Piano Listening Guide

This listening guide is designed as an introduction to classical piano literature and covers only a few of the standards in piano music by the more popular composers. These are primarily solo pieces with the exception of the piano concertos. Chamber music has been omitted. In many cases the list includes genres such as “sonatas” or “waltzes,” in which the composer wrote many of them, such as Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas. Some of the more popularly performed of those genres are given in parentheses.

Most of these works can be found on YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, or the Petrucci Music Library.

 

Chopin

  • Etudes (“Revolutionary Etude,” “Winter Wind Etude”)
  • Preludes (“Raindrop Prelude”)
  • Polonaises (“Military Polonaise”)
  • Waltzes (“Minute Waltz”)
  • Concertos No. 1 & 2 (The second movement of Piano Concerto No. 2 is popular, however, No. 1 is more popular in its entirety)
  • Nocturnes (Op. 9, No. 2 in E-flat major)
  • Ballades (Ballade in G minor)
  • Impromptus
  • Scherzos (Scherzo in B-flat minor)

Bach, J.S.

  • Preludes & Fugues fromĀ The Well Tempered Clavier
  • Inventions
  • Italian Concerto

Beethoven

  • Piano sonatas (“Moonlight,” “Pathetique,” “Waldstein”)

Brahms

  • Impromptus
  • Piano Concerto No. 1 & 2

Debussy

  • Claire de lune
  • Arabesque

Gershwin

  • Rhapsody in Blue

Grieg

  • Peer Gynt Suite (arranged for piano – “Morning,” “In the Hall of the Mountain King”)
  • Puck
  • Piano Concerto in A minor

Haydn

  • Piano sonatas

Joplin

  • Piano rags (“Entertainer,” “Maple Leaf Rag”)

Mendelssohn

  • Songs Without Words
  • Piano concertos

W.A. Mozart

  • Piano concertos (Piano Concerto No. 21, “Elvira Madigan”)
  • Piano sonatas (Sonata in C, K330, Sonata in A, K331)

Mussorgsky

  • Pictures at an Exhibition

Prokofiev

  • Piano concertos
  • Piano sonatas
  • Dance of the Nights

Rachmaninoff

  • Preludes (Prelude in C-sharp minor – “Bells of Moscow”)
  • Etudes-tableux
  • Piano Concertos

Saint-Saens

  • Carnival of the Animals
  • Piano Concertos

Scarlatti

  • Sonatas

Schubert

  • Impromptus
  • Piano Sonatas

Schumann

  • Fantasy Pieces (Fantasiestucke)
  • Scenes from Childhood (Kinderszenen)