Guide to piano grades when picking pieces

Posted by: CebuKid

Guide to piano grades when picking pieces - 12/17/09 11:50 PM

So I'm contemplating what I'll play next in 2010.

I'd love to add another Beethoven piece to my repertoire, "Pathetique Sonata, Movement 2." ..one of my favorites!

Where can I get an info. on what "grade level" this piece is?

Also, what grade level is "Fur Elise?" I've read in a few places that it's ABRSM Grade 7, but some consider it Grade 5.

I am working on "Weeping Willow" right now, and may give Joplin a break after I learn this (my 3rd Joplin piece). Lately, I've had an urge to learn a "classical" piece again.

PS-I've never been tested and don't plan on it, but just need help picking pieces that are within my ability. smirk
Posted by: rustyfingers

Re: Guide to piano grades when picking pieces - 12/18/09 12:47 AM

Try this thread. I wish it were in the important topics post, as this comes up frequently.

April Thread about graded pieces
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Guide to piano grades when picking pieces - 12/18/09 12:57 AM

I think I am more advanced than I thought after downloading the file in the other thread... Thanks for the link! laugh
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Guide to piano grades when picking pieces - 12/18/09 02:35 AM

Tchaikowsky's Seasons are grade 8? I would have thought 5.
Posted by: DragonPianoPlayer

Re: Guide to piano grades when picking pieces - 12/18/09 07:34 AM

Is that where that spreadsheet originally came from - pianostreet.com?

It is one reference. We've noticed several inconsistencies within it. For example Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata and the Hammerklavier Sonata are both rated grade 8.

I'd only consider the relative difficulty of different pieces, and if they are both listed as grade 8 on this scale then refer to other references for more detail. There is no one universal standard, so you can't compare these numbers with other grading scales.

Other references are:
"The Pianist's Guide to Standard Teaching and Performance Literature" by Jane Magrath. This book ranks pieces from 1 to 10. These levels stop before you get to Bach's WTC or any but the easiest Beethoven Sontatas. The Season's are level 10 on this scale. Fur Elise is level 7

"Guide to Pianist's Repertoire" by Robert Hinson (was available through this link http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/iol/ ) Rates The Seasons as M-D (medium difficult). Fur Elise is Int (intermediate).

"A Practical Guide to Solo Piano Music" by Trevor Barnard and Elizabeth Gutierrez. Picks up where the other books leave off - scale is from 1 to 4. 2 is the level of an undergraduate piano major, 3 is the level of an upper division piano major or graduate piano major, 4 is considered virtuoso. They break out The Seasons by piece, most or 1 or 2, September is a 3. Fur Elise is a level 1.

You can also look at the requirements for the exams, such as ABRSM or RCM. Some are available online, others you have to buy the current syllabus.

If you are taking exams, you should follow that exam syllabus.

Finally, some of the published repertoire series are good references. Here's the list of pieces in Keith Snell's Piano Repertoire series:

http://www.kjos.com/pdf/brochures/snell_reper_index.pdf

Rich
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Guide to piano grades when picking pieces - 12/18/09 04:07 PM

Thanks for that, Rich.
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Guide to piano grades when picking pieces - 12/18/09 04:28 PM

This is interesting.... In the first document I downloaded Tchaikowsky's Italian Song was listed as grade 1, which I though was a little bit low if you want to play it well, but I would have ranked it grade 2 maybe. In the new file I just downloaded (Keith Snell's Piano Repertoire series) it is listed as grade 5! And Liszt's Consolation in Db as grade 9. Same as Traumerei by Schumann, just to name a few examples... A little bit too generous in my opinion.... But hey, it makes me feel so good about myself... grin
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Guide to piano grades when picking pieces - 12/19/09 02:44 AM

Originally Posted By: DragonPianoPlayer


"Guide to Pianist's Repertoire" by Robert Hinson (was available through this link http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/iol/ ) Rates The Seasons as M-D (medium difficult). Fur Elise is Int (intermediate).

Rich


Well, that's funny. When I went to that site the book was there but it asked me to create an account, and when I created an account that particular book disappeared from the list, while the others are still there! crazy
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Guide to piano grades when picking pieces - 12/19/09 09:29 AM

That Hinson book is a great resource. However, it doesn't really contain many intermediate level pieces, so it does depend on what you're looking for. Also, I found that some of the pieces aren't graded at all. And of course, there really is no consistency when talking between one teacher or another as to what "level" a piece is. The best thing to do is to look at several resources that discuss the particular piece and see what skill sets you will need in order to play it. If there seem to be too many that you don't already have, then you may want to find a piece that will help you with those skills first.