Many piano players bemoan the fact that they would love to play Beethoven’s gorgeous Moonlight Sonata, except for the fact that Beethoven wrote it in C# minor, which has 4 sharps 🤦🏽. That just seems like too much to take on for most of us. So I took up the challenge and transposed the entire first movement to E minor.
At first I tried transposing it to D minor, but then realized that if I moved it a bit higher, I could avoid moving the right hand into the bass clef here and there, which pianists find confusing. As a result, some of the notes are very low on the treble staff, so feel free to write the letter names next to (not above or below) the notes you haven’t yet learned. Note that this is not a simplified arrangement. All of the original notes are present, I just made it a bit easier to read and play.
(Click here if you would like to read about how Beethoven’s Sonata quasi una Fantasia – “Sonata in the manner of a fantasy” – became known as the Moonlight Sonata.)
You will also notice that I made the notes a bit bigger than the original; the result is that it is 6 pages instead of 4. Sorry about that! You can tape them together and fold them into a book. I like to spread out the first 4 pages on my music stand, then have only one page turn to the last 2 pages.
I have posted the first 3 pages today, and below I demonstrate the first 3 pages in a Youtube video. Remember that the fingering I wrote is just a suggestion, mostly taken from the original. If you find a fingering you like better, be sure to cross mine out and write yours in. I will post pages 4-6 (for free) next month; be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it!
*Click to print: MOONLIGHT SONATA in E minor*
* My sheet music is only available for free for a year. So print it today! *
Click below to print: The ORIGINAL Moonlight Sonata (for the purist!)
How is your summer going so far? Have you been able to get yourself to the bench to play your piano? It’s not too late to start a mid-summer challenge to play the Moonlight Sonata in E minor. Remember, playing the piano is one of the best ways to boost your brain function, and doing something creative like playing a beautiful piece has also been shown to promote good health and a sense of well-being and to lower stress. Hope you enjoy playing the first half, and be sure to subscribe so that you get an email when the second half is available in August (for free of course– every month I give away free sheet music, and never charge or spam you). Leave a comment and let us know how you’re doing with this piece, or tell us what else you are playing. Are you struggling with a piece or not understanding something in your music? We invite piano-related comments and questions any time!
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6 Replies to “July Free Sheet Music: Moonlight Sonata (transposed to E minor!)”
Thank you for this sheet music. I have students who will be so happy with a chance to play the Moonlight Sonata!
Fantastic! Thanks so much, I really appreciate your encouragement Joost!
LOVE the bigger notes! I’m still in reading glasses, putting off getting prescription
lenses that actually work for me. I just finished working through my RH alone. Before I started on LH, I had to stop and message you with a big, giant THANK YOU for this! You do amazing work. xo
Mary Ellen Labrecque
Thank you so much Mary Ellen!I’m so glad to hear that you appreciate the larger notes. It was a tough decision, increasing the pages like that, but I felt that the original was so difficult to read, it was worth the two extra pages. I’m glad you agree! Happy July 4th and I hope you enjoy playing the piece! Next month you’ll get part 2!
Thank you Gail! I have three students that will benefit from this!
Yay that’s great! I hope they enjoy playing it!