Looking for easy piano songs that sound complicated? Look no further than our definitive list.
Have you ever being at a gathering and someone hears that you play the guitar, then asks you to play something for the audience? Even if you have been playing the piano for a long time, such a request might still make you feel queasy. You might not want to fumble, but at the same time, you would love to play a piece that would still wow your audience. Well, this post offers you a splendid solution.
Here are some surprisingly easy piano songs that sound complicated and would surely wow your audience.
1. Imagine by John Lennon
The first of the surprisingly easy piano songs that somehow manage to sound complicated is Imagine by John Lennon. The Beetles, before their breakup, had so many hit songs, and after the split, many wondered if individual members would still have that magic touch.
Well, ‘Imagine’ is proof that John still had the magic. This hit song is his most famous song after leaving the group. If you are a beginner or are looking to play something simple but sounds complicated, then this is a great place to start.
You could start with the chords in root position with the two hands, then play the F chord in the second inversion. This simple style will have you only playing the C and F chords. As you play more and get more confidence, then you can practice with different inversions, and even play the vocal melody with the right hand.
2. Fur Elise by Beethoven
Beethoven might have been a genius, with some of his pieces sounding phenomenal, but the thing is that some of them are rather deceptively simple. The best among these types of songs is Fur Elise. When this song was composed in 1810, Beethoven was almost totally deaf. The song was later gifted to the rest of the world after his death.
Fur Elise is a very common song, especially the introduction which is just a minute long. Although the other section (other than the introduction) is pretty difficult, the introduction is something that you can play over and over and have audiences impressed.
Thus, if you are looking for a piano piece to play that sounds complicated but is actually simple, then look no further than the first minute of Fur Elise.
What gives this song this initial simplicity? Well, the root and fifth as well as the octave sweeps are all that you need to play. These chords sound really impressive but are very simple to play. The left and right-hand parts are independent so you will not be playing two different things at a go,
On the contrary, the melodic line is separated by the hands. On the left hand, you have just 4 patterns while to concluding four-octave sweep is only the note E! You can see just how simple everything really is.
3. Etude in E by Chopin
This piece, also known as Sadness, is reputed to be the genius’s most loved piece of music that he composed. Just like the Fu Elise by Beethoven, this piece is longer than the part that most people have heard. In fact, it is the introduction most people know, with the minute-long part played by many pianists. As a beginner, you don’t have to master the entire length of the piece to play to the amazement of others. All you need to learn is the first section of the piece.
The introductory part of the piece is made of arpeggiated block chords. These have a rather simple melody that carries them along to invoke a feeling of nostalgia in your listeners. The chords are illusory and listening to it will make it sound like a lot of things are going on in the background. The chords have a constant rhythm, so as a beginner, you only have to bother about the notes of the piece.
To play this at a moment’s notice, you must know the E major scale and chords. But not to worry, with some practice, you will certainly get the hang of the introductory piece quickly.
4. Prelude in C by Bach
Another master of the piano, Bach made some really incredible pieces throughout his famous career. Prelude in C is the introductory piece in a book of preludes and fugues. There are two such books, the WTC and the WTC Book II. This piece is in WTC and is one of the most famous pieces from Bach.
If you ever laid your hands on the book, you might be surprised by the sheer number of notes and chords in the piece, and you have to play them all rapidly. Apart from that, the piece stretches the range of any piano. What then is such a complicated piece doing in this roundup? Well, the truth is that Prelude in C looks harder than it really is.
The beginnings are pretty easy with the last couple measures liable to cause some issues for beginner players.
For one, the rhythm is constant throughout the piece. Thus, you are only concerned with the chords and notes. In learning this piece, you might be tempted to learn just a note at a time.
However, Prelude in C is best learned in progressions and patterns. As you play, focus on the chords being played. It also helps if you know about chord inversions and 7th chords.
5. The Heart Asks Pleasure First by Michael Nyman
Have you watched the period drama The Piano? If so, you might have heard this piece. This is an excellent piano piece, and many teachers have the piece as one of the first pieces that they teach their students. It is very simple to play, and you might feel like a professional when playing it – and we are sure your audience would think so too!
It is a thoroughly impressive piece with simple parts and secrets that make it easier to play than it sounds.
The major reason why it is so easy to play is that it is made up of 6-note ostinatos in your left and right hand.
To play this piece and play it well, you must know the A minor and C major chords. Since these are the chords used, all the power chords and diatonic chords look the same. To master it and wow your audience, focus on learning how to play through the bottom or top note.
You should practice the left and right hands separately. Once mastered, then you can combine them to create this beautiful piece.
6. Comptine d’un autre été by Yann Tiersen
Amelie is one of the more popular French movies in the Western world. Aside from the drama and the storyline, one of the most unforgettable things about the movie is the music. It also has tons of easy piano song that sounds complicated.
There are loads of great pieces in the movie, but that which sticks more, sounds great, but is deceptively simple to play is Comptine d’un Autre été. This piece is in E minor and is a 4 chord arpeggiated ostinato played on the left. While that lies on the left, the melody is played in the right hand.
One of the reasons it is pretty easy to play is that the aforementioned 4-chords on the left are played in the same way through the entirety of the piece. So, you should practice that first and master it. Once you have gotten the hang of it, then you should move to improvisation, using short melodies in E minor with the right. Either way, once the left-hand piece is mastered, your aim should be to learn how to play melodies with the right hand.
Once you get that, then you should play the ostinato on the left hand while playing the melody on the right hand. Learn the actual melody and combine to play this wonderful piece.
7. Solfeggietto by Emanuel Bach
Emanuel Bach is one of Johann’s sons and he obviously inherited his father’s talent. While his father is certainly the more popular Bach, Emmanuel was an excellent musician in his own right. The Bach family has had many wonderful musicians in the family, even before Johann became the most popular.
Anyway, Solfeggietto by Bach is one of his most popular pieces, and for the sake of this post, is one of the easiest piano songs to play despite sounding difficult.
Like some of the best pieces on this roundup, it is played very quickly as the hands have to move around the piano and hit the numerous notes in the piece. Although a rapid piece, you should note that the hands don’t play simultaneously. Another reason why it is an easy piece to play is the pattern repetition. Although not all, several patterns are repeated over the piano.
To master this piece, there are things that you must learn. First, you must know how to play C minor scale and arpeggios. You must also know inversions. These are so important because the entire piece is made from these.
Although a rapid piece, it is better if you practiced slowly and regularly. Soon you’d play with ease and feel like a professional.
8. Impromptu Op. 90 No. 2 by Franz Shubert
Just like the piece above, this piano song appears to be rather complicated, especially as you read through the notes and chords. If taken as a whole, it is downright challenging. However, when you break it into components, it becomes so much easier.
The main issue that many have with the piece is the right hand. This hand is made up of chromatic passages and scales. Thus, before you try this song, it is advised that you know the scales, especially those that exist in the flat keys of the piano.
Playing this piece relies heavily on fingering and thumb placement. If you do not have these in your arsenal, then you will certainly run into problems playing this piece.
For the best result, learn the piece in bits. Start from a pattern, master it, then move to the next section. Continue this until you are familiar with all the patterns of the piece. Once you have mastered these individually, move to play them together in a sequence.
9. River Flows In You – Yiruma
This song is eerily similar to Comptine d’un Autre été.. In case you didn’t know, the ostinato is a repetition of notes which serves as the foundation of a piece and this is a four-chord progression ostinato. On your left are the power chords and triads with inversions.
Mastering it is easy and similar to the way you’d master the latter piece. As it is composed of four-chords, practice the left-hand ostinato. You can then slot in some improvisations and melodies with this left hand. Then learn the right hand and combine both hands when you feel comfortable enough.
As a beginner, playing this and playing it well will do wonders for your confidence.
As with several of the songs on this list, you should become familiar with chord symbols and lead sheets, endeavoring to remember the chord progression. If you can do this, then you would be able to fiddle with the song in several ways.
10. Claire De Lune bu Debussy
This is a popular piece and one of the most popular pieces from the composer. As with the songs from Bach and Beethoven, the middle section of this piece is quite difficult.
However, the introductory part is a good way for beginners to learn how to play pieces. It is a beautiful composition that sounds hard but is simple to play.
Debussy was inspired by Gamelan music, which doesn’t employ the 12 notes. Instead of that, he based his piece on the collection of five notes, specifically the pentatonic collection.
The piece is in F minor and Db major and the pentatonic scale reflects that.
Although it might seem challenging because of the numerous chords, mastering it will be pleasurable and will do wonders for your ability to play even more challenging pieces.
These 10 pieces are easy piano songs that sound complicated and can be added to your ‘box of treasures. Master them and impress audiences wherever you might go.
Header image credit: Vidar Nordli-Mathiesen on Unsplash