Piano Street Magazine

New Super Mario Piano Sheet Music

November 15th, 2011 in Piano News by | 10 comments

Super Mario – The Czerny Studies of Our Time?

Are there any pianists out there who have never played studies by Czerny as part of their training? Probably not many. It is a fact that the technical and stylistic formulas necessary for playing the masterpieces of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and other classical composers can be developed by playing Czerny’s studies.

It is, however, a controversial issue, since many teachers argue that valuable practice time should not be wasted on such mechanical and artistically dry pieces when the same results can be achieved by practicing real music.

From another point of view, we do not only play music from the classical period these days. If you want to equip yourself with sufficient technical and musical skills to play, for example, Fanfares, one of the more frequently played études by György Ligeti, old Czerny may not be exactly what you need.

Fanfares from Studies Book 1 by György Ligeti

"Fanfares" from Studies Book 1 by György Ligeti

The main problems in the étude are:
1. Playing quick series of double-notes of various intervals in irregular patterns,
2. Synchronizing the irregular “melody” with a syncopated accompaniment,
3. Delivering a constant stream of eighth notes in such syncopated patterns for 11 pages without losing focus and “falling off the rope”.

Instead of Czerny, a better preparatory exercise for this piece could be the well-known Overworld Main Theme from the video game Super Mario Bros, composed by Koji Kondo. It contains the first two of the above-mentioned problems but in a more accessible format, while the third issue (focus/sustained attention) could possibly be practiced by playing the actual video game, aiming to go all the way through and beat Bowser without making a single mistake.

The Overworld Main Theme from the legendary video game Super Mario Bros.

The Overworld Main Theme from the legendary video game Super Mario Bros.

The New Super Mario Series by Alfred Music Publishing

Last week, Alfred Music Publishing released officially licensed piano scores for the popular Super Mario Bros.™ video game series. This collection of 34 pieces contains the instantly recognizable melodies beloved by generations of gamers around the world, and is available in two versions: original transcriptions and easy piano arrangements.
From Koji Kondo’s iconic Super Mario “Ground” background music to the new Super Mario Wii™ themes, the dozens of pieces in these books represent two and a half decades of Nintendo video game favorites.

The easy piano arrangements are simplified to make them enjoyable for novice pianists, although the rhythmic complexity as well as the often un-pianistic melodic patterns makes them quite a challenge even for the intermediate level pianist. The “Intermediate-Advanced Piano Solos” book features note-by-note transcriptions for solo piano performance. Many of these are technically demanding, which makes them suitable exercises for both “serious” contemporary music as well as for various pop music styles.

Samples pages of the sheet music:
Easy piano: Ground, Underwater, Battle and Desert background music
Original arrangement: Ground background music
Read more on Alfred Music Publishing


Another source of Super Mario piano scores is the website mariopiano.com which offers “didactic arrangements” of all themes and sound effects from the original Super Mario Bros (1985).
These are also note-by-note transcriptions of the original 8-bit NES music where the didactic merits are in the form of well-crafted fingerings and that all pieces are notated in alla breve in order to facilitate rhythmic reading.

Examples: Overworld Main Theme & Underwater Theme

…and from Mariomayhem.com: Super Mario Brothers for the piano

Let’s now look 100 years ahead. Will this be the typical opening phrase of a lesson with the 22th century piano teacher?
“Let’s begin with the scales and then I would like to hear your Mario Studies.”


  • D Bowen says:

    Very interesting and refreshing thoughts.Thanks!

  • Dagmar Feyen says:

    Personally, I think the real value of the Czerny studies – even more so than the surely appealing Mario studies – is not the technical development of piano playing, but the pattern-like presentation of musical-technical chunks. We don’t learn how to speak and read with the collected works of Shakespeare, so it is very unlikely that we learn to “speak” music (really understand what we are playing) by attacking the great masterworks.
    This said, I think I will buy the Mario piano books, because everything that keeps the students motivated is welcome!

  • e. marks says:

    amen to that. for the last month, my 12 yr-old son’s sight-reading, technical and rhythmic abilities, not to mention his motivation, have skyrocketed due to his discovery of being able to download and play mario music. even better, i’ve been pointing out to him the music’s connection to standard literature. the beginning of the underwater theme reminds me of the opening of chopin’s Ab ballade. last year we included an arrangement of one of the mario themes on his guild program, and i’m currently suggesting he play another one for next year besides bach, mozart and chopin. great article – “Let’s begin with the scales and then I would like to hear your Mario Studies.” brought a smile to my face.

  • Janet says:

    This is re-energizing the interest of our young students, including my grandchildren!

    So, congratulations to Piano Street and kudos to Alfred Publishing.

  • Justin says:

    Let’s tell our student’s to play Nintendo for an hour prior to their practise! Yay!
    Not to mention looking seriously cool in the eyes of an 8 year old after whipping one of these out.

  • James says:

    When i’m not playing classical i’m playing game music. There are so many magnificant works for videogames. Final Fantasy, Metal Gear, to name a few.

  • Plamen says:

    Very nice suggestion indeed. I’m a professional pianist for many years now and I have to admit, that few years ago I got my hands on a very accurate transcription of Kondo Koji’s “Super Mario” (not the one provided here, I’m afraid, although this one seems fare as well). And the thing that surprised me was that it’s not so easy – I was thinking – “OK, I’ll do a quick prima vista of it an that’s all”. The truth is I had to actually practice it for about 1 hour before I was able to play it fluently in the correct tempo. It’s a great song for beginners and a great fun for professionals. I even thought of using it in one of my concerts. Though, I must admit – so far I haven’t had the courage to do so :)

  • Tony says:

    Thanks for the Super Mario music sheet. As you mentioned that even a beginner will be able to play. My daughter started her lessons a year ago and it will interesting to see if she can play it.

  • Alexxander Dennis says:

    Hm. This suggestion of videogame music is exactly what I suggested in the 10 year anniversary post. Coincidence?! Maybe.

  • Marie Goldsworthy says:

    Is any of the Super Mario music available in Duet form?

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