Are you looking for some piano classics to learn or to help a student learn? Check out this list of 20 popular piano pieces that every pianist should have on their bucket list. 

This list is divided into early and late intermediate pieces. The level numbers are based on the leveling system used in Jane Magrath’s book, The Pianists Guide To Standard Teaching And Performance Literature. Because there is no standardized leveling system for piano music, these level numbers are used to give you a general idea of the difficulty of each piece, in addition to helping you understand a logical progression in which to learn these pieces.

  • Early intermediate pieces encompass levels 3-6 and are suitable for students or adults with a basic background and understanding of piano technique and notation.
  • Late intermediate pieces include levels 7-10 and require more advanced technical skills, and a higher level of proficiency reading and playing piano music.

The list includes pieces from all for eras of classical music: Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary.

Early Intermediate

1. “Sonatina in G, Anh. 5, No. 1” by Ludwig van Beethoven: Level 3, Classical

This elegant piece is an excellent demonstration of the classical piano style with frequent 2-note slurs and arpeggiated left-hand chords.

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2. “Wild Rider Op. 68 No. 8” from Album For The Young by Robert Schumann: Level 3, Romantic

This impressive piece features a basic melodic line with chordal accompaniment. The melody moves to the left hand in the B section. It is driven by strong accents and carefully articulated staccato notes.

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3. “Minuet in G, BWV Ahn. 114” by Johann Sebastian Bach: Level 4, Baroque

This well-known minuet is a great starting point for Baroque music. It features long melodic phrases, a simple accompaniment, and many opportunities to refine staccato and legato techniques.

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4. “Sonatina in C, Op. 36, No. 1” by Muzio Clementi: Level 4, Classical

This piece is another excellent snapshot of the classical style. It includes many scale-like passages and 1-octave arpeggios. It’s bright and crisp with an inviting sound.

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5. “Horseman” from Children’s Pieces Op. 27 by Dmitri Kabalevsky: Level 5, Contemporary

This piece features bouncy, rich minor harmony, and gives pianists an opportunity to balance melodic and accompaniment material. Its chromatic harmonies allow students to work with many accidentals and unconventional sounds.

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6. “Vivace” from Twelve Easy Pieces by Franz Joseph Haydn: Level 5, Classical

This lively piece includes arpeggiating left-hand rhythms and a bouncy right-hand melody. It’s approachable yet also features more advanced rhythms and frequent accidentals. 

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7. “Prelude In C Major” from The Well-Tempered Clavier by Johann Sebastian Bach: Level 6, Baroque

Arpeggiated, flowing chords carry this well-known piece. This piece gives pianists a chance to execute an even, clear tone while experimenting with subtle dynamic changes, tension, and release.

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8. “Solfeggietto” by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: Level 6, Classical

This well-known piece sounds complex, but slow practice will reveal simple chord arpeggiations and predictable patterns that the pianist can latch on to.

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9. “Prelude in E minor, Op. 28, No. 4” by Frederic Francois Chopin: Level 6, Romantic

This piece is beautiful and intriguing. The difficulty is not in the notes but rather how to play the notes. Excellent balance, phrasing, and music expression brings this piece to life.

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10. “Arietta Op. 12, No. 1” from Lyric Pieces by Edvard Grieg: Level 6, Romantic

This music is split between three voices and requires control and finger dexterity to balance each voice as needed. This lovely piece has a flowing arpeggiation paired with a simple melody.

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Late Intermediate

11. “Für Elise” by Ludwig van Beethoven: Level 7, Classical

“Für Elise” is on nearly everyone’s piano bucket list, and for a good reason! It’s one of the finest examples of lyrical pianistic writing with diverse emotional depth. The opening section plays easier than it sounds; however, learning the entire piece requires mature technique and more advanced skills. 

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12. “Gymnopédie No. 1” by Erik Satie: Level 8, Contemporary

The simplistic sound of this piece is another example of music that seems easier than it actually is. The left-hand gets into a rhythmic leaping pattern with a low bass note and a higher chord. This requires a lot of slow, precise practice. The singing melody line has to be approached carefully and with a compelling shape.

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13. “Invention No. 8 in F Major, BWV 779” by Johann Sebastian Bach: Level 7, Baroque

This piece is a good starting point for fugal playing. The right hand opens with a familiar melodic line, and the left hand follows one measure later with the same melody. There are some very intricate and intense moments throughout the piece, and careful, slow practice is necessary to balance the two distinct voices.

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14. “Sonata in D Hob. XVI/37” by Haydn: Level 8, Classical

This piece showcases Haydn’s fun, playful style, along with the common elements of classical sonatas such as precise articulation, scale-like passages, and left-hand accompaniment.

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15. “Prelude in D-flat Major, Op. 28, No. 15 (Raindrop Prelude)” by Chopin: Level 9, Romantic

This piece takes the listener through a thunderstorm. The song begins with gentle raindrops,  then moves to a dramatic bout of thunder and lightning, and eventually back to rain that slowly fades away. This piece requires diverse skills to accomplish the quiet raindrop effect in the beginning as well as to execute the bold thunderstorm section.

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16. “The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin: Level 9-10, Contemporary

This piece is the standard example of a ragtime style in the piano world. It features a typical ragtime stride bass pattern in the left hand, syncopated rhythms, and quick right-hand melodies played in octaves. All of these things require advanced technical skill.

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17. “Clair de Lune” by Claude Debussy: Level 10, Contemporary

This piece highlights the impressionist sounds that draw people to Debussy’s music. It is rhythmically complex, taking the pianist on a journey through several different musical sections throughout the piece. It requires a delicate yet controlled touch.

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18. “Movement 1 (Moonlight Sonata)” from Sonata in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven: Level 10, Classical

While the opening measures of this piece play reasonably easily, it quickly becomes apparent that this piece includes many complicated piano techniques such as large chords, poly-rhythms, and complex harmonies. Multiple voices are sounding throughout the piece, and each one needs special attention to its unique details.

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19. “Movement 3 (Rondo Alla Turca)” from Sonata in A Major, K. 331 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Level 10, Classical

This famous piece features exciting and exotic sounds that are satisfying to hear and to play. The right-hand requires precise, clear articulation. The left-hand alternates between a simple accompaniment and strongly rolled chords.

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20. “Sonata in A, K. 113, L. 345” by Domenico Scarlatti: Level 10, Baroque

The classical sonatas often dominate lists of piano repertoire, but Scarlatti’s baroque sonatas are definitely worth exploring as well. This one requires intricate finger work and quick hand crossings.

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Are you still looking for more piano sheet music? Click here to browse all classical pieces at Musicnotes.com!


This post was written by Megan, piano teacher and author of Pianissimo: A Very Piano Blog. Visit her website for more piano related blogs for teachers, parents, students, and all things piano.


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