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Reader Poll: Do you like classical music with jazz influences?

Since the early 20th century, jazz always had a significant impact on classical music and classical pianists. Composers found the rhythms, the blue quality in melody and harmony, as well as the spontaneous improvisation immensely fascinating and irresistibly modern. Read more >>

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Author Topic: the most impressive pieces to play to a non-musical audience  (Read 8136 times)
elevateme_returns
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« on: June 08, 2007, 10:08:50 PM »

i go to a state school, and im like the only one who can play piano properly. and everyones always like, omg omg play something fast!! or omg omg play some jazz!!

so i was wondering..  what are the best pieces to play to a non musical audience?

they have to be showpieces and technical showoff or they wont work.

so far i have found chopin prelude no 16 and kapustin concert etude no 3 to have the best results.
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retrouvailles
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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2007, 10:17:36 PM »

I recently played Kapustin's Variations, Op. 41 for a largely un-musical audience and everyone loved it. I'd say that any Kapustin would do the trick.
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Bob
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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2007, 10:43:14 PM »

Some with a steady beat and a melody helps.  They get it the first time around.  Very accessible.
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counterpoint
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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2007, 08:11:14 AM »

Sinding Frühlingsrauschen  Cheesy
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If it doesn't work - try something different!
rach n bach
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« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2007, 09:18:42 AM »

Everybody loves Maple Leaf... get Joplin's personal version though... more frills, and it's more impressive. Wink I'm assuming this is fairly informal playing... Rach 2/3 also works...
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thalbergmad
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« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2007, 01:47:04 PM »

The theme tune to Eastenders should work if you are in the UK.

Thal
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imbetter
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« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2007, 02:21:03 PM »

rumor has it you play the 24 preludes of chopin  Wink


you could play both no16 and 24
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el nino
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« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2007, 07:40:54 AM »

hungarian rhapsodies - fast but also their music is interesting to non-musicians too
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dnephi
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« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2007, 02:41:37 PM »

hungarian rhapsodies - fast but also their music is interesting to non-musicians too
He's right- fun loving, fast, showy and terrifically effective.
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burstroman
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« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2007, 02:58:30 AM »

Chopin: Etude A minor, Op.25
Prokofiev: Toccatta
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amelialw
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« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2007, 05:45:19 AM »

Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum...

Once I played it in church, my cousins and cousin's friends were like " Gasp, how do your fingers move so fast, you're scary"
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J.S Bach Italian Concerto,Beethoven Sonata op.2 no.2,Mozart Sonatas K.330&333,Chopin Scherzo no.2,Etude op.10 no.12&Fantasie Impromptu
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« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2007, 03:48:56 PM »

The solo transcription of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue is probably the single most impressive piece you can play for a non-musical audience. Not only will they probably recognize a lot of the tunes (from the T.V. or what have you), but also, it's just an impressive piece in general. Perhaps that's too long and not "showy" enough, but it's just a suggestion.

The third movement of Beethoven's Sonata Op. 27 No. 2 (the "Moonlight") is often found to be quite impressive by non-musical audiences, as are Chopin's Fantaisie-Impromptu and C.P.E. Bach's Solfeggio.

Kapustin is a good suggestion. Try the Toccatina.

Though the Gershwin or Kapustin may satisfy your audience's desire to hear you play "jazz" perhaps you should learn to play some real jazz music. Look into the genius improvisations of Art Tatum, or learn to improvise. Jazz never fails to impress.
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amelialw
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« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2007, 03:52:30 PM »

to add in
Prokofiev Sonatas
Mendelssohn Rondo Cappriccioso
Chopin Etudes
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J.S Bach Italian Concerto,Beethoven Sonata op.2 no.2,Mozart Sonatas K.330&333,Chopin Scherzo no.2,Etude op.10 no.12&Fantasie Impromptu
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« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2007, 05:30:29 PM »

chopin etudes? no. Not exactly everyones taste. I still remember that i disliked them before getting in touch with classical music and many shared that opinion. It's great music, but mostly for those who either already have some musical understanding or like classical music anyway.

I would also recommend kapustin, he's great, liszt, and any modern stuff...The most important thing is that it must really be easily accessible, or something people can relate to (jazz).
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mikey6
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« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2007, 12:15:24 AM »

Sortta hate to sat it but the fantasie impromptu would be an obvious answer - flashy start, everyone knows the middle section and flashy ending (it's worked for me in front of many an audience who doesn't know squat about music)
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thorn
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« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2007, 04:10:43 PM »

the Ravel Toccata!

thats a weird one though- its impressive, but people who havent attempted it dont realise exactly how impressive if that makes sense
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counterpoint
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« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2007, 06:25:13 PM »

Moussorgsky  Baba Yaga or the Chicken in their Eggshells
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rallestar
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« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2007, 05:43:40 AM »

What about the Prelude from Pour le Piano by Debussy?
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pianochick93
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« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2007, 09:48:51 AM »

Yeah that would work. I also think Rach's 2:3 is good as well.
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forzaitalia250
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« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2007, 03:35:15 AM »

chopin etudes? no. Not exactly everyones taste. I still remember that i disliked them before getting in touch with classical music and many shared that opinion. It's great music, but mostly for those who either already have some musical understanding or like classical music anyway.

I would also recommend kapustin, he's great, liszt, and any modern stuff...The most important thing is that it must really be easily accessible, or something people can relate to (jazz).

I'm just starting to work on the Etudes and I play just no. 12 so far... Non-musical people always seem impressed even if I fudge through the runs out of laziness ;-P
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etudes
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« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2007, 04:00:46 AM »

liszt feux follets,la campanella  Cool  Cool  Cool
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cygnusdei
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« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2007, 02:58:18 AM »

For impromptu 'performance', nothing longer than 2 minutes! The Flight of the Bumblebee comes to mind.
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zheer
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« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2007, 10:12:22 AM »

 The promise the sacrifice by Nyman always goes down well. 
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communist
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« Reply #23 on: September 03, 2008, 09:16:22 PM »

Rachmaninoff op.23 no.5 and op.33 no.4
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aewanko
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« Reply #24 on: September 03, 2008, 11:39:32 PM »

how about liszt's consolations? or maybe some nice-sounding melodies. those work often
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healdie
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« Reply #25 on: September 04, 2008, 10:45:51 AM »

The theme tune to Eastenders should work if you are in the UK.

Thal

i was once playing at school (what i can't exaclty remember probably some shostakovich) and after i had finished the other kids stared at me blankly and said "can you play the crazy frog"
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Florestan
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« Reply #26 on: September 04, 2008, 02:45:09 PM »

Some of the chopin-etudes will reallyn work, they sound really great when you're done with them... uhm, I played the second chopin scherzo, and even when I didn't play it perfectly, I got standing ovations.
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nanabush
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« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2008, 04:56:20 PM »

Chopin etudes are great.  Black Key and Revolutionary (no matter how much they are played), they always have a positive effect on non-musicians.  Chopin is probably one of the more accessible composers to non-musicians; nocturnes, preludes, ballades, everyone loves them.

Rach etudes too... probably the op 33, and the more tonal etudes out of the op 39 I'd say.  The two D minor etudes had a good effect when I played them.  His preludes are good too.

IMO the Revolutionary Etude is the perfect crowd pleaser... musicians are probably sick of hearing it, but non-musicians love the intensity of it.
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Interested in discussing:

-Prokofiev Toccata
-Scriabin Sonata 2
thierry13
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« Reply #28 on: September 06, 2008, 01:02:58 AM »

Rach etudes too... probably the op 33, and the more tonal etudes out of the op 39 I'd say. 

The less dissonant you mean? They all are perfectly tonal.
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Bob
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« Reply #29 on: September 06, 2008, 03:03:46 AM »

She must.  Isn't more dissonance more atonal?
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healdie
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« Reply #30 on: September 06, 2008, 05:01:16 PM »

no because many pieces are very dissonant  (various ones by shostakovich, prokofiev) but still rooted in a key this makes the piece tonal, a piece is atonal when there is no key, that is detecable by the western ear
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thierry13
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« Reply #31 on: September 12, 2008, 07:27:57 PM »

She must.  Isn't more dissonance more atonal?

Really not ... there can be more dissonance in tonality than in some atonal pieces. It's just about how you deal with and organise them.
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nanabush
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« Reply #32 on: September 13, 2008, 04:44:43 PM »

lol!  I'm not a girl, I just picked a stupid forum name haha!

And ya I did word that badly, I meant the less dissonant ones.  And I wouldn't even say that anymore; I'd say his less 'chromatic' etudes if that's ok.  His Eb minor op 33 for example is impressive, but very chromatic.  An non musical audience would probably be impressed, but it could be too strange sounding to them.  I'm sure if that was followed by the revolutionary etude (or vise versa), the Revolutionary etude would probably leave a bigger impact on the general non-musical audience.  And again I'm just using the Chopin as a mere example.  All of Rachs etudes are impressive, but the audience might not hear what a musician hears with a few of them.
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-Prokofiev Toccata
-Scriabin Sonata 2
retrouvailles
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« Reply #33 on: October 23, 2008, 07:44:00 AM »

She must.  Isn't more dissonance more atonal?

Them's fighting words.
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pianowolfi
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« Reply #34 on: October 23, 2008, 06:08:29 PM »

Really not ... there can be more dissonance in tonality than in some atonal pieces. It's just about how you deal with and organise them.

Good point. One of my theory teachers emphasized that it's better not to talk about "atonality" because it's a very unclear concept. He rather would talk about "atonicality".
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pwla
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« Reply #35 on: January 31, 2009, 11:09:04 PM »

hmmm.Claire de Lune,Moonlight Sonata.Some Chopin works
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healdie
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« Reply #36 on: January 31, 2009, 11:29:52 PM »

hmmm.Claire de Lune,Moonlight Sonata.Some Chopin works

I don't think clare de lune would work I know if I played that at my college most people would be bored and be doing something else after a couple of bars

people would rather listen to something they already know or something bright and optimistic and something thats is immediate from the beginning
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Florestan
gerry
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« Reply #37 on: May 16, 2009, 08:08:02 AM »

The 3rd mvt of Prokofief's 7th - don't know if they could handel the first two Roll Eyes
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« Reply #38 on: May 16, 2009, 12:38:55 PM »

How about Debussy's Toccata.  It's will capture an audience attention right away!  A fast and flowing piece with wonderful harmonies and passages. 
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« Reply #39 on: May 16, 2009, 01:27:07 PM »

Maybe Bach prelude and fugue in C Minor book I or Rachmaninoff prelude in A Minor.
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« Reply #40 on: June 03, 2009, 05:29:09 PM »

Didn't Antheil put a loaded gun on the piano once to attract the attention of a "nonmusical" audience?

Alkan: Allegro Barbaro?
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« Reply #41 on: June 16, 2009, 10:16:18 PM »

Didn't Antheil put a loaded gun on the piano once to attract the attention of a "nonmusical" audience?

Alkan: Allegro Barbaro?
Well, legend has it that Ronald Smith played it once at a party and managed to woo his future wife therewith (mind you, his wife-to-be was a cellist, so I suppose that the "non-musical audience" bit doesn't really count in this instance)...

Best,

Alistair
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teccomin
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« Reply #42 on: February 15, 2010, 06:24:15 AM »

When I play to non-musical audience, I intend to educate and not impress. I would usually pick a nice profound piece which is not very well known Smiley
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magio
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« Reply #43 on: September 11, 2010, 01:37:57 PM »

Hmmmmmmmmmm i think i would choose "Impromptu in G flat major" D899 No 3" by Schubert.
It is an easy and very pleasant piece for any audience.I reckon that everyone would enjoy it! Grin
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