Evaluating the Innovative Fantasia Concept in Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, Op. 27 “Sonata Quasi Una Fantasia”

Mario Santoso, Jacklyn Laudiana


Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas are considered seminal works in Western music history as they represent perhaps more clearly than any other body of works the innovative processes that are at the core of Beethoven’s creativity as described by American musicologist Stewart Gordon. The 32 sonatas are so popular among scholars and pianists that each of them features unique innovations that are uncommonly observed by previous composers. The differences between numbers are extreme, not only just between Opus number but also within Opus number; as a result, the impact of these works upon the nineteenth century was so immediate that they quickly challenged composers to have a new standard of sonata writing by means of redefining, transforming, and elevating the genre. One of the most original works of the 32 sonatas is both numbers of Op. 27, marked “sonata quasi una fantasia” by the composer himself, in which there were no known composers who had written similarly in combining the concepts of fantasia and sonata. The fantasia concept in these two works is not expressed as common fantasia in the previous historical eras – a highly imitative contrapuntal work with many sections; Beethoven, instead, implies a new fantasia concept in Op. 27 by merging the two concepts together – one being so free and sectional, while the other being rigid in structure – into such “perfect marriage,” resulting in such original works, which became an immediate impact to the “romantic” style and its composers.


Beethoven; Sonatas Op. 27; fantasia; sonata; sonata quasi una fantasia; structural unity.

Full Text:



Cooper, B. (1996). The Beethoven Compendium: A Guide to Beethoven’s Life and Music. London: Thames & Hudson.

Giulietta Guicciardi (1784-1856), Beethoven and Moonlight Sonata. (2013, March 13). Classic FM. Retrieved September 16, 2022, from https://www.classicfm.com/composers/beethoven/guides/beethovens-friends-giulietta-guicciardi-1784-1856/

Gillespie, J. (1965). Five Centuries of Keyboard Literature. Belmont: Wadsworth Pubishing.

Gordon, S. (1996). A History of Keyboard Literature. Belmont: Thomas Learning.

Gordon, S. (2017). Beethoven’s 32 Piano Sonatas: A Handbook for Performers. New York: Oxford University Press.

Jones, T. (1999). Beethoven: The Moonlight and Other Sonatas, Op. 27 and Op. 31. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Matthews, D. (1972). Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms. In Dennis Matthews, Keyboard Music (p. 168).

Newman, W. (1982). The Sonata in the Classic Era. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Rosen, C. (1980). Sonata Forms. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2022 Mario Santoso, Jacklyn Laudiana

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Jurusan Seni Musik | Universitas Pelita Harapan | Lippo Karawaci, Tangerang | 15811 | Tel 021 5460901 | Fax 021 5460910