You Can Play Great Piano Music
Are You Out of Practice on the Piano?
Perhaps you are one of those people who once learned to play piano but haven’t had time to sit down and practise for a few years? It’s not too late to pick it up again. The secret is to find pieces that give a lot of pleasure in return for just a few hours of practice. Then you’ll soon find yourself unable to do without your piano music!
Why not go straight to the greatest composers and their most beautiful pieces? Here is some great but not so difficult piano music from three different centuries, from Bach to Debussy, that you could use as a starting point for your personal piano revival:
Bach: Prelude in C major (BWV 846, from The Well-tempered Clavier)
This is a hypnotic piece of piano music, very simple but astonishingly beautiful. The pattern is the same in every measure, which makes it really easy to learn. The thing that might take some time is to find all the chords, but the progression is quite regular and logical. When you’ve read it through carefully a couple of times, you’ll start to feel that you’re in control. If you want to go on playing Bach, check out the Inventions or the French Suites.
Bach's C major prelude (ends at 1'57'') - Richter
Mozart: Fantasy in d minor
Mozart's D minor Fantasy is a real challenge, but an incredibly rewarding one. The improvisational character of the music makes it shift a lot from page to page, but within the different sections, there are many recurring, quite easy patterns. Don’t practise the whole thing at once: start with the introductory, broken chords, then try the other sections as your confidence grows. The scales running over the whole length of the keyboard are supposed to be really fast, of course, but just take them at the speed you can manage, and try to make them into a dramatic statement anyway.
Zoltan Kocsis Plays the d minor Fantasy
Chopin: Prelude No. 7 in A major (from Preludes, Op. 28)
Most of Chopin’s preludes are fairly difficult, but there are some that are quite easy to manage. The dreamy No. 7 in A major is one of them. Its slow, sweet 16 measures are like the tender memory of a waltz. If you have small hands, a valid version of the big chord of measure 12 (suggested by Chopin in a pupil’s copy) is left hand: f sharp/c sharp/a sharp (arpeggiated), right hand c sharp/e/a sharp/c sharp. Other preludes to look into are for example No. 4 in e minor and No. 15 in D flat major (Raindrop).
Chopin Competition Winner Plays 7th Prelude
Debussy: The Little Shepherd (from Children’s Corner)
A flute-like right hand solo introduces this charming piece. To make this music sound right, you will need a very delicate touch and a good control of the pedal. Also make sure you bring out all the little rhythmic details (dotted rhythms, triplets etc) to make the piece playful as well as tender. Would you like to try a more lively piece by Debussy, have a look at The Little Negro, a short, sparkling cake-walk that is really fun to play.
The Little Shepherd Played by Arturo Benedetti Michelangelo
Now, don’t let your instrument remain silent any longer! Go and refresh your mind with great music - one of the pieces above or something else that you know you would enjoy playing. Have fun and cherish your time in front of the piano!
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