Schumann - Piano Music

Robert Schumann

Schumann is often seen as the quintessential Romantic. His music seems to invite us into to a world of dreams, fantasy and imaginary characters, representing the multiple sides of his own personality, such as the extroverted, stormy Florestan and the elegiac, contemplative Eusebius. Despite being a concerned Classicist with great reverence for the tradition of Bach, Beethoven and Schubert, in much of his piano music he seems to have composed almost without rules.

Top Pieces:

Träumerei in F Major, Op. 15 No. 7

The title translates as “Reverie” or “Daydream”; it would be hard to find a better word to describe the innocent, gentle, soothing character and the calm repetitiveness of this music.

Melody in C Major, Op. 68 No. 1

Schumann's popular educational masterpiece Album for the Young starts with a simple, lyrical and expressive Melody.

Aufschwung in B-flat Minor, Op. 12 No. 2

Aufschwung is the German word for "uplift" — the piece was intended to describe Schumann's alter ego Florestan indulging the “height of his passions”.

Carnaval Op. 9

Carnaval represents an elaborate and imaginative masked ball during carnival season. Schumann also put some musical puzzles into the score – "deciphering my masked ball will be a real game for you."

Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54

In one of the most widely performed concertos of the Romantic era, Schumann skips straight to the soloist’s entrance, an idea that was to be taken up by several later composers, such as Grieg and Rachmaninoff.


Robert Schumann (1810-1856) was a central figure of the Romantic era; his life, ideas and works illustrate the idea of Romanticism better than those of almost any other composer, writer or artist. As a young man he enrolled at the University of Leipzig to study law, but evidently devoted much more time to drinking, socialising, pursuing philosophical discussions and playing music. He studied piano with a respected teacher, Friedrich Wieck, whose highly talented daughter Clara was eventually to fall in love with Robert – to her father´s deep dismay. Schumann allegedly led a life of dissipation which also aggravated his manic-depressive tendencies. His compulsive use of a finger-strengthening device led to a paralysis of the right hand, making his intended pianist career impossible.

Schumann turned to composing and writing about music. He was one of the founders of the influential Neue Zeitschrift für Musik and though this medium both put words to and greatly influenced the trends in music - one of the most famous early examples was his article in praise of Chopin. In both writings and compositions, Robert gave himself a dual personality: "Florestan" for his impetuous self and "Eusebius" for his contemplative side.

Especially in his early composing career, Schumann produced a flood of short, poetic piano pieces, often inspired by his love for Clara Wieck. After years of opposition from her father, the couple finally gained the legal right to marry in 1840. This event started a period of intense creativity in all sorts of genres. First came an outpouring of songs and song-cycles; then, in 1841, Schumann concentrated on symphonies, in 1842 on chamber music, and in 1843 on choral works. After this he had a severe attack of depression and moved to Dresden in search of quiet. Seven years later he became town music director in Düsseldorf . He met with the 20-year-old Brahms in 1853, acclaiming him in an article titled "New Paths". The next year his mental health failed and he threw himself into Rhine but was rescued. After this incident he agreed to enter an asylum, where his condition gradually deteriorated until his death three years later.

Quotes by Schumann

"To send light into the depths of the human heart -- this is the artist's calling!"

"Hats off, gentlemen, a genius!" (about Chopin)

"My indifference to money and my spendthrift ways are disgraceful. You have no idea how reckless I am; how often I practically throw money out of the window. I am always making good resolutions, but the next minute I forget and give the waiter eightpence."

Quotes about Schumann

"Schumann is the most representative musical figure of central European Romanticism as much because of his limitations as because of his genius: in his finest works, indeed, he exploited these limitations in such a way that they gave a force to his genius that no other contemporary could attain." (Charles Rosen)

"To him, above all, belongs my heart, I love him like an honoured friend, to him I owe my most beautiful hours - I lament deeply for him, too, for the shadows of sadness - the sorrow we feel in his songs - fell ever more thickly upon him…What do we know of his inner being, what can we know, there, where reason ceases and madness begins?" (Edwin Fischer)

Schumann Piano Sheet Music

for digital devices or to download & print

Total pieces by Schumann: 179

TitleKey YearLevel

Most popular pieces:

Träumerei Op. 15 No. 7F Major 18397
Melody Op. 68 No. 1C Major 18483
Aufschwung Op. 12 No. 2B-flat Minor 18378
Carnaval Op. 9N/A 18358+
Piano Concerto Op. 54A Minor -8+

Studies after Caprices by Paganini Op. 3

1. Caprice A Minor 18328+
2. Caprice E Major 18328+
3. Caprice C Major 18328+
4. Caprice B-flat Major 18328+
5. Caprice E-flat Major 18328+
6. Caprice G Minor 18328+

Concert-Etudes after Caprices by Paganini Op. 10

1. Etude A-flat Major 18338+
2. Etude G Minor 18338+
3. Etude G Minor 18338+
4. Etude C Minor 18338+
5. Etude B Minor 18338+
6. Etude E Minor 18338+

Fantasiestücke Op. 12

1. Des Abends D-flat Major 18377
2. Aufschwung B-flat Minor 18378
3. Warum? D-flat Major 18377
4. Grillen D-flat Major 18378
5. In der Nacht F Minor 18378+
6. Fabel C Major 18378
7. Traumes Wirren F Major 18378+
8. Ende vom Lied F Major 18378

Kinderszenen Op. 15

1. Von fremden Ländern und Menschen G Major 18395
2. Kuriose Geschichte D Major 18396
3. Hasche-Mann B Minor 18398
4. Bittendes Kind D Major 18397
5. Glückes genug D Major 18397
6. Wichtige Begebenheit A Major 18397
7. Träumerei F Major 18397
8. Am Kamin F Major 18397
9. Ritter vom Steckenpferd C Major 18398
10. Fast zu ernst G-sharp Minor 18397
11. Fürchtenmachen E Minor 18397
12. Kind im Einschlummern E Minor 18396
13. Der Dichter spricht G Major 18396

Night Visions Op. 23

1. Night-Vision: Mehr langsam, oft zurückhaltend C Major 18397
2. Night-Vision: Markiert und lebhaft F Major 18398
3. Night-Vision: Mit grosser lebhaftigkeit D-flat Major 18397
4. Night-Vision: Einfach F Major 18398+

Three Romances Op. 28

1. Romance: Sehr markiert B-flat Minor 18398+
2. Romance: Einfach F-sharp Major 18398+
3. Romance: Sehr markiert B Major 18398+

Four Pieces Op. 32

1. Scherzo B-flat Major 18398+
2. Gigue G Minor 18397
3. Romance D Minor 18398+
4. Fughetta G Minor 18398+

Album for the Young Op. 68

1. Melody C Major 18483
2. Soldier's March G Major 18484
3. Humming Song C Major 18484
4. Chorale G Major 18483
5. Short Piece C Major 18483
6. The Poor Orphan A Minor 18484
7. Hunting Song F Major 18485
8. The Wild Horseman F Major 18483
9. Popular Song D Minor 18484
10. The Happy Farmer F Major 18483
11. Sicilian A Minor 18483
12. Saint Nicholas A Minor 18485
13. May, Dearest May E Major 18485
14. A Short Study G Major 18484
15. Spring Song E Major 18485
16. First Sorrow E Minor 18483
17. The Morning Stroll A Major 18485
18. Song of the Reapers C Major 18484
19. A Little Romance A Minor 18484
20. Rustic Song A Major 18485
21. Langsam und mit Ausdruck zu spielen C Major 18486
22. Roundelay A Major 18485
23. The Horseman D Minor 18485
24. Harvest Song A Major 18485
25. Echos of the Theatre A Minor 18485
26. Nicht schnell, hübsch vorzutragen F Major 18486
27. A Canon A Minor 18486
28. Recollections A Major 18485
29. The Stranger D Minor 18485
30. Sehr Langsam F Major 18485
31. Battle Song D Major 18485
32. Sheherazade A Minor 18486
33. Vintage Song E Major 18486
34. Theme C Major 18486
35. Mignon E-flat Major 18485
36. Italian Mariner´s Song G Minor 18485
37. Sailor's Song G Minor 18485
38. Winter Time I C Minor 18485
39. Winter Time II C Minor 18486
40. Small Fugue A Major 18486
41. Northern Song F Major 18484
42. Chorale F Major 18485
43. New Year's Song A Major 18486

Four Fugues Op. 72

1. Fugue: Nicht schnell D Minor 18458+
2. Fugue: Sehr lebhaft D Minor 18458+
3. Fugue: Nicht schnell und sehr ausdrucksvoll F Minor 18457
4. Fugue: Im mässigen tempo F Major 18458

Four Marches Op. 76

1. March: Mit grösster Energie E-flat Major 18498+
2. March: Sehr kräftig G Minor 18498
3. March: Sehr mässig B-flat Major 18498
4. March: Mit kraft und feuer E-flat Major 18498

Waldszenen Op. 82

1. Eintritt B-flat Major 18498+
2. Jäger auf der Lauer D Minor 18498+
3. Einsame Blumen B-flat Major 18498+
4. Verrufene Stelle D Minor 18498+
5. Freudliche Landschaft B-flat Major 18498+
6. Herberge E-flat Major 18498+
7. Vogel als Prophet G Minor 18498+
8. Jagdlied E-flat Major 18498+
9. Abschied B-flat Major 18498+

Bunte Blätter Op. 99

1. Piece I: Nicht schnell, mit Innigkeit A Major 18528+
2. Piece II: Sehr rasch E Minor 18528+
3. Piece III: Frisch E Major 18528+
4. Album Leaf I: Ziemlich langsam F-sharp Minor 18528+
5. Album Leaf II: Schnell B Minor 18528+
6. Album Leaf III: Ziemlich langsam A-flat Major 18528+
7. Album Leaf IV: Sehr langsam E-flat Minor 18528+
8. Album Leaf V: Langsam E-flat Major 18528+
9. Novelette B Minor 18528+
10. Prelude B-flat Minor 18528+
11. Marsch D Minor 18528+
12. Evening Music B-flat Major 18528+
13. Scherzo G Minor 18528+
14. Geschwindmarsch G Minor 18528+

Three Fantasies Op. 111

1. Fantasy C Minor 18518+
2. Fantasy A-flat Major 18517
3. Fantasy C Minor 18518

3 Sonatas for the Young Op. 118

1. Sonata G Major 18537
2. Sonata D Major 18536
3. Sonata C Major 18536

Album Leaves Op. 124

1. Impromptu D Minor 18325
2. Leides Ahnung A Minor 18556
3. Scherzino F Major 18326
4. Waltz A Minor 18555
5. Phantasietanz E Minor 18567
6. Wiegenlied G Major -3
7. Ländler D Major 18365
8. Lied ohne Ende F Major 18376
9. Impromptu B-flat Major 18387
10. Waltz E-flat Major 18386
11. Romance B-flat Major 18357
12. Burla F Minor 18327
13. Larghetto F Minor 18325
14. Vision F Major 18386
15. Waltz A-flat Major 18326
16. Schlummerlied E-flat Major 18416
17. Elfe A-flat Major 18358
18. Botschaft E Major 18386
19. Phantasiestück A Major 18398
20. Canon D Major 18455

Seven Pieces in Fughetta Form Op. 126

1. Nicht schnell, leise vorzutragen A Minor 18536
2. Mässig D Minor 18536
3. Ziemlich bewegt F Major 18537
4. Lebhaft D Minor 18537
5. Ziemlich langsam, empfindungsvoll vorzutragen A Minor 18536
6. Sehr schnell F Major 18538
7. Langsam, ausdrucksvoll A Minor 18536

Morning Songs Op. 133

1. Morning Song D Major 18536
2. Morning Song D Major 18538
3. Morning Song A Major 18537
4. Morning Song F-sharp Minor 18538+
5. Morning Song D Major 18538

Miscellaneous pieces

Theme E-flat Major 18545
Variations on the name "Abegg" Op. 1F Major -8+
Papillons Op. 2N/A -8+
Six Intermezzi Op. 4N/A -8+
Impromptus on a Theme by Clara Wieck Op. 5C Major -8+
Davidsbündlertänze Op. 6N/A 18378+
Toccata Op. 7C Major -8+
Allegro Op. 8B Minor -8+
Carnaval Op. 9N/A 18358+
Grand Sonata 1 Op. 11F-sharp Minor 18358+
Symphonic Etudes Op. 13C-sharp Minor -8+
Symphonic Etudes - five posthumous variations Op. 13C-sharp Minor -8+
Grand Sonata 3 Op. 14F Minor 18368+
Kreisleriana Op. 16N/A 18388+
Fantasy Op. 17C Major 18368+
Arabesque Op. 18C Major 18398
Blumenstück Op. 19D-flat Major 18398
Humoresque Op. 20B-flat Major -8+
Noveletten Op. 21N/A 18388+
Sonata 2 Op. 22G Minor 18358+
Faschingsschwank aus Wien Op. 26B-flat Major 18398+
Piano Quintet Op. 44E-flat Major 18428+
Piano Concerto Op. 54A Minor -8+

Forum posts about Robert Schumann

Re: about schumann by schubertiad
He's my favourite romantic composer. His early output for piano was just ridiculous: op.1 Abegg variations (maybe the greatest opening ...

Re: Starting playing Schumann by prongated
Try the Romances op. 28 or the Blumenstucke op. 19, then perhaps the Faschingsschwank aus Wien or something from the Phantasiestucke op. 12 ...

Paraphrasing a random Schumann quote - by opus10no2
'The eyes should hear and the ears should see' Meaning, when a learned musician sees a score, he hears the music from his inner e...

Schumann-what it takes by verywellmister
I have never done German music like Schumann before and I may learn one of his pieces in the near future, but what makes his music difficult...