The Piano

Some of the most famous classical music of all time has been written for the piano. Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca, Debussy’s Clair de Lune, Chopin’s Nocturnes, and Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata are just a few. In this course we explore the development of the piano, considering its forerunners in the organ and the harpsichord, through to the instrument we know and love today. We will listen to some of the most beautiful and thrilling compositions for the piano, and discover the composers who helped to find the instrument’s voice. No musical knowledge (or piano skills) are necessary.


  • Face-to-Face


  • The forerunners of the piano: the organ and the harpsichord
  • The construction of the piano: strings, hammers, pedals
  • The development of the cast-iron frame
  • Why the development of the sustain pedal made such a difference
  • The first composers for the piano: Haydn and Mozart
  • Beethoven’s piano music
  • The piano virtuosos of the 19th century: Liszt and Chopin
  • The French Impressionists: Debussy, Ravel, Satie
  • Piano genres: sonatas, nocturnes, preludes, intermezzos and others
  • Educational music for the piano (and why piano teachers are grateful to Tchaikovsky, Kaba-levsky and Clementi)
  • Some suggested repertoire for lapsed piano players
  • Piano textures: Alberti bass, arpeggiated chords, parallel chords
  • Modern developments in the piano and piano music
  • The most loved piano pieces of all time

We will listen to many pieces of piano music, some famous as well as some lesser-known. These include:

  • Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2 (‘Moonlight’)
  • Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13 (‘Pathétique’)
  • Brahms: Intermezzos
  • Chopin: Etudes, including op. 10 No. 12, “Revolutionary”
  • Chopin: Nocturnes, including No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 9 No. 2
  • Chopin: Preludes, op. 28 (1836-1839), including No. 15, “Raindrop”
  • Debussy: Clair de Lune, Preludes
  • Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsodies
  • Liszt: Liebesträume (Dreams of Love)
  • Liszt: Transcendental Studies (1851)
  • Mozart: Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major, K.331 (‘Rondo Alla Turca’)
  • Ravel: Jeux d’eau (Fountains)
  • Ravel: Sonatine for piano
  • Satie: Six Gnossiennes
  • Satie: Trois Gymnopédies
  • Schubert: Impromptus and Moment Musiceaux
  • Schumann: Kinderszenen, including “Traumerei” (“Dreaming”)


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. List some great compositions for the piano.
  2. List some composers who are known for their piano compositions.
  3. List some genres of composition for the piano.
  4. Describe some of the features of the construction of the piano.
  5. Describe some of the features of the development of the piano.
$125 Limited / $113

<p>Some of the most famous classical music of all time has been written for the piano. Mozart’s <em>Rondo Alla Turca</em>, Debussy’s <em>Clair de Lune</em>, Chopin’s <em>Nocturnes</em>, and Beethoven’

04 Sep

Interested in this course but can't attend? Please join the waiting list by clicking .