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#1774369 - 10/20/11 09:10 PM Beginner Classical Piano Pieces Suggestions
Jaiburn Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/10/11
Posts: 13
So I have been given the books Library of Easy Piano Classics vol 1 & 2.

I don't really know much about classical music/where to start, but I'd like some nice songs to compliment my method book.
So some suggestions on the normal songs that beginners learn when starting classical piano would be great.

Just to give you an idea of my level I'm about 1/3 way through Alfred's Basic Adult book 2.

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#1774377 - 10/20/11 09:23 PM Re: Beginner Classical Piano Pieces Suggestions [Re: Jaiburn]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2333
Loc: Virginia, USA
Although I don't have that book I have a couple of comments on it that might help.

  • The pieces in that book are not the original versions. In some cases they are simplified; in other cases they are arrangements of songs or pieces not originally for piano. I don't say that to denigrate them, just to point that out so you don't get confused later.
  • The pieces aren't that easy (at least looking at the pages available on the Amazon preview). You will have to work at them quite hard (but that's OK, that's part of learning) so just pick ones you like!


If you find them too difficult or are more interested in playing simpler classical pieces, in their original form, you might want a different anthology.
_________________________
  • Liszt - Liebesträume No. 3, S541
  • Bartók - Romanian Folk Dances, Sz. 56
    My Hungarian Period wink

Kawai K3

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#1774424 - 10/20/11 11:40 PM Re: Beginner Classical Piano Pieces Suggestions [Re: Jaiburn]
Plowboy Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2173
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA
Look for Keith Snell's Piano Repertoire series. Plenty of choices starting at very easy.

Joy of First Classics by Denes Agay is very good, IMHO.

Daniel Gootlieb Turk has a collection of pieces for beginners.

I never looked at them, but Bartok's Mikrokosmos is for beginners.

After you get a few fundamentals down, then you should have a go at the Notebokk for Anna Magdalena Bach.
_________________________
Gary Schenk

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#1774432 - 10/21/11 12:04 AM Re: Beginner Classical Piano Pieces Suggestions [Re: Jaiburn]
findingnemo2010 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/09
Posts: 1491
classical music is the way to go but those easy pieces aren't the real thing. i would start with some bach minuet in g maybe and go from there. theres alota stuff out there.
_________________________
music to me is kind of like putting together pieces of a puzzle
i call it the paino because its where i put all my pain

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#1774869 - 10/21/11 08:38 PM Re: Beginner Classical Piano Pieces Suggestions [Re: Jaiburn]
Jaiburn Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/10/11
Posts: 13
I'm aware these are not original pieces, and some are easier than others, that's why I've come here for suggestions on what to pick (also I'm not familiar with classical music, trying to branch out from the pop that I like for a bit of variety). I've been given these as a gift, so I figure I might as well use them, so recommendation on beginner songs would still be appreciated.

I have however been thinking about getting a graded classic book to get me started.
The 2 I'm looking at are:
Masterwork Classics (I understand these are pretty similar to the Keith Snell series, and are available locally in Australia)
The Joy of First Piano Classics

Any recommendations on which one would be better?

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#1774905 - 10/21/11 10:30 PM Re: Beginner Classical Piano Pieces Suggestions [Re: Jaiburn]
mom3gram Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/08
Posts: 1129
Loc: New Jersey
I have the Masterwork Classics, and I really like it. It get's your hands working together, and the simple pieces have a nice sound to them.

The Joy of First Piano Classics would probably be good also - but...I have one of the "Joy of...." books by Denes Agay and although I like the pieces, the binding of the book isn't very good and eventually the pages start coming loose. Just something to think about if that will bother you.

joe84's suggestion of Minuet in G is a good one too. It's rated a little higher than the pieces in the first Masterwork Classics or Snell books, but I'm working on it now and it isn't that bad.
_________________________
mom3gram

ALFRED'S ADULT BOOK 1 GRADUATE


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#1774963 - 10/22/11 01:26 AM Re: Beginner Classical Piano Pieces Suggestions [Re: mom3gram]
cubop Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 28 2012


Registered: 12/17/10
Posts: 368
Loc: Norway
Go for the really good stuff. All of Bachs compositions can be downloaded for free on the Net in PDF. No need to buy books. Starting with the G major or G minor menuet could be a good idea. There are lots of good learning stuff on both on Youtube. The Inventions are a bit more advanced, but should be possible on your level.

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#1775192 - 10/22/11 02:46 PM Re: Beginner Classical Piano Pieces Suggestions [Re: Jaiburn]
A Rebours Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/05/09
Posts: 220
Originally Posted By: Jaiburn


I have however been thinking about getting a graded classic book to get me started.

The 2 I'm looking at are:
Masterwork Classics (I understand these are pretty similar to the Keith Snell series, and are available locally in Australia)

Any recommendations on which one would be better?


Either Magrath's Masterwork Classics or Snell would be fine. I've worked out of both. Magrath will tell you what technical skill you will be learning with each piece. If you can get the Practice and Performance books that go with Magrath (up to level 6, I think) you will get an in-depth analysis and guidance on how to practice each piece in the repertoire book. The other nice thing about Magrath is that each of her books comes with a CD so you can hear the pieces played. I think the Magrath series is a better value since you get the CD with it.

Snell does have CDs for each level but you have to buy them separately and here in the US they cost around $13-$14 each.

AR
_________________________
Sauter 122 Masterclass (M-Line)

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#1775916 - 10/23/11 08:56 PM Re: Beginner Classical Piano Pieces Suggestions [Re: Jaiburn]
Jaiburn Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/10/11
Posts: 13
Thanks for all the replies everyone.

Ok so I ended up buying the Masterwork Classics books level 1-2 and 3, mainly because they come with the CDs, have less books, and are available locally. I know a lot of these pieces are probably available online for free, but I like the idea of a graded book that goes through pieces from easy to hard.

The practice and performance books aren't available here, so I'd have to order them from the US if I wanted them (which involves time + shipping costs). Are they worth it, what does guidance on how to practice each piece actually mean?

Also how did people go about using this book. Did you polish all the pieces, or only some? Any pieces you'd particularly recommend to polish?

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#1775934 - 10/23/11 10:07 PM Re: Beginner Classical Piano Pieces Suggestions [Re: Jaiburn]
mom3gram Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/08
Posts: 1129
Loc: New Jersey
The practice and performance books are somewhat helpful (to me), but they are probably not helpful enough to justify paying overseas postage on.

As for which pieces to polish, etc. There is a thread on here somewhere called "After Alfred 1 am I ready for a repertoire book?" in which one of the teachers from the teacher forum discusses the early repertoire books, including Masterwork Classics. He discusses throw-away pieces (learn quickly and discard), and polishing pieces, and which ones are worth polishing. It's a worthwhile thread to read if you can find it.

I have learned about half of the ones in Book 1-2, but I don't think I have "polished" any of them completely. As I learn a new one, I review all the previous ones.
_________________________
mom3gram

ALFRED'S ADULT BOOK 1 GRADUATE


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#1775944 - 10/23/11 10:26 PM Re: Beginner Classical Piano Pieces Suggestions [Re: mom3gram]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2333
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: mom3gram
As for which pieces to polish, etc. There is a thread on here somewhere called "After Alfred 1 am I ready for a repertoire book?" in which one of the teachers from the teacher forum discusses the early repertoire books, including Masterwork Classics. He discusses throw-away pieces (learn quickly and discard), and polishing pieces, and which ones are worth polishing. It's a worthwhile thread to read if you can find it.


After Alfred 1 ...
_________________________
  • Liszt - Liebesträume No. 3, S541
  • Bartók - Romanian Folk Dances, Sz. 56
    My Hungarian Period wink

Kawai K3

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#1775970 - 10/23/11 11:21 PM Re: Beginner Classical Piano Pieces Suggestions [Re: Jaiburn]
Jaiburn Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/10/11
Posts: 13
Thanks for that, lots of interesting points there. Unfortunately the teacher only seems to go through the suggested pieces for the snell book frown

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#1776008 - 10/24/11 01:11 AM Re: Beginner Classical Piano Pieces Suggestions [Re: Jaiburn]
bluebilly Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/10
Posts: 418
Loc: England
Two more useful resources.

Burgmuller Op. 100

G Major Theory

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#1776009 - 10/24/11 01:22 AM Re: Beginner Classical Piano Pieces Suggestions [Re: Jaiburn]
SimplyAmy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/23/11
Posts: 4
I started piano in February, as a brand new adult beginner (age 49!). I'm learning Bach's Prelude in C from "Well Tempered Clavier." It is such a lovely piece. I've got it all memorized through the arpeggio portion, working to get the last bit smoothed out before working on the ending.

I downloaded the music from "flutetunes.com" (I confess: I can only read treble clef), and also got an assist from webpianoteacher.com. I do take real piano lessons weekly also with a teacher who has an MA in piano pedagogy and teaches using the "simply music" method. She's been great in helping me learn this piece--generally, she works me through several measures, and I work on those all week along with other stuff. I downloaded the flute score and looked at webpianoteacher.com because I want more before the next lesson. This piece isn't part of the Simply Music curriculum at this point (I'm on "Level 4")--I just wanted to play it after seeing the movie "Baghdad Cafe". I highly recommend this piece!!!

Amy

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#1776044 - 10/24/11 04:46 AM Re: Beginner Classical Piano Pieces Suggestions [Re: Jaiburn]
Eglantine Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 01 2013


Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 804
Loc: Another Country
Hey Amy, snap! I've also been learning the Prelude in C this summer. Isn't it lovely?

A good follow-on for the Bach Prelude in C (BWV 846) is Bach's Prelude for Lute (BWV 999), which can be found online at the usual free sheet music websites and in several Bach 'little prelude' collections.

It has a similar structure to the Prelude in C (arpeggiated chords) which means you don't have to think about two things (left hand and right hand) at *exactly* the same moment. I think this makes a good stepping stone to the idea of RH and LH doing different things at exactly the same moment. (It certainly helped me, as I'd forgotten entirely how to read and interpret the bass clef notes, and has to re-learn this summer.) It's slightly more difficult than the Prelude in C, but I think only slightly: the key is C minor, but once you've got the few black notes you need to play, into your head/hands, that's it. (I memorised this piece as I learned it, so didn't have to keep referring back to the sheet music.)

And the piece is really very beautiful: invariably others say to me 'what is that piece? / I'm going to learn that next' when they hear it. And it's not so well-known as some others, so it's then something you have that's a little special in your repertoire.

And as with so much of Bach's music, it sounds good at a whole range of speeds.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXfFMlxV53M&feature=related
_________________________
Currently working on: F. Couperin - Preludes & Sweelinck - Fantasia Chromatica
J.S. Bach, Einaudi, Purcell, Froberger, Croft, Blow, Frescobaldi, Glass, Couperin
1930s upright (piano) & single manual William Foster (harpsichord)


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#1776126 - 10/24/11 09:26 AM Re: Beginner Classical Piano Pieces Suggestions [Re: Jaiburn]
thurisaz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/11
Posts: 73
Loc: Finland
I picked up the Prelude for Lute (BWV 999) on Eglantine's suggestion and have been thoroughly enjoying it; it's definitely a good follow-up to BWV 846 and I heartily recommend it. I've sight-read through it (slowly at the piano) a couple of times and have also been studying the score away from the piano. I've actually managed to resist listening to any recordings so far; for once, I would like to play through it completely myself before knowing what it's "supposed" to sound like or being influenced by someone else.

It's also been enjoyable to try to analyze the score and understand it. I 've annotated the arpeggiated chord in each bar, so I could see the progression to the key change (in bar 11) quite nicely. I can't figure out whether the new key is G major or minor, though; it seems to have characteristics of both (ie, both F# and Bb,Eb). I like the idea of changing into an ambiguous kind of G, but I suspect that I'm missing something and that's not actually the case. Can anyone shed some light on what's going on here?


Edited by thurisaz (10/24/11 09:27 AM)
_________________________
Yamaha Arius YDP-161

Bach Prelude in C (BWV 846)
Petzold Minuet in G minor (BWV Anh 115)
Beethoven Moonlight Sonata, first movement
Working on: Alfred's Adult Piano Level 2, Satie Gymnopedie N. 1

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#1776316 - 10/24/11 03:21 PM Re: Beginner Classical Piano Pieces Suggestions [Re: Eglantine]
SimplyAmy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/23/11
Posts: 4
Thank you! That is lovely! Methinks it will be next on my list!

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#1776485 - 10/24/11 07:21 PM Re: Beginner Classical Piano Pieces Suggestions [Re: thurisaz]
PhilzPiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/09
Posts: 112
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: thurisaz
I picked up the Prelude for Lute (BWV 999) on Eglantine's suggestion and have been thoroughly enjoying it;


I love this piece too. It featured in the movie The French Lieutenant's Woman

French Lieutenant's Woman

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#1776738 - 10/25/11 04:50 AM Re: Beginner Classical Piano Pieces Suggestions [Re: thurisaz]
Eglantine Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 01 2013


Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 804
Loc: Another Country
Originally Posted By: thurisaz


It's also been enjoyable to try to analyze the score and understand it. I 've annotated the arpeggiated chord in each bar, so I could see the progression to the key change (in bar 11) quite nicely. I can't figure out whether the new key is G major or minor, though; it seems to have characteristics of both (ie, both F# and Bb,Eb). I like the idea of changing into an ambiguous kind of G, but I suspect that I'm missing something and that's not actually the case. Can anyone shed some light on what's going on here?


Looks like G minor to me: Bb, Eb, the A has changed from flat to natural throughout, plus there's the accidental F# throughout. Until bar 23...

The piece ends in G major though. And there's perhaps some D minor around bars 23-25??



Edited by Eglantine (10/25/11 05:45 AM)
Edit Reason: Added info
_________________________
Currently working on: F. Couperin - Preludes & Sweelinck - Fantasia Chromatica
J.S. Bach, Einaudi, Purcell, Froberger, Croft, Blow, Frescobaldi, Glass, Couperin
1930s upright (piano) & single manual William Foster (harpsichord)


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#1776776 - 10/25/11 08:42 AM Re: Beginner Classical Piano Pieces Suggestions [Re: Eglantine]
thurisaz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/11
Posts: 73
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: Eglantine

Looks like G minor to me: Bb, Eb, the A has changed from flat to natural throughout, plus there's the accidental F# throughout. Until bar 23...


But G minor shouldn't have an F#, which is why I'm confused. G minor is Bb, Eb; G major is F#. This piece has elements of both, even in the same bar (eg, bar 11). Is there a reason to call this G minor (with F# accidentals) rather than G major (with Bb,Eb accidentals)? That's the ambiguity that confuses me.

Originally Posted By: Eglantine

The piece ends in G major though. And there's perhaps some D minor around bars 23-25??


I agree that the piece ends in G major; the second to last measure and the final chord are both G major. The previous measures, though, have the same kind of ambiguity I mentioned above -- measures 40-41 both have and Eb and an F# in them. As I said, I kind of like the idea of this "ambivalent/mixed" key which finally resolves to G major, but I wonder if I'm not wrong somehow.

I did notice the change to D in bars 23-25, but I have the same trouble here as above. The C# makes it look like D major while the Bb (and E natural) would make it D minor. I didn't want to mention it in my last post because I thought it would be better to sort out one thing at a time.
_________________________
Yamaha Arius YDP-161

Bach Prelude in C (BWV 846)
Petzold Minuet in G minor (BWV Anh 115)
Beethoven Moonlight Sonata, first movement
Working on: Alfred's Adult Piano Level 2, Satie Gymnopedie N. 1

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#1776815 - 10/25/11 10:14 AM Re: Beginner Classical Piano Pieces Suggestions [Re: Jaiburn]
thurisaz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/11
Posts: 73
Loc: Finland
After a bit of digging around, I can answer my own question: the change is to the harmonic minor of G, not the natural minor. The natural minor has a flattened 3rd, 6th and 7th degree, giving Bb & Eb in the key of G; the harmonic minor is the same, but with a raised 7th degree (so Bb, Eb & F# in G). One webpage I found pointed out that the raised 7th can function as a leading tone (which is where the similarity with the major scale comes in). Also, according to wikipedia:

Quote:

[M]inor mode compositions of the common practice period frequently raise the seventh scale degree by a semitone to strengthen the cadences, and in conjunction also raise the sixth scale degree by a semitone to avoid the awkward interval of an augmented second. This is particularly true of vocal music (Jones 1974, 29).


I'm glad to have figured that out -- I feel like I learned something in the process. It has also reminded me that I want to spend some time playing a few natural, harmonic and melodic minor scales and listening with some focus. I'd like to get a feeling for the difference between them.


Edited by thurisaz (10/25/11 10:14 AM)
_________________________
Yamaha Arius YDP-161

Bach Prelude in C (BWV 846)
Petzold Minuet in G minor (BWV Anh 115)
Beethoven Moonlight Sonata, first movement
Working on: Alfred's Adult Piano Level 2, Satie Gymnopedie N. 1

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#1776832 - 10/25/11 10:51 AM Re: Beginner Classical Piano Pieces Suggestions [Re: Jaiburn]
Eglantine Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 01 2013


Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 804
Loc: Another Country
Yup, G minor harmonic.
(I have to confess I rarely look at melodic or natural.)
_________________________
Currently working on: F. Couperin - Preludes & Sweelinck - Fantasia Chromatica
J.S. Bach, Einaudi, Purcell, Froberger, Croft, Blow, Frescobaldi, Glass, Couperin
1930s upright (piano) & single manual William Foster (harpsichord)


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