Eine Kleine Nacht Musik for Easy Piano

Mozart’s “Little Night Music” was originally written for string ensemble, consisting of string quartet plus an optional bass. I played the quatre-mains version with my classmate Jeff Beaudry one summer at New College, Oxford for a talent contest. We won a bottle of champagne which we shared with the other team at our next bridge game.

There are many performances of the first movement on Youtube.

Meanwhile, the score is easily and freely downloadable from IMSLP. Click on the image to get the full scores in PDF.

Since the students in my morning piano class all managed to sightread the easy version in C major yesterday morning, I was tempted to arrange the original version in G as a transposition exercise. As students span many levels and I prefer a fuller sound, I adapted the famous opening for my two classes to try tomorrow.

The following are arranged for four easy pianos. Each is independent of each other. As we have 20 digital pianos and two grand pianos in our classroom, we can easily spread ourselves into the four different levels.

Level I is the easiest, using both hands to play the melody but reading both in the treble clef may be troublesome for some (excuse the pun).

Level II is slightly harder, with the bass line.

Level III includes the harmonic accompaniment of the second violin.

Level IV fills in the rest of the harmony, below.

Eine Kleine Nacht Musik for easy piano level 4

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So nice!

“Can you teach me to play this,” asked my friend Joan in a Facebook Message in mid-October.

I watched it, mesmerized by the simplicity of the right-hand finger movements, very pianistic, and yet not trivial at all. Only a pianist would know how to make the maximum use of five fingers without bending backwards or tripping over each other.

How does this translate into fingerings for the R.H.?

Of course, it’s the samba rhythm that makes the melody so special. The grace notes add the sexy ornamentation, a kind of flirtation.

I am going to assume that Joan knows the rhythm and the melody. The only thing she’s asking for is the fingerings — which finger to start with and in which sequence.

1 = thumb

2 = index finger

3 = middle finger

4 = ring finger

5 = pinky

As usual, I’ve added chord symbols as pianists with two hands naturally want to accompany with the left hand. In the simplest case, simply play the root of the chord. For instance, if it says C6 or C11 or C anything, just play a low C with the left hand. The strongest fingers are 2, 3, and 1 in that order. The weakest fingers are 5 and 4.

Click on the sample score to get the three-page PDF

Click on the sample score to get the three-page PDF

Like any arrangement fresh off the press, I need to test it on myself and then on my students. The piece begins with the right hand middle finger on a D. This is the white key that is between the group of two black keys on the piano. [Note: There are groups of two and three black keys on the piano, alternating patterns of 2, 3, 2, 3, etc. Look for the set of two black keys closest to the middle of the keyboard and put your middle finger on the white key between the two black keys.]

Without knowing how to read notes you can just follow the direction the note heads are going. Going down means going to the left on the piano. Going up means going to the right.

Anytime you see a b or a # before a note, it means to hit a black key — these are called “accidentals.” In bars (also known as measures) 1 to 22, the B and the E are also flatted (because of the b at the beginning of the staves). Flat (b) means to go down (left). Sharp (#) means to go up (right). The first two measures are for drums. In bar (measure) 3, the right hand (RH) starts with middle finger on a D and switches to index finger on the black key immediately on its left (D-flat) and then lands on the thumb on C.

All this is probably more easily demonstrated in a video. For that, I would need the help of my students. Speaking of which, I will assign this as an exercise in following the fingers to explore accidentals. After all, they learned how to play the chromatic scale on the first day!

Well, Joan, I missed your birthday, and it’s too late for a Christmas present. But perhaps it’s just in time for the Chinese New Year! Enjoy!

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Piano Medley on Bach’s Prelude in C

A piece for performance needs to be long enough for the audience to digest. There is such thing as a minimum and optimal length for the listener. Easy piano pieces are often deemed too short. One strategy for beginning piano students to play a piece long enough to satisfy the ear is to combine what they know into a medley.

How does one arrange a medley?

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Extracts from Reviews: Morgenstern Trio

After the concert, I asked to be led to the back stage to meet the three musicians of the Morgenstern Trio from Germany. I remarked that the program was not one about “destiny” as the cellist indicated in his speech but one on “death.”  I added that it was refreshing to hear serious music — one that was unamplified. Here on Maui, I explained, we hear a lot of “happy” music that’s always amplified. We get a lot of background music, too.

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Review: Morgenstern Trio

The Germany-based Morgenstern Trio performed at the McCoy Theatre of the Maui Arts and Cultural Center on Friday October 24, 2014. As usual, it was the ONLY classical concert with a piano in it that I knew of, back in August 2014 when the 16-week semester began. As such, I urged my piano students to save the date. Every semester, I require my students to attend an approved concert and write a review. At the end of the term, I extract the best bits, edit, and post a blog here.

One review stood apart from the rest. It’s not a typical review by any means but one written by a student who writes daily and aspires to write fiction. I’ve received his permission to publish his review in its entirety.

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Jason Mraz I Won’t Give Up for piano ensemble

Unlike “I’m Yours,” Jason Mraz‘s “I Won’t Give Up” is a ballad, requiring broken instead of block chords. Similar to “I’m Yours” the chord progressions repeat: A/E E | E | A/E E | A/E E | E | Bsus | B |

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Jason Mraz I’m Yours for piano ensemble

I discovered Jason Mraz one night watching “The X-Factor” and other talent contests on Youtube. His “I’m Yours” sounded very familiar, for the ukelele version that’s played in the Hawaiian Islands. Then I saw his face on the cover of the latest edition of “On Maui” magazine.

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