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What are the Hardest Piano Pieces to Play?

By Jon, published on 20/02/2018 Blog > Music > Piano > The 10 Most Difficult Piano Pieces

When you begin piano lessons, most of the time the goal is of the course is to progress as quickly and as well as possible.

You want to acquire the strongest bases, to then go on playing the pieces that you like.

And let’s be clear, most pianists are looking to play the songs they’ve heard and would like to remake, or just a legendary melody, to do just like the best pianists.

But the pianist has an ego and pride. To prove he is worthy, he will also go for difficult pieces, even very difficult. They don’t necessarily fit his personal tastes. But they will give a status, a rank, to the one who plays them. What’s on your repertoire?

These difficult pieces can be categorized in different ways in the world of the piano. In order to give a sympathetic side to this article, we will go through classic pieces, and varieties, known or unknown.

And you’ll see that afterwards, you will inevitably go to your keyboard to learn one, or even all.

By reading this article, you will understand better how to become a piano virtuoso!

Join the discussion: who do you think are the best pianists in the world?

Play these songs on the piano and become a great pianist Will you become a virtuoso pianist? | Pedro Vezini via Visual Hunt

Classical music and its virtuoso pieces

There is often a tendency to say that the classical music pieces composed by the best pianists in the world are the most difficult to play. Fortunately, many classical pieces are also used for learning the piano.

But of course, some justify this reputation.

Symphony No. 5 by Beethoven (1804-1808)

A legendary piece, composed by a genius musician. You have probably already heard these notes in the films The Longest Day or Saturday Night Fever.

Composed of four movements (Allegro con Brio, Andante con moto, Scherzo, and the Finale), and lasting approximately forty minutes, the fifth symphony of Beethoven is one of the Austrian’s masterpieces.

For the anecdote, the music was composed during the Napoleonic wars, while Austria was invaded by France.

As for Beethoven, then in his thirties, he is more and more affected by deafness.

A few years later, this symphony was designated as a reference work, and one of the most popular of classical music.

Music inspired by Beethoven Beethoven inspired many artists. John Travolta can testify.

Piano Sonata No. 18 in D major (W.A Mozart)

There is no need to introduce Mozart, considered by many to be the greatest virtuoso in the history of the piano.

Because of his precocity, and also because of the difficulty and complexity of his compositions. (who doesn’t recognize his famous enchanted flute, opera of more than two hours long).

Mozart’s piano sonatas are among the most difficult to play.

And the n°18 offers an impressive technical panel. Variations of rhythms, changes of fingering and speed.

One can clearly say that he is a pianist with great capacities when he masters the Mozart sonatas, and more particularly the n°18.

Discover the long history of the piano

The Bolero by Maurice Ravel (1928)

Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful ballets of the XXth Century. Again, you probably heard this music from the AGF Insurance ad in the early 2000s. A beautiful and catchy melody, lasting about 15 minutes.

The melody repeats itself regularly during the piece, but variations in crescendo and orchestration give this singular work an original, even unique aspect.

So unique that it is to this day the most played ballet piece in the world’s great operas since the 1930s, and even at events such as the 1998 World Cup or the closing ceremony of the Sochi Olympics in 2014.

The Toccata in D Minor by J.S Bach (1703-1707)

Everyone has already heard this music, the reference music written for the organs by Bach. Built in three episodes, it took four years to be written. Controversies ran around it at the beginning, the sulfurous composer Ringck and then Kelliner claiming its origin, but it is ultimately attributed to Bach when he was young.

Very quickly returned to popular culture, the XXth gives a timeless aspect to this piece. He is taken to the cinema in Fantasia, Twenty Thousands Leagues under the Sea, The Godfather or even Aviator and Pirates of the Caribbean.

The first notes entered history, and a melody as beautiful as that is difficult with accelerations and piano adaptation.

Pop music and how difficulty serves success

Pop songs are part of musical culture. And contrarily to what one can sometimes think, commercial music can be very difficult and can serve as a basis for piano lessons.

And require technical aptitudes essential to pianist.

Diego, by Michel Berger (1983)

In France, Michel Berger is a reference in piano and musical creation. We owe him a very large number of great hits. He wrote songs for himself, but also for the other musicians.

And if we had to come out with a song that represents the composer’s genius, Diego is the perfect example.

A perfectly lapped melody, with the chords linked with fluidity. A difficult song not technically, but in the management of the rhythms and emotions. A real complete piece for playing or learning to play the piano, which is very difficult to make as beautiful as the original piece played by Michel Berger.

Find out how, through piano lessons online, Superprof tutors can help you master the depth of emotion the instrument can reflect.

Life on Mars by David Bowie (1971)

What about this song, which took a new path with the death of David Bowie in 2016. One of his greatest successes is built on a simple piano melody, but of rare intensity.

Although it can be considered repetitive, this music (much like that of Michel Berger) is based on intensity, on raising the crescendo intensity.

Which gives in the end a cult melody, of which it is difficult to transcribe the emotion. A certain time of practice of the piano is necessary since this music is difficult to play.

David Bowie was also a great pianist, and his melodies marked his era The greatest artists of the twentieth century were pianists of high level. David Bowie is an example.

Georgia On My Mind by Ray Charles (1960)

Pianists who are interested in the musical culture around their instrument know that jazz is a genre apart. It’s not given to everybody to be able to play it. And Ray Charles is probably the greatest virtuoso in this field.

And not just because he was blind. His music is complete, timeless, and also very difficult to transcribe.

This is one of Ray Charles’s most outstanding romantic pieces. The difficulty in this piece lies not in the rhythm, but in the melody itself.

To play this piece, you must feel it, understand it. And to be well aware of the meaning and the words. At Ray Charles, the two are related. That is the difficulty.

Great and difficult movie music

While they have taken on a new dimension in recent years, counting just as much as the movies in which they pass, movie scores must, of course, be on this list.

They are technically of a very high level and require considerable pianistic capacities. This is not suitable for early piano lessons.

People get very excited about playing the piano when listening to these songs, so the goal is to work on learning the piano to get to play these pieces as quickly as possible.

Find the best tutorials for learning the piano!

Some of the best and hardest songs on the piano are in movies The songs in the Aristocats are mythical! Have you not tried to learn them on the piano?

Comptine d’un autre été (Yann Tiersen)

No one has forgotten this piano-accordion melody of one of the most popular french films of the early 2000s : Amélie.

And this melody composed by one of the best pianists of the world Yann Tiersen is very difficult for a particular reason: it is a piece for a left-handed person.

And since 75% of pianists are right-handed, this piece takes on a new dimension. It requires a particular fingering training to be able to adapt to this piece. The difficulty of playing a piece for left-handed and the speed of this piece make it doubly difficult.

For a piece that remains beautiful, and that I advise.

Fly (Untouchable, by Ludovico Einaudi)

We all shed our little tears while listening to this sublime music. A relatively fast and very rhythmic melody. This piece requires considerable dexterity and a relatively soft feel. It is obviously not given to everyone.

It is a music based on speed, arpeggios and chords. But all in the emotion and sweetness of a very loud piece, and that will remain like a great moment of cinema music.

 Music plays a lot on the success of a movie. Untouchables proves it.

Interstellar soundstrack (Hans Zimmer)

Ah, the master Hans Zimmer. Worthy successor to John Williams, this German is THE reference in movie music.

And the least that can be said is that with the soundtrack of Interstellar, he gave it all he had. A lengthly song, with rhythmic and melodic accelerations.

It is an all-powerful and all-crescendo piece.

As in a lot of music by Hans Zimmer, the song’s basis is not technically very hard. It is the rhythmic changes and variations of sound that make this piece a model of movie scores.

The piano is a prestigious instrument so honor it!

Tackle the harder pieces to learn the piano

Playing the piano with challenging pieces helps you to learn your musical limits. And above all, it is the opportunity to progress quickly by playing the piano.

Here, no music school or music theory, nor arpeggio! It is your motivation that will be your greatest source of progress in order to learn to play the piano and become a real performer. You will have to persevere in your piano classes, find the sheet piano sheet music and learn how to play the pieces you love.

So take both your hands, choose a piano, play make your most beautiful treble clef and bass clef, find a piano teacher, go on practising, do what you need to become the piano player you dream to be. The solfeggio, chords and piano classics will then have no secrets for you.

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