Beethoven Violin Sonata Nº 1 (Op 12 Nº 1): For Cello

This sonata is presented here in its original key. Playing virtuoso violin pieces in their original key is normally too difficult for the ordinary cellist, but “Classical Period” sonatas are, on the contrary, often quite playable in their original key. Of the 17 Mozart violin sonatas offered on this website, only two needed to be transposed down, and in all those cases the transposition was only by a minor third.

Like the “Spring Sonata“, this delightful Beethoven sonata probably finds itself near the borderline of what needs to be transposed down, but the effort required to play it in the higher register (original key) brings us technical prowess (fruits) that we would not obtain if we were to play it one fifth lower. And the fact that there is no need to rewrite (or relearn) the piano part is also an enormous advantage for both transcriber and accompanist.

Apart from the global transposition down by one octave and the revoicing of most of the chords, no notes (or octaves) have been changed for the Performance Versions. The only difference between the Easier Version and the Performance Versions is that for the Easier Version, the higher passages have been transposed down an additional octave.

As this transcription is in the original key, the piano sheet music is the same as for the original violin sonata and can be downloaded from If we want to practice/play this sonata with the piano but don’t have a pianist available then we can play along with Vincent Cheung, a fine young pianist who has posted his very clean playing of the piano part of this sonata (and of many other sonatas and pieces) on YouTube for anybody to use via his Musicarpet channel. He even kindly offers them in both a slower practice tempo and a faster performance tempo.

FIRST MOVEMENT: Allegro con brio

  1. Edited Performance Version
  2.     Clean Performance Version
  3.     Easier Version
  4.      Literal Transcription
  1. Engraving Files (XML)
Here are two play-along audio accompaniments for the first movement. The first is at a slower, practice tempo:



SECOND MOVEMENT: Theme and Variations

In all of the cellofun versions offered of this cello transcription, Variation II has been transposed down an additional octave as have also bars 74 and 76 in Variation III. The doublestops in bars 33, 34 and 89 have been revoiced with the lower note being transposed up an octave. In the Easier Version, most of the high passages have been brought down an additional octave into the neck region.

  1.  Edited Version
  2.     Clean Version
  3.      Easier Version
  4.     Literal Transcription
  1. Engraving Files (XML)

Here is a play-along audio accompaniment for this movement:


THIRD MOVEMENT: Rondo: Allegro

  1. Edited Performance Version
  2.        Clean Performance Version
  3.        Easier Version
  4.        Literal Transcription
  1. Engraving Files (XML)

Here are two audio play-along accompaniments, with thanks again to Vincent Cheung and his “musicarpet” YouTube channel. The first audio is at a slower practice tempo.