Fantasie in C major, Op. 17 - Robert Schumann

Fantasie in C major, Op. 17 - Robert Schumann is one of the most well known solo piano pieces written by the German composer. This work was composed in 1836 and is a three-movement musical form.

History and Release of The Fantasie in C Major, Op. 17

The original score for the Fantasie in C major, Op. 17 was published by the Haslinger publishing house in Vienna on November 15, 1837. The piece was then later published by the Breitkopf & Härtel publishing house in Leipzig on June 24, 1844. The Fantasie was dedicated to Schumann’s mentor, Hummel. Schumann finished the piece in only four weeks, and it was one of the first works Schumann dedicated to instrumental pianism.

Schumann also drew inspiration from the music of Franz Schubert and J.B. Cramer, particularly Cramers’s fantasy works in C major. The piece was also greatly influenced by Schubert's Quintet in A, and the general structure of the piece is similar to the structure of Schubert's works.

Simplified Analysis of The Composition

The Fantasie in C major, Op. 17 is a highly structured work with three main sections. The piece begins with a section of adagio, transitioning into a lively scherzo with fanfare motifs within the passages. Finally, it concludes with a slower section of adagio. The Fantasie has an overall effectiveness of rich modulation and beautiful but brief motives.

The piece is written in the standard sonata-allegro form, but its length and deep modulatory qualities make it stand out among other pieces of its type. This is particularly evident in the first section with the modulations to distant keys and the gradual introduction of the musical motives.

Popularity of The Piece

The Fantasie in C major, Op. 17 has become one of the most popular pieces written by Schumann, as it's accessible to both advanced and beginner pianists. Many consider this work to be one of the most impressive piano compositions of the Romantic period. Schumann’s music is well known for its expressive qualities and complex harmonic shifts, for his intentions to portray a wide range of emotions. This ever-changing emotional landscape makes The Fantasie in C major, Op. 17 a continuously engaging piece of music.

Another key factor contributing to the popularity of the piece is its rich melodic ideas and gently shifting dynamics. The piece constantly changes between loud and soft passages and between faster and slower tempos, also reflecting wide range of emotion. This makes it a highly attractive work for music lovers of all levels.


The Fantasie in C major, Op. 17 by Robert Schumann is an influential piece of the Romantic era, combining the technical mastery of other classical pieces with its own creative expression and emotional depth. Its accessible melodies, modulations and dynamics make this an appealing piece of music to piano players of all levels, while its structure of sonata-allegro form makes it an excellent introduction to the lyricism of Schumann’s work.

Publication date: 20. 02. 2023