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The Piano Sonata: Beethoven and the Romantics


In this course, learners will review sonata form and learn how the piano sonata was taken to new heights by Ludwig van Beethoven. We’ll discover together how the generation that followed interpreted Beethoven’s achievements and put them into practice in their own unique ways. From there, we will explore the “War of the Romantics”: the variety of formal structures for Romantic sonatas (both traditional and progressive) and the major repertoire of this era. You’ll hear some of the important pianos of the time, and understand the differences between Viennese and English/French traditions of piano music.

This course was filmed at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, among other locations, to showcase the depth of the sonata repertoire and the instruments that contributed to its history.




4 weeks



U-M Credit Eligible



  • Matthew Bengtson

    Assistant Professor of Music, Piano Literature

    School of Music, Theatre & Dance