Arpeggione Sonata

The Sonata for Arpeggione and Piano in A minor, D. 821, was written by Franz Schubert in Vienna in November 1824. The sonata is the only substantial composition for the arpeggione (which was essentially a bowed guitar) extant today. The sonata was composed in November 1824, about a month after he had returned to Vienna from his second stay in Zseliz. It has been adapted to other string instruments, especially the cello.

Arpeggione Sonata
by Franz Schubert
Franz Schubert by Wilhelm August Rieder.jpeg
Franz Schubert by Wilhelm August Rieder, 1825
KeyA minor
CatalogueD. 821
Composed1824 (1824)
Published1871 (1871)


The piece was probably commissioned by Schubert's friend Vincenz Schuster, who was a virtuoso of the arpeggione, an instrument which had been invented only the previous year. By the time the sonata was published posthumously in 1871, the enthusiasm for the novelty of the arpeggione had long since vanished, together with the instrument itself.[1]


The work consists of three movements. A typical performance takes just over 20 minutes.

  1. Allegro moderato
  2. Adagio in E major
  3. Allegretto in A major

Performance historyEdit

Today, the piece is heard almost exclusively in transcriptions for cello and piano or viola and piano that were arranged after the posthumous publication, although versions that substitute other instruments—including double bass, flute, euphonium and clarinet for the arpeggione, or guitar or harp for the piano part—are also performed. Transcribers have attempted to address the problems posed by the smaller playing range of these alternative instruments, in comparison with the arpeggione, as well as the attendant modifications in articulation (4 versus 6 strings).

Notable arrangements include:

The work has been recorded in the original version by the following musicians:


  1. ^ see also: AQUINO, F. Avellar de. "Six-Stringed Virtuoso". The Strad Magazine, Harrow, Middlesex, UK, v. 109, n. 1297, p. 500-507, 1998. (on the Arpeggione and Schubert's Sonata)
  2. ^ Haylock, Julian (2011-09-29). "Schubert: Arpeggione Sonata in A minor D821 (arr. Tabakova). Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme op.33 (arr. Rysanov). Bruch: Romance in F major op.85". The Strad. Archived from the original on 2018-02-24. Retrieved 2018-02-23. Dobrinka Tabakova’s arrangement for viola and string orchestra of the Arpeggione Sonata...
  3. ^ "Disques – Pianoforte Ad Libitum". Pianoforte Ad Libitum – Centre International du Pianoforte (in French). 7 May 2019. Retrieved 1 September 2021.


  • Aquino, F. Avellar de. "Six-Stringed Virtuoso". in The Strad Magazine, Harrow, Middlesex, UK, v. 109, n. 1297, p. 500–507, May 1998. (Article about the Arpeggione and also on Schubert's Sonata)
  • Sadie, Stanley, ed., The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 16, 6th. ed., London: Macmillan Press Limited, 1980. s.v. “Schubert, Franz” by Maurice J. E. Brown.
  • Tree, Michael, “Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata.” The Strad Magazine, vol. 105, February 1994, p. 142. (Master-Class on the Sonata)

External linksEdit