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It's Never Been Easier To Play a Variety Of Popular Piano Music

Jul 11, 2008
How many songs do you know on the piano? Would you like to have a larger repertoire at your command? How about entertaining friends and acquaintances at a party with a staggering knowledge of popular songs? From Chopin to Gershwin, from Thelonius Monk to Tori Amos, piano music in a variety of popular styles is increasingly available in music stores and online outlets.

For the beginning piano student, the variety of popular piano music is staggering. A simple search will place the sheet music for "Pomp and Circumstance" and Mahler's funereal variations on Frere Jacques in his Symphony No. 1 in D Major directly on your computer monitor. Download the pieces, print them out and practice until you've mastered them. Soon you will be an expert at many diverse kinds of piano music.

Whether you invest time in learning every note and trill involved in a piece or you're simply looking for a chord progression for accompaniment purposes, sheet music is likely available. Mesmerize onlookers with your knowledge of the entire Beatles catalog! Serenade sweethearts with a flawless take on Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies." Why stick to practicing dull scales over and over when friends will be more impressed with a hot rendition of "My Heart Will Go On?"

Jokes aside, the ease of obtaining popular piano music is making an extensive knowledge of entire song catalogs a breeze. The fake arrangement, which is a piece of sheet music outlining the basic chord progressions and melodies in a song, is invaluable to those wanting to play piano with modern ensembles. This kind of arrangement enables the pianist to know what is coming at him. It gives him the basic melodic theme with which to improvise, play behind another instrument or just play straight from the paper.

Perhaps a more thoroughly written piece is what you're after. Don't want the fake arrangement of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata?" Piano music for popular pieces such as Claude Debussy's "Clare de Lune" and Frederic Chopin's Prelude in C Minor is a handy tool for the beginning pianist or the tutor to have on hand. The longevity and popularity of pieces such as these makes them fun to learn for any pianist, great or small.

So your skills on the instrument aren't up to par with the virtuosos? Is that any reason to not enjoy a relaxing stay at the piano bench with the ivories at your fingertips? No, it's not. Piano music doesn't have to be difficult to be enjoyed. It shouldn't always require a degree in music theory and performance. There are multitudes of pieces in the lexicon of popular piano music that are stunningly beautiful, yet don't require years of rigorous practice. Elton John, one of the greatest pop composers in modern music, has songs that come in easy piano translations. Feel free to find a nice version of one of his songs, or perhaps a standard like "Singin' in the Rain." Plunk out the melody, find the bass line and play until your heart's content.

Piano music is one of the most enduring forms of art and entertainment in the world. With the instrument's multiple octaves and singular ability to produce melody, harmony and underlying chord progressions, the piano is a timeless wonder. So invite some friends over, find some great sheet music and have a sing along to some of your favorite songs.
About the Author
Duane Shinn is the author of the popular online newsletter on piano chords, available free at "Exciting Piano Chords & Chord Progressions!"
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