I learned the first part of K.331 "Andante Grazioso", and I was moving to the first variation. However, I am finding very huge difficulties in learning it, especially when I compare it with Moonlight Sonata (first movement).

Why am I finding Beethoven's sonata easier than Mozart's?

I really thought it would be the other way, so is there any technical reason? I am not referring to the expressiveness of the piece, just the technical part.

3 Answers 3


Why did you think the Mozart should be technically easier than the Beethoven?

The Beethoven has simpler rhythm, slower tempo, and the left hand plays almost nothing.

The Mozart is faster, the way the different rhythms in each hand interlock with each other is more complicated, and the right hand is using a very different finger technique than the simple chord patterns in the Beethoven.

(But be warned, the Mozart doesn't get really difficult till variations 4 and 6...)

  • Well, maybe just heard this and thought it was also technically more difficult. Would you compare Moonlight Sonata’s difficultly with K.331 Theme being “on par”? I’m trying to see if Moonlight is something I can try technically.
    – senseiwa
    Oct 26, 2019 at 9:21

Why am I finding Beethoven's sonata easier than Mozart's?

Well, this isn't a very fair statement, given that you're actually referring to just the first movement of a sonata, and one which lays almost all the difficulty in the musical interpretation. If your question is about why it's easier to you from the technical point of view, I don't think you should think that you 'can play a Beethoven sonata while having huge difficulties with a Mozart one'.

  • The OP is indeed referring to the higher technical difficulty of that part of the Mozart sonata, not the expressive difficulty. While you say that almost all of that Mozart sonata movement's difficulty is expressive, please touch more on the technical difficulty it does have.
    – Dekkadeci
    Oct 20, 2019 at 7:27
  • 'While you say that almost all of that Mozart sonata movement's difficulty is expressive...'. That's the point: I'm not, I was writing about Beethoven's; hence the lack of point for comparison.
    – 89f3a1c
    Oct 20, 2019 at 13:37
  • Darn, I though you were referring to the Mozart sonata movement as the expressively difficult one because both movements in question are first movements. Please be less ambiguous when referring to the sonata movements.
    – Dekkadeci
    Oct 20, 2019 at 17:54

There are different kinds of difficulty. The Moonlight sonata first movement is technically quite easy to play. But to play it well, with the touch absolutely calibrated right for every note, is actually quite demanding. The third movement is technically much, much harder. This is the basis for a joke in the E F Benson books: the wannabe pianist heroine can play the first movement but the third is totally beyond her, so she gets out of playing it in an evening recital by saying it's more suited to the afternoon.

Andante Grazioso is somewhere between the two. There are some nasty little finger twisters in there for sure! Listen to Periaha play the trills in var 2, or the consecutive octaves that need to be smooth as glass, or the final movements light semiquavers and you'll see what I mean.

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