Apparently even Beethoven was a bit puzzled and exasperated by its popularity in his own day : “Surely I’ve written better things.”
So why did it become so popular?

6 Responses to “Why Is “moonlight Sonata” So Famous?”

  • Richard:

    It’s simple beauty is quite captivating. As one who plays the piano I have to say that it’s not as easy to play this work as you may think.

  • Heidi:

    I believe the piece is famous is because it is accessible by beginning piano students. It is also used heavily in popular culture. you’ll hear it in movies, Tv shows and comercials. So its recognizable and people want to learn it. It creates an odd cycle. People recognize it so they want to play it, and it gets played alot so its recognizable. It’s like chopsticks or heart and soul. Anyone can walk up and learn those and they are well know.

  • del_icio:

    I have to say that the so-called ‘Moonlight’ Sonata (for Beethoven certainly didn’t give it that daft name) has now almost been ruined for me as it gets played SO much that its specialness has been diluted and cheapened. Yes, I think think it IS possible to have too much of a good thing - even Beethoven.

  • Bryan:

    Sometimes the simplest pieces of music are the ones the public enjoy the most; take Ravel’s Bolero as an example.
    Also, why is anything famous? Why is Beethoven so greatly revered where Salieri or Shostakovich are less so?
    Anyway, any piece that is in C-sharp minor always drags me in to listen; its just a great key! The presto is perhaps my favourite song of any composer (at least for now!), as it hints towards Beethovens great later works of power (and sometimes of great dissonance!)
    Anyway, I hope you don’t feel pressured into liking a song; everyone does, and should, have different tastes and like different songs. However, I think if anyone listens to the one song enough times, they will grow to like it.
    I hope this helps!!!!

  • TK:

    That’s Beethoven’s genius , creating wonderful ideas & harmonies out of the simplest music forms.
    We can say the reason of the great popularity of the Moonlight sonata , that it is not a heavy music , however contains very deep feelings and expressions , making it an easy tasteful piece , and easy for playing as well.

  • S.A:

    Just came across this and was compelled to answer. Am I too late…?

    I think it kind of depends on which movement you are talking about. Personally, I’ve found that many people who love the Moonlight Sonata are non classical listeners, who are mostly not even aware that the sonata has 3 movements. They just rave about the first, and don’t seem to know of the 2nd and 3rd’s existence. So much attention paid to the first, that the whole concept of ‘moonlight sonata’ has become rather popular.

    Why is the first movement so popular then?

    Personally, I feel that it is because of how simple it is to feel the emotions portrayed inside the music, without much need of interpretation and thought. Therefore, non classical music listeners and amateurs therefore start to like it, perhaps more than other pieces of equally good music, such as Pathetique/Tempest.

    It would be played in many places, such as commercials and movies, etc, making more pianists want to play it, as it appeals to the public taste, making it even more famous.

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Moonlight Piano Sonata Sheet Music