- 01. Piano Songs: Mozart’s Turkish March
- 02. Beethoven’s Fur Elise
- 03. Piano Music: Mistral Gagnant by Renaud
- 04. Divenire by Ludovico Einaudi
- 05. Top Piano Tunes: Hit the Road Jack by Ray Charles
- 06. Hold the Line by Toto
- 07. Changes by Tupac
- 08. Piano Songs: If I Ain’t Got You by Alicia Keys
- 09. New Soul by Yael Naim
- 10. Someone Like You by Adele
- 11. Comptine d’un autre été l’après midi by Yann Tiersen
- 12. Piano Tunes: Imagine by John Lennon
- 13. River Flows in You by Yiruma
- 14. Bonus: Other Classical Pieces
- 15. Vocabulary
More and more Brits are taking to the stage.
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When you start learning to play the piano, you’ll soon want to play along with the songs you’ve heard on the radio, seen on the TV, or watched live musicians perform.
As Oscar Wilde said, “I don't play accurately-any one can play accurately- but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life.” Those who’ve just started or who are about to learn to play the piano want to enjoy the wonderful sounds this instrument can make as well as the wonderful compositions it can create.
Some songs are perfect for those starting out with the piano and during your first music lessons while others need to be studied in depth in order to do them justice.
Whether you’re playing a grand piano, an upright piano, a digital piano, a keyboard, or a synthesiser, there are plenty of different piano songs that you can learn to play.
Piano Songs: Mozart’s Turkish March
From the Piano Sonata No.11 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the Turkish March is a fine example of the famous composer’s talent.
I would bet that even if you don’t know it by name, you definitely know the tune.
It’s one of the most common classical pieces.
In terms of difficulty, you’re going to have to have taken a few classes and have a decent level before you can really attack this piece. You can easily find the sheet music online but you’ll need to be familiar with music theory in order to read it.
Beethoven’s Fur Elise
Just like Mozart’s Turkish March, Fur Elise also requires a certain level although it isn’t actually one of the most complicated classical piano pieces around.
This piece is part of music history and its very first notes are often taught to beginners learning to play the piano.
Beethoven was a piano virtuoso, a rare talent, and Fur Elise is arguably one of his most famous contributions to classical music. Just like the Turkish March, if you don’t know the name of the piece, you’ll definitely recognise it when you hear it.
If this isn't to your taste, you can always check out Moonlight Sonata, which is also one of the most beautiful piano pieces ever written.
Piano Music: Mistral Gagnant by Renaud
Let’s change things up a bit. After all, the piano isn’t just for classical music, there’s also popular piano music.
This song is regularly voted one of the most popular French songs of all time and its marvellous piano intro is absolutely timeless. It’s not chamber music but rather contemporary music. The combination of the piano and the melancholic lyrics help create the unconditional love that the French public feel for this piano song.
Plenty of other French artists such as Lara Fabian, Florent Pagny, Louane, and Jean Louis Aubert have covered this song.
Definitely a French classic!
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Divenire by Ludovico Einaudi
Ludovico Einaudi is an artist who loves composing and improvising.
I could have chosen other works such as Fly, Primavera, or Una Mattina but it always seems to be this piece that comes out on top.
As the slow tempo lures you in, you might feel that you’ve already heard this song before.
Top Piano Tunes: Hit the Road Jack by Ray Charles
Hit the Road Jack is definitely a different style to what we’ve seen before.
You can’t talk about piano tunes or jazz music without mentioning Ray Charles. This is probably his most famous song with its upbeat tempo and story of a wife and her good-for-nothing husband.
The song was actually written by Percy Mayfield in 1960. However, the Ray Charles version was recorded the following year and became a huge hit.
Hold the Line by Toto
This and Africa are probably the American rock group’s most popular songs.
While the piano part is quite quick, it’s rather accessible to beginners and those just starting out with the piano. You could start working on it from your very first lessons.
The most difficult part will be keeping up with the rhythm as you play one thing with your right hand and another with the left. For those who are tempted, you’ll easily find piano tabs and sheet music for it online.
Changes by Tupac
This should bring a smile to the face of anyone who loves rap! Whether you’re a fan of the genre or not, you should be familiar with the piano music that accompanies it.
This song was released posthumously in 1998. It covers issues of race, gang violence, and the ever-present drug problems in American ghettos.
Playing the tune will be probably beyond the abilities of a beginner but after a few lessons, you should be able to nail the intro.
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Piano Songs: If I Ain’t Got You by Alicia Keys
The R ‘n’ B artist Alicia Keys is a talented pianist. Her song If I Ain’t Got You came out in 2004 and contributed greatly to the uptake in the number of people playing the piano around the time.
The song also received a huge number of different prizes including the Grammy Award for Best Female R ‘n’ B Vocal Performance. The song covers topics such as the attitudes of those who don’t live for love but rather less noble pursuits such as money and power.
For those that don’t know the song, the piano in it is exquisite.
New Soul by Yael Naim
If you’re on the ball, you’ll recognise this from Apple ads towards the end of the 2000s. Piano lovers will probably already be familiar with Yael Naim.
The composition of the song comes after the artist experienced a long period of doubt and it marks a departure from her old way of thinking about the world and her music.
If you can release a song this happy in the middle of winter and becomes a hit, the success speaks for itself.
Someone Like You by Adele
Since this song’s been watched over a billion times on YouTube, it’s very likely that you’ll recognise the piano part, even if you’re not a huge fan of Adele herself.
In a similar vein, we could have also mentioned Skinny Love by Birdie.
Comptine d’un autre été l’après midi by Yann Tiersen
When we hear piano medleys, Yann Tiersen’s famous pieces is probably one of the most common ones to be included.
You could have equally added Valse d’Amélie but Comptine d’un autre été l’après midi is known the world over thanks to it appearing in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s film Amélie.
The film’s soundtrack sold over a million copies!
The melancholy of the piece is instantly recognisable from the very first notes. Yann Tiersen’s melodies are moving.
Piano Tunes: Imagine by John Lennon
The simple melody and sobering presence of the piano accompanied by the touching lyrics have made this song unforgettable.
Released in 1971, the song became an anthem of world peace. The lyrics are inspired by the poetry of Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s wife.
Most novice pianists should be able to play this and experienced pianists will absolutely love how effective it is in its simplicity.
River Flows in You by Yiruma
The Korean composer Yiruma is famous for this song.
Did you know that this song could have come sooner as fans requested that it be used for Bella’s Lullaby?
However, the production finally opted for a composition by Carter Burwell that was cheaper.
Finally, after the fourth Twilight film, Yiruma achieved the success that we know him for today. The song is interesting because it used slow-yet-energetic rhythms. There’s a real melancholy in this piece.
Bonus: Other Classical Pieces
We could also mention Le prélude de Bach as sung by Maurane. It’s a beautiful piece to play on the piano.
As for lovers of classical music, the following are fantastic choices for the piano.
For beginners, it’s a good idea to give them all a listen:
- Claude Debussy’s Clair de lune
- Chopin’s La nocturne Op. 9 No. 2
- Wagner’s Piano Sonata in B-flat Minor
- Franz Liszt’s La Campanella
- Brahm's Variations on a Theme by Schumann
- Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2
These should give you some idea of where to start with your piano playing when during your first lesson with a private piano tutor. Don't forget that you can always find piano sheet music and piano lessons online to help you if you're getting stuck with some of these piano classics.
Harmony, symphony, recital, etc.
Do you know what your musical arm from your musical elbow?
A composition devised for two instruments in three or four movements.
A sonata-style composition associated with an orchestra and a soloist.
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