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#1559546 - 11/17/10 10:12 AM Classical pieces ranked by difficulty?
Monco Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/31/10
Posts: 38
Is there a website that ranks classical pieces by difficulty? I'm a jazz pianist and I have limited experience with classical music (playing wise), but I do want to play some. Only, I don't know where to begin! There is so much stuff out there....
Right now I'm working on Mikrokosmos (Bartok), but so far that's not really interesting.

Thanks in advance.

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#1559558 - 11/17/10 10:39 AM Re: Classical pieces ranked by difficulty? [Re: Monco]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 21704
Loc: New York City
I donlt know of a website for all classical pieces, but I think the book The Pianist's Repertoire by Hinson gives a difficulty rank for most of the standard literature.

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#1559584 - 11/17/10 12:11 PM Re: Classical pieces ranked by difficulty? [Re: Monco]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1612
Just go to youtube, listen to some pieces. Pick the one that you like, and buy the music, then play.

If you know how to play piano already, you can assess whether it is hard or not for you.

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#1559599 - 11/17/10 12:52 PM Re: Classical pieces ranked by difficulty? [Re: Monco]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
Guide to the Pianist's Repertoire
Maurice Hinson

Anything very obscure or very new will not be in there, but all the big names of the past are laid out for you: listed by composer, with notes about the pieces and difficulty ratings of Easy, Intermediate, Moderately Difficult, and Difficult. My copy of this book, second edition, is over 800 pages long and certainly covers a huge amount of repertoire.




Here is Hinson's approximate guide to the difficulty ratings used in his book:

Easy:
Bach, Anna Magdalena Notebook
Leopold Mozart, Notebook for Wolfgang
Schumann, easier parts of Album for the Young
Bartok, Mikrokosmos books 1 and 2


Intermediate:
Bach, 12 Little Preludes & Fugues
Beethoven, Ecossaises
Mendelssohn, Children's Pieces Op. 72
Bartok, Romanian Folk Dances 1-5

Moderately Difficult:
Bach, French Suites & English Suites
Mozart, Sonatas
Brahms, Rhapsody Op 79 #2
Debussy, La Soiree dans Grenade

Difficult:
Bach, Partitas
Beethoven, Sonata Op. 57
Chopin, Etudes
Barber, Sonata



___________________________________________________________


Another useful option for you is the books put out by music exam organizations. Two of the biggest ones are ABRSM in the UK and RCM in Canada, I'm sure there are similar things in the US. Some of them publish books of music, and all of them publish a graded list ("Syllabus") of what they expect for their exams. You don't have to be a music teacher - as a student you can just buy or download a syllabus from any one of these organizations, and use that list as a shopping guide for classical music.
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#1559691 - 11/17/10 04:30 PM Re: Classical pieces ranked by difficulty? [Re: Monco]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13837
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Jane Magrath's book is standard, and a bit more detailed than Hinson's, which focuses on more advanced literature. (Magrath's is geared more towards the intermediate levels.)
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#1559695 - 11/17/10 04:48 PM Re: Classical pieces ranked by difficulty? [Re: Monco]
Monco Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/31/10
Posts: 38
Thank you for those book recommendations. I forgot to mention that my favorite composer is Debussy, but it seems like mose of his work is pretty advanced.

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#1559716 - 11/17/10 05:32 PM Re: Classical pieces ranked by difficulty? [Re: Monco]
Carey Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 7863
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: Monco
Thank you for those book recommendations. I forgot to mention that my favorite composer is Debussy, but it seems like mose of his work is pretty advanced.


Monco - Take a look at Debussy's Arabesque #1, Reverie or Clair de lune. These shouldn't be out of your reach.


Edited by carey (11/17/10 05:33 PM)
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#1559737 - 11/17/10 05:58 PM Re: Classical pieces ranked by difficulty? [Re: Monco]
FreddyChopin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/10
Posts: 118
Loc: The Hague - Netherlands
Just buy "Suite Bergamasque" and have fun learning it!
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#1559763 - 11/17/10 06:34 PM Re: Classical pieces ranked by difficulty? [Re: Monco]
FreddyChopin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/10
Posts: 118
Loc: The Hague - Netherlands
Here is a grading list of Debussy found on another forum:

Early Intermediate:
Reverie
Pour le piano 2 - Sarabande
Images I 2 - Hommage a Rameau
Images II 3 - Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut
D’un cahier d’esquisses
Arabesque 1

Late intermediate:
Estampes 2 - Soirees dans Grenade
Suite Bergamasque 1 - Prelude
Suite Bergamasque 3 - Clair de lune
Suite Bergamasque 2 - Menuet
Mazurka
Valse Romantique
Ballade
Arabesque 2
Danse
Masques
Suite Bergamasque 4 - Passepied

Early Advanced:
Estampes 1 - Pagodes
Images I 1 - Reflets dans l'eau
Images II 1 - Cloches a travers les feuilles
Pour le piano 1 - Prelude
Estampes 3 - Jardins sous la pluie

Late advanced :
Images I 3 - Mouvement
Images II 3 - Poissons d'orL'isle joyeuse
Pour le piano 3 - Toccata

success!
_________________________


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#1559793 - 11/17/10 07:12 PM Re: Classical pieces ranked by difficulty? [Re: Monco]
dolce sfogato Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2829
here's my list of Claude Achille's pianoworks arranged in order of difficulty: études: horribly hard, the rest: easier.
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#1563082 - 11/23/10 06:42 PM Re: Classical pieces ranked by difficulty? [Re: Monco]
Karisofia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 201
Loc: Wisconsin
When looking for appropriate music for my students, I often consult exam syllabi. They give me a good "jumping off point." There is one available online here.

If you love Debussy, you might consider Les Petites Images and Les Petites Impressions by Jennifer Linn (publ. Hal Leonard). She wrote them to help students work into the harder French music. Very fun pieces.
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#1563097 - 11/23/10 07:23 PM Re: Classical pieces ranked by difficulty? [Re: FreddyChopin]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 21704
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: FreddyChopin
Here is a grading list of Debussy found on another forum:

Early Intermediate:
Reverie
Pour le piano 2 - Sarabande
Images I 2 - Hommage a Rameau
Images II 3 - Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut
D’un cahier d’esquisses
Arabesque 1

Late intermediate:
Estampes 2 - Soirees dans Grenade
Suite Bergamasque 1 - Prelude
Suite Bergamasque 3 - Clair de lune
Suite Bergamasque 2 - Menuet
Mazurka
Valse Romantique
Ballade
Arabesque 2
Danse
Masques
Suite Bergamasque 4 - Passepied

Early Advanced:
Estampes 1 - Pagodes
Images I 1 - Reflets dans l'eau
Images II 1 - Cloches a travers les feuilles
Pour le piano 1 - Prelude
Estampes 3 - Jardins sous la pluie

Late advanced :
Images I 3 - Mouvement
Images II 3 - Poissons d'orL'isle joyeuse
Pour le piano 3 - Toccata

success!
IMO a very poor list both in terms of it's use of words like "intermediate" and great inconsistency in difficulty of the pieces in each group.

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#1563106 - 11/23/10 07:36 PM Re: Classical pieces ranked by difficulty? [Re: Monco]
Bart Kinlein Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 715
Loc: Maryland
On the web, check out

Graded pieces
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Yahama CVP-401
Will somone get my wife off the Steinway so I can play it!

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#1563107 - 11/23/10 07:36 PM Re: Classical pieces ranked by difficulty? [Re: pianoloverus]
PaulaPiano34 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/16/10
Posts: 1217
I find reflets dans l'eau harder than the toccata (just my opinion).

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