Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major), K. 525, is a 1787 composition for a chamber ensemble by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The German title means “a little serenade”, though it is often rendered more literally but less accurately as “a little night music.” The work is written for an ensemble of two violins, viola, and cello with optional double bass but is often performed by string orchestras and there are many arrangements for other instruments as we will see below.
Part of a full orchestral score:
Follow the score…
Easy piano sheet music might look like this:
The first movement of Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, with a graphical score.
One of my favorites, Barbershop-Style. Eine Kleine Not Musik by the Gas House Gang tells the story of The Magic Flute (from June 19) to the music of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.
A piano transcription
For four recorders, all played by the same person
From the Muppets: The Great Gonzo performing Eine Kleine Nachtmusik on bagpipe while sitting on a ten-foot pole!
When my son and I played Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart arranged for 2 pianos November 30, 2014 we were the last people to play in the old Steinway Hall. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a good video camera 🙁
Find this arranged for piano in Piano Pronto: Movement 2, Movement 3, Encore, Coda and Mozart: Exploring His Life and Music.
Today’s piece is one of those that piano students often try to learn on their own – or a friend will teach them the first 9 notes. It’s usually played too fast and, often in the wrong octave, or the first couple notes are repeated too many times.
This is one of two pieces that are so often played incorrectly that they have the distinction of being banned from competition in Northern Virginia Piano Teacher competitions.
Stay tuned for the other one!
Für Elise was not published during Beethoven’s lifetime, having been discovered by Ludwig Nohl 40 years after the composer’s death. The identity of “Elise” is unknown.
The very basic melody:
The actual beginning is a little more involved.
And, there’s more!
If you’d like to learn to play this piece correctly, find the sheet music at IMSLP, Beethoven: Exploring His Life and Music, and countless compilations of classical music available at the O’Connor Music Studio.
By Valentina Lisitsa:
The Big Piano at FAO Schwartz in NYC:
The Mystery Behind Für Elise:
Youtube has many, many more versions. Beethoven would probably go nuts!
This is a more advanced piece but I really like it. Some students may have heard this since it’s an alarm tone on my phone. My dog, Mimi, recognized this music as her signal to go out for a walk!
I just love Zez Confrey’s music. It’s not overplayed like some of Scott Joplin’s works but it’s just as much fun.
This is a piece I have often played in recitals and just for fun.
If any of my students are interested in tackling this piece, just let me know and we’ll start learning!
In 1921 Confrey wrote his novelty piano solo “Kitten on the Keys”, inspired by hearing his grandmother’s cat walk on the keyboard of her piano. It became a hit, and he went on to compose many other pieces in the genre.
Considered to be one of the fastest and most challenging of all “novelty” piano solos, “Dizzy Fingers” was composed in 1923. and was Confrey’s other biggest seller.
He left behind more than a hundred piano works, songs and miniature operas, and numerous piano rolls, music publications and sound recordings.
Not surprisingly, this piece is not available on Piano Maestro!
“This collection represents a cross-section of Confrey’s works and encompasses the broad range of his styles. Besides his famous 1920s novelty works (including Kitten on the Keys), there are many wonderful, lesser-known gems of remarkable quality included here from later in his career. Appearing for the first time in print are transcriptions of one of his disc recordings (Poor Buttermilk) and two of his player piano roll arrangements (My Pet and Humorestless). Many of Confrey’s later works have long been out of print and are included here for the first time in decades.”
Today, we’ll be listening to the end of the William Tell Overture by Gioachino Rossini. This piece, originally the overture to an opera, has been arranged for piano and is in several method books, including Piano Pronto Movements 1 and 2. It’s also in Bastien Book 4 and Piano Maestro.
The original story
Maybe your grandparents watched the original Lone Ranger
Or you saw the newer Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp
Here’s the entire William Tell Overture played by an orchestra
Franz Liszt made a really hard version for piano solo. See if you can follow along!
Piano Duet (1 piano, 4 hands)
Piano Duet arranged by Louis Moreau Gottschalk
Piano Duo (2 pianos, 8 hands)
Piano Quartet (4 pianos, 16 hands)
For pipe organ
And then things get nuts with cartoons. Lots of cartoons used this music. Here are Mickey Mouse and friends
And Spike Jones
Poor Rossini – I think he’d have a fit if he knew how is music was being used.
I’m sure many have you have learned Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star by now. Did you know its’ the same melody as the ABC Song? You know…
Don’t believe it? Sing them both in your head or out loud.
The French melody first appeared in 1761, and has been used for many children’s songs, such as “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”, “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” and the “Alphabet Song”.
This is one of the first pieces a student learns in piano methods, since it has them reach just a bit outside their accustomed hand position on the word “little”.
I try to remember to let students know that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed a set of twelve variations on the theme “Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman” for the piano and it started as the same basic Twinkle tune.
The sheet music is available at the O’Connor Music Studio if you want to borrow it or download it here about 1/3 of the way down the page under “Scores”.
I always enjoy these graphical scores. Watch the colors as the melody gets more and more complex:
This is the month for graduations of all sorts, college, high school, even preschool. Perhaps you know someone who is graduating this year. Maybe it’s you!
This piece by Sir Edward Elgar is called Pomp and Circumstance and usually heard at graduations. It was featured in Disney’s Fantasia 2000.
Edward Elgar’s father was a musician who tuned pianos, owned a music shop and was employed as a church organist. The young Edward learned to play the organ and violin at a young age and composed his first short piece at the age of 10. His first job was as assistant organist to his father. His main love was composition, although his music was not successful until his Enigma Variations were published in 1899. This work made him famous.
Until Elgar, there had not been a major creative composer in England since Handel’s death in 1759. He became known as England’s greatest composer and was widely recognized in his day. Unfortunately, Elgar’s fame waned at the end of his life – he composed little music during his last fifteen years and withdrew from almost all musical contact. It was not until the 1960’s that his music again became popular.
Today, we start with Spring from the Four Seasons by Vivaldi. Many OCMS students have played this already in one of their Piano Pronto books. It’s also available in Piano Maestro.
If you have it in your piano book, today would be a great day to review it. (HINT – there might be a quick review at your next lesson!)
Vivaldi was born in Venice, Italy, March 4, 1678 and spent most of his life there. His father taught him to play the violin, and the two would often perform together.
He taught at an orphanage for girls and wrote a lot of music for the girls to play. People came from miles around to hear Vivaldi’s talented students perform the beautiful music he had written.
Many people think Vivaldi was the best Italian composer of his time. He wrote concertos, operas, church music and many other compositions. In all, Antonio wrote over 500 concertos.
His most famous set of concertos is The Four Seasons which is a group of four violin concerti. Each of which gives a musical expression to a season of the year. They were written about 1721 and were published in 1725 in Amsterdam.
Here’s a piano version similar to the one in Movement 1 but in a different key.
And the original with Itzhak Perlman playing and conducting!
Want to play a version of this but aren’t using these books? Just ask!