation sets, and some of his most popular sonatas.
For anyone looking to improve both their expression and skill, working through this incredibly comprehensive book will take you from an average player to beginning to enter sophisticated advanced material.
It is also at this level that we are able to begin learning entire pieces and performances, so what better place to start than that of Beethoven’s most famous Sonata. Opus 27, No. 2. (or more commonly known as the Moonlight Sonata) is the first movement of Beethoven's famous Sonata and features some of the most iconic pieces of notation in musical history.
Included are historical notes about the work and the composer to understand both context and appreciation for the artist, as well as illustrations, and additional footnotes and performance suggestions within the score, which was carefully prepared from Beethoven's original autographed manuscript.
Another absolute classic from Beethoven that is both instantly recognised and appreciated across the world, being just 4 pages long, Peters Edition Of Für Elise By Beethoven offers a compact and straight to the point piece that captures some exceptional levels of nuance within the work.
Now including a CD with professional recordings of all the pieces, this sensational collection features pieces composed and arranged for solo piano by Beethoven, much like the other collection books, this book covers a range of Beethoven’s Adagios, Allegro’s, Minuet and Sonatas that will keep you coming back time and time again..
It's widely considered that Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas can be considered as the “New Testament” of music. This edition of Beethoven by Henle Verlag brings with it an exceptional coverage of Beethoven, covering not only some of his biggest and most famous compositions, but also covers the more “worldly” side of the composer, with dances, bagatelles, the unusual character piece “Lustig und traurig” (“Happy and sad”)
This book offers an ideal introduction to the many-faceted world of Beethoven’s sonatas, offering true appreciation to the composer.
Advanced/Professional Level Pieces (G7/8-Pro)
Within the advanced world of Beethoven, we truly do meet the cream of the crop in true piano playing. Expression with every note, incredible nuance and even better captivation of Beethoven in his purest sense.
All of the books below are certainly not for the faint of heart, but with them reap the rewards of being able to assimilate the prestige of one of the greatest composers of all time.
Beethoven’s 35 Piano Sonatas, brought to you in three pristine volumes. Bärenreiter’s edition of these incredible works is unparalleled in terms of its philological accuracy, has been edited by world-renowned Beethoven expert Jonathan Del Mar guaranteeing a musical text at the forefront of musicological scholarship.
Each volume is equipped with a table of contents including incipits of each sonata. Running titles with opus and movement numbers enable a quick identification of individual works and movements. An indispensable standard work at the cutting edge of Beethoven scholarship!
The Moonlight Sonata may be the most famous of all of Beethoven's piano sonatas, and one should think that all that can be said about this work has already been said. But far from it!
Beethoven continues to be interpreted to this day and even this sonata shows problems in the surviving musical text into which the new edition looks very meticulously. Is it a note-head or a staccato dot in bar 159 of the 3rd movement? This and other questions are answered in the edition and reasonably explained in the Critical Notes.
As a wonderful addition, this edition also contains remarks of Beethoven's pupil Carl Czerny concerning the performance practice which introduce us into the poetic way of thinking and to help encourage a highly imaginative interpretation.
Beethoven’s Grande Sonate in C major op. 53 is so critical in his history as marking his turn towards large-scale symphonic influenced piano works. Dedicated to Beethoven’s friend and patron Ferdinand, Count Waldstein, this iconic work has lost none of its magnetism. To this day it remains a pianistic challenge and a musical touchstone for every performer.
Based on the work from Jonathan Del Mar, currently one of the most renowned Beethoven scholars, performers can look forward to a musical text which is based on the latest research findings and where the fine engraving as well as practical page turns will facilitate the study of this demanding work.
Designed as being a comprehensive guide to the wonderful artist in his purest form, this volume contains all 21 sets of Beethoven's solo piano variations, including the popular 'Diabelli Variations' and 'Eroica Variations', all printed in immaculate detail and based on works for authoritative Breitkopf & Hartel edition. For any Beethoven fanatic, this 240 page book is a must have!
Just for fun!
Perhaps one of our favourite takes on Beethoven’s work! Beethoven Goes Jazz lets us see the artist in a whole new light, whilst he had the ability to create an entire musical universe from the most unassuming and minuscule motif, here we see familiar “Beethoven themes” are merged, liberated, shuffled, filtered and recombined with jazz harmonies, standard styles and rhythms.
All in all, this piece is highly fun, engaging and offers a truly unique take on some of the most incredible piano pieces to ever exist!
We hope you enjoyed this breakdown of Beethoven’s incredible works! To learn more about how to play these incredible pieces, or the kinds of instruments required to pull their immense detail, contact our experts today or visit our showrooms!