Looking to discover the top 10 Beethoven songs to play on the piano? You’ve come to the right place!
Ludwig Van Beethoven is one of the most popular composers of all time. He left behind a considerable body of work, including nearly 500 completed works.
The last great representative of Viennese classicism, Beethoven paved the way for the evolution of romanticism in music and greatly influenced Western musical culture throughout the 19th century.
His musical genius is all the more impressive because his personal life was marked by many dramas. At the age of 27, the musician was struck by deafness and could no longer hear the music he composed. This did not prevent him from celebrating the triumph of heroism and joy in his work.
The composer is also known to be a great virtuoso pianist. He left behind a large number of piano pieces of very high quality.
In this article, we will present our top 10 best Beethoven songs to play on the piano. You will be able to choose the ones that best suit you to start your learning in the best conditions. Let’s start!
PS : all these songs are available on our piano learning app. So you can learn them with ease.
Joris, the author of this article, recommends the following resource: PDF Guide – Piano Tutorials: Learn the 10 easiest songs.
Ode to Joy was originally a poem written by Friedrich von Schiller in 1785 and first published the following year.
Today, it is the musical version that is better known. Indeed, Ludwig Van Beethoven was inspired by the poem to write the fourth and last movement of his 9th Symphony in 1824.
The song celebrates the ideal of human unity and brotherhood. As such, it was taken up by the European Union to make it its official anthem in 1972.
Ode to Joy is one of the easiest Beethoven songs to play on the piano. It could have been included in our ranking of the best easy piano songs for beginners. There are many more or less complex versions, but on the piano learning app La Touche Musicale, we propose to learn Ode to Joy in a very easy version.
If you want to learn this song, check out our tutorial for playing the piano notes of Ode to Joy.
Moonlight Sonata (or Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27) is a song written by the composer Ludwig Van Beethoven in 1801 and published the following year.
In the first published version there is a dedication to the Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, a 17-year-old woman with whom the musician seems to have been in love.
Moonlight Sonata was composed during a difficult period in Beethoven’s life, as he was becoming aware of his deafness at the time. As soon as it was published, this work was a resounding success, both with the critics and the general public.
Today, Moonlight Sonata is one of Beethoven’s most popular piano songs. Many beginner pianists want to learn it. That’s why the app La Touche Musicale proposes different versions and different difficulties for this piano piece.
It is also a very nostalgic composition, which would have perfectly belonged in our article on the most beautiful sad piano songs.
You can learn this song easily with our dedicated Moonlight Sonata Piano Notes tutorial.
Für Elise (or The Bagatelle in A minor, Wo0 59) is a piece for piano composed by Beethoven in 1810.
It is a relatively short piece since it lasts about 3 minutes and contains 103 measures.
According to the legend, the musician Ludwig Nohl found the score until then lost. It is in such bad condition that only two letters of the title are still visible, the letters “se”. The musician then gave it the arbitrary title of “Für Elise” when he published it in 1867.
According to some theories, the name of the dedicatee of this piano piece was more likely Therese, the name of two women in Beethoven’s entourage to whom he was quite close.
Today, Für Elise is Beethoven’s best-known piano song in the world. It is even more popular than some piano Christmas songs.
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 is a musical work written by Beethoven between 1805 and 1807 and first publicly performed at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna in 1808.
At the time of the composition of this music, Beethoven, who was approaching thirty years of age, was beginning to be struck by deafness.
The symphony became very famous from the moment of its release. The composer and romantic writer E.T.A. Hoffmann, a contemporary of Beethoven, described it as “one of the most important works of the time.
Over time, Symphony No. 5 has become one of the most popular compositions in classical music and is frequently performed and recorded.
Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13, known as “Pathetique” is music composed by Beethoven between 1798 and 1799 and published in December 1799.
It was dedicated to Prince Lichnowsky, the composer’s patron since his arrival in Vienna in 1792.
This work was written at a time when Beethoven was beginning to create his own musical style, gradually detaching himself from the influence of Mozart and Haydn.
It is a brilliant and above all innovative work. It is considered today as the first piano masterpiece of the virtuoso musician.
It still exerts a considerable influence on Western culture today. Piano Sonata No. 8, Op. 13 can be found in some advertisements and in some contemporary films.
The nostalgia inherent in this composition can also recall certain anime and manga songs on piano.
Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57, known as the Appassionata, is a musical work composed by Ludwig Van Beethoven between 1804 and 1805, between his 3rd and 4th symphonies.
When it was published in 1807 in Vienna, it was dedicated to Count Franz von Brunswick (1777-1849), a friend and admirer of the composer.
The title of this sonata was not given during the composer’s lifetime. It was titled as such in 1838 by a publisher who published an arrangement for piano four hands.
Piano Sonata No. 23 is one of Beethoven’s greatest sonatas and also one of his most technically challenging. It lasts an average of 23 minutes. In contrast to the other sonatas of the time, its form is very innovative and exploratory (division of parts, modulations, evolution of tonalities, …).
It is considered today as one of the most difficult piano pieces of Beethoven to perform.
Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 32, known as “Tempest”, was composed by Beethoven in 1802 and dedicated to the Countess of Browne.
Its title “Tempest” was not directly given by its author. However, Beethoven is said to have suggested to his listeners that, to truly understand this song, one should read William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”.
Its composition was undertaken at a very particular time in Beethoven’s life, between his 1st and 2nd symphonies. During this period, the musician was gradually becoming aware of his incipient deafness and wrote the Heiligenstadt Testament. Its atmosphere is therefore much darker than that of his previous compositions.
Piano Sonata No. 17, Op. 32 consists of 3 movements and takes about 20 minutes to perform.
It is a very famous song of the composer, which is often played by professional and amateur pianists.
Waldstein Piano Sonata (or Piano Sonata no. 21 in C major, Op. 53) is a composition for piano by the famous musician Ludwig van Beethoven.
Composed between 1803 and 1804, it was published in 1805 and dedicated to Count Ferdinand von Waldstein, friend and protector of the pianist since 1784.
Weldstein Piano Sonata is structured in 3 movements, the last two of which are linked. The performance lasts about 30 minutes.
It is a relatively difficult piano song to play. If you are a beginner pianist, we advise you to start with other compositions of Beethoven, like Ode to Joy or Für Elise.
Rondo a Capriccio in G Major (Rage Over a Lost Penny) is the first unfinished Beethoven song to appear in this ranking.
It is a Rondo for piano in G major, Op. 129, composed around 1795 and completed by the Austrian pianist Anton Diabelli in 1828 for a posthumous edition.
It is a piece considered very singular in the musical work left by Beethoven. The critics see in it a music full of force and virile violence concretized by the hammering of chords which the author showed in his composition.
This gives the Rondo a Capriccio a bubbling, unbridled feel, which makes it a very special composition compared to what the pianist used to invent.
The Piano Sonata No. 29 in B-flat major, Op. 106, known as the “Hammerklavier”, is a composition written by Beethoven between 1817 and 1819.
It was first published in 1819 and was dedicated to Archduke Rudolph.
The title Hammerklavier comes from the German term “piano-forte”, given by the musician who wanted to remind his listeners that the piano-forte was an invention of German origin.
This composition comes after four years in which Beethoven had published almost nothing, his deafness having become almost total.
Piano Sonata No. 29, Op. 106 is his largest score for solo piano in terms of length and breadth of breath. The composer himself admitted that it was an extremely difficult piano piece. In fact, the Italian pianist Ferruccio Busoni declared that “a man’s life is unfortunately much too short to learn Opus 106”.
The song has 4 movements and its performance lasts about 45 minutes. If you are a beginner pianist, we recommend that you start with other Beethoven songs to get your feet wet before learning Piano Sonata no. 29, Op. 106.
This top 10 piano songs by Beethoven reminds us of the immensity of the musical work left by the composer.
They are of course not all of equal difficulty. We have first thought of the beginner pianists by starting this list with the most popular Beethoven songs but also the easiest to play for everyone.
This classification is not exhaustive and is only binding on us; other pianists may consider that other songs in Beethoven’s repertoire are more interesting to play on the piano. Nevertheless, this article introduces some of the masterpieces of the virtuoso pianist so that you can have some hints to start your learning.
Don’t forget that all these songs can be found on the piano learning app La Touche Musicale. You can learn them all easily with interactive lessons.
If you like this article, you might also like our selection of the best classical music to play on the piano.
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