Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata rocks out

Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, composed in 1801 and published the following year, is among his most iconic compositions. But how would it sound on a rocking guitar rather than a quiet, subdued piano as we are accustomed to hear it?

GuitarWorld’s Jimmy Brown was inspired by David Gilmore on this video to produce a two guitar arrangement. One of the instruments takes on the task of playing the slow-moving chords that form the left hand part of Beethoven’s original. Meanwhile, the second guitar hammers out the meoldy with just the right amount of distortion to bring out the hard rock flavour. The video contains a section of the opening movement, up to the part where the arpeggios take over from the right hand for a brief period.

Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14 only got the nickname of Moonlight Sonata after the composer’s death. Romantic poet Ludwig Rellstab wrote a review of the piece during the 1830s in which he likened the first movement to a boat floating in the moonlight on Lake Lucerne in Switzerland.

For any guitarists trying to replicate what Brown is doing here, you can find more detailed instructions here, including a video on how he performs the left hand part.


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