Rameau - Piano Music

Jean Philippe Rameau

Not much is known about the early years of Jean Philippe Rameau (1683-1764). He is believed to have received his early musical instruction from his father, who was an organist. Originally intended for the law, he was educated at the Jesuit College at Godrans, but spent a lot more time on music than on his studies, even disrupting the classes with his singing. At 18 he was sent to Milan for a few months. After his return to France he worked for some time as a violinist in a travelling opera troupe and then held organists post in Clermont, Paris, Dijon and Lyon. For many years Rameau was not much known as a musician – he spent his days in obscurity, composing for the harpsichord and working out his own theory of music, based on his understanding of the physical properties of sound. His important books Traité de l´harmonie (1722) and Noveau système de musique théorique (1726), published when he had moved to Paris a second time, gave him some fame as an important theorist, but he still had trouble finding himself a post as organist in Paris. He took on some students, published more works for the harpsichord and eventually started writing for the stage. At 50 years of age, Rameau produced his first opera, Hippolyte et Aricie in 1733. It was immediately recognised as the most original opera to appear in France since the death of Lully, but some considered its innovations an attack on the French tradition. A marked rivalry continued to exist between the Rameau partisans and the "Lullistes". One of his admirers was the financier and courtier Le Riche de la Pouplinière, who hired Rameau as conductor of his private orchestra, a post Rameau held for 22 years. Through La Pouplinière, Rameau also met Voltaire and other leading writers and philosophers of his day. One of them, Rousseau, was a major participant in the second great quarrel that erupted over Rameau´s work, the so called War of the Buffoons. Rousseau accused Rameau of being out of date and his music too complicated in comparison with the "naturalness" of Pergolesi or other Italian opera buffa composers. The following decades Rameau spent at the very centre of French cultural life, producing important theoretical works and writing operas and other stage works (about 30 in all), the exquisite qualities of which - daring harmonies, rich orchestral colours, expressive recitatives, brilliant choruses and ballets - has earned Rameau the reputation as one of France’s greatest composers.

Rameau Piano Sheet Music

for digital devices or to download & print

Total pieces by Rameau: 55

TitleKey YearLevel

All pieces:

First Book of Harpsichord Pieces

1. Prelude A Minor 17064
2. Allemande A Minor 17064
3. Second Allemande A Minor 17063
4. Courante A Minor 17063
5. Gigue A Minor 17064
6. First Sarabande A Minor 17063
7. Second Sarabande A Minor 17064
8. Venitienne A Major 17063
9. Gavotte A Minor 17064
10. Minuet A Minor 17063

Harpsichord Pieces

1. Minuet in C C Major 17242
2. Allemande E Minor 17246
3. Courante E Minor 17245
4. Gigue E Minor 17244
5. Second Gigue E Major 17244
6. The Gathering of the Birds E Minor 17245
7. First Rigaudon E Minor 17243
8. Second Rigaudon E Major 17243
9. Second Rigaudon, variation E Major 17244
10. Musette E Major 17244
11. Tambourin E Minor 17243
12. The Village Girl E Minor 17244
13. The Gentle Complaints D Minor 17244
14. The Pretending Fools D Major 17244
15. The Pretending Fools, variation 1 D Major 17245
16. The Pretending Fools, variation 2 D Major 17245
17. The Sighs D Major 17244
18. The Merry One D Major 17244
19. The Madcap D Major 17244
20. The Discourse of the Muses D Minor 17244
21. The Whirlwinds D Major 17244
22. Les Cyclopes D Minor 17244
23. The Jibe D Major 17242
24. The Lame One D Minor 17243

New Suites of Harpsichord Pieces

1. Allemande A Minor 17275
2. Courante A Minor 17276
3. Sarabande A Major 17274
4. The Three hands A Minor 17276
5. Fanfarinette A Major 17274
6. The Triumhpant One A Major 17274
7. Gavotte with Six Variations A Minor 17275
8. Les Tricotets G Major 17274
9. The Indifferent One G Major 17274
10. Minuet G Major 17274
11. Second Minuet G Minor 17273
12. The Hen G Minor 17274
13. Les Triolets G Major 17274
14. The Savages G Minor 17274
15. The Enharmonic Change G Minor 17275
16. The Egyptian G Minor 17275

Concerted Pieces

1. La Livri C Minor 17415
2. The Procovative One G Major 17416
3. The Timid One, Rondo 1 A Minor 17417
4. The Timid One, Rondo 2 A Major 17417
5. The Indiscreet One B-flat Major 17415

Forum posts about Jean Philippe Rameau

Rameau on the piano by pianissima
I've recently gotten interested in Rameau's keyboard works and would like to learn some of them, but I've hit the inevitable roa...