The Best Classical Music Piano Songs
- The Moonlight Sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven
- The Map by Erik Satie
- Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy
- Arabesque No. 1 by Claude Debussy
- Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini by Sergei Rachmaninoff
- Piano Sonata No. 14 “Moonlight” by Ludwig van Beethoven
- Prelude in C-sharp minor by Sergei Rachmaninoff
- Liebestraum No. 3 by Franz Liszt
- Waltz in A minor by Frederic Chopin
- Etude Op. 10 No. 3 “Tristesse” by Frederic Chopin
From Bach’s Prelude in C Major to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, we’ve rounded up the best classical music piano songs of all time.
The Moonlight Sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven
The Moonlight Sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven is one of the most well-known classical piano songs. The first movement is written in Adagio molto espressivo, which gives the piece a feeling of ebb and flow. The second movement is in Allegretto, which gives the piece a playful quality. The third and final movement is in Presto agitato, which gives the piece a feeling of excitement and energy.
The Map by Erik Satie
Erik Satie was born in 1866 and was a French composer and pianist. His work was often associated with the post-impressionist and Symbolist artistic movements. He is best known for his atmospheric, dreamlike music. The Map is one of his most famous pieces and is a beautiful, whimsical song that has been enjoyed by classical music fans for generations.
Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy
One of the most popular classical pieces of all time, Clair de Lune is the third and final movement of Claude Debussy’s Suite bergamasque. Originally composed for solo piano, it has been orchestrated several times, and is commonly heard in concerts and on radio stations around the world.
Arabesque No. 1 by Claude Debussy
Arabesque No. 1 is a composition by Claude Debussy, originally written for solo piano. It was published in 1891 and was dedicated to Cosima von Bülow. The arabesque is one of Debussy’s most enduring and popular works, evidenced by its frequent appearance in compilation albums of classical music.
The arabesque is in two sections, each with alternating measures of 3/4 and 6/8 time. The first section is primarily made up of eighth notes played legato, while the second section contains a series of broken chords. The work makes use of the entire range of the piano, from the lowest notes to the highest.
The title reflects Debussy’s interest in orientalism and specifically refers to an Arabic dance form; however, the music itself is not based on any specific Arabic melody or rhythm.
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini by Sergei Rachmaninoff
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini is a work for piano and orchestra completed by Sergei Rachmaninoff in 1934. It is based on the 24th Caprice of Niccolò Paganini.The piece consists of a theme, variations 1-19, and a finale.
The Paganini Rhapsody is one of the most popular pieces for piano and orchestra.It has been performed by many famous pianists such as Vladimir Horowitz, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Lang Lang, and Yundi Li.
Piano Sonata No. 14 “Moonlight” by Ludwig van Beethoven
The “Moonlight” Sonata is one of the most popular piano pieces ever written. It was composed by Ludwig van Beethoven in 1801, and dedicated to his student, Countess Giulietta Guicciardi. The nickname “Moonlight” was not given to the sonata by Beethoven, but by poet Ludwig Rellstab, who compared the first movement to moonlight shining on a lake.
The Moonlight Sonata is divided into three movements:
Allegro molto e con brio
The first movement, in C sharp minor, is written in an approximate truncated sonata form. The movement opens with an octave in the left hand and a triplet figuration in the right. The second theme is introduced by the right hand alone, with a more melodic character. As the movement develops, both hands share the themes equally. The first theme returns in a powerful and altered form. The movement ends with a Presto coda.
The second movement, in D flat major, is written in ternary form (A–B–A). It consists of a lyrical main theme which explores remote harmonics and huge spans of the keyboard; this is juxtaposed with a graceful middle section (the B part) in which Beethoven uses pedal points and broken chords over sustained notes in the left-hand to create halo-like effects around some of his harmonies; finally there is a return of material from both earlier sections before the music dies away to nothing over repeated A flat major chords played fortissimo by both hands in octaves.
The third and final movement is written in rondo form (ABACA). It begins with a fast pace and features many colorfully contrasting themes played at different dynamics levels; these include several powerful cadenza-like sections for solo piano. The frantic Presto tempo helps to create an anxious and unstable mood which suggests chaos or even madness.
Prelude in C-sharp minor by Sergei Rachmaninoff
Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C-sharp minor is one of the most popular piano pieces ever written. It is recognizable for its dark and melancholy melody, which has been featured in many films and television shows.
The Prelude was composed in 1910, and is included in Rachmaninoff’s Opus 3, a set of five piano pieces. The piece is approximately three minutes long and consists of two main themes, which are repeated several times throughout the piece.
Although it is technically challenging, the Prelude is considered to be one of the most accessible pieces of classical piano music. Many beginner pianists learn to play it, and it has been recorded by some of the world’s greatest pianists, including Vladimir Horowitz, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Evgeny Kissin.
Liebestraum No. 3 by Franz Liszt
This beautiful piano song was composed by Franz Liszt in 1850 and is also known as “Love Dream.” It is one of his most famous pieces, and has been featured in a number of films including “The Albert Einstein Story” and “Eyes Wide Shut.”
Waltz in A minor by Frederic Chopin
This well-known and much-loved waltz by Frederic Chopin is one of the most popular pieces of classical music ever written. It is often heard at weddings and other special occasions, and has been used in many movies and TV shows.
Etude Op. 10 No. 3 “Tristesse” by Frederic Chopin
“Tristesse” is one of the most popular pieces by Frederic Chopin. It is from his first set of études, Op. 10, and is known for its beautiful and melancholic melody. Many students learn this piece as it is a great way to improve their technique and dynamics.