Seeking Debussy-like piano pieces and arrangements.
March 28, 2012 10:59 AM   Subscribe

Can you help me make a setlist of piano pieces that I can play at restaurants?

I'm looking for music that I could learn fairly quickly, but which is not cheesy.

Preferably a lot of arpeggiated chords (sound beautiful, but take no time at all to learn) and an extremely beautiful melody. I'm trying to get away from my Chopin obsession ( I know several Nocturnes and waltzes and have played them to death).

Here's what I've got so far:

Clair de Lune / Reverie / Premiere Arabesque de Debussy
Schumann's Traumerei
Music from the film Pride and Prejudice
Music from the film Amelie
Waltzes and Nocturnes by Chopin ( as for nocturnes, I've got the famous E flat one and the famous c# minor one, waltzes I've got L'adieu and a few others.)

I'd really like more pieces that sound like the Debussy ones mentioned above. I'd need some pieces that are fairly long but not difficult- so that I can take up a lot of time on them. Bonus points for pieces that feature repeated sections, o that if I get tired I can just keep playing something over and over in a loop and hopefully no one will notice. Generally anything which will be enjoyable for me to play, but which is also really easy to listen to. As easy to sight-read as possible.

Movie soundtracks, arrangements of pop tunes (ie Beatles), and jazz tinged tunes are fine. Something that is fun for a pianist to play and which will not bore a music enthusiast in the audience to death.

Thanks for your help.
posted by costanza to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Erik Satie! Gymnopedies and Gnossiennes
posted by Katine at 11:17 AM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Satie does some good ones for this kind of thing, check out Je Te Veux especially. His Gymnopedies and Gnossiennes are all fantastic, very easy to learn, pretty - just a little short.

Chopin - Raindrop Prelude (just noticed the thing about the obsession, so maybe not. I'll leave it in just in case)
Beethoven - Sonata Pathetique - 2nd movement
Gerschwin - Prelude no 2 - I prefer this one played a wee bit slower, but damn he's good anyway.
Liszt - Consolation no 3, Liebestraum (might not fit the sight-readable requirement)
Grieg - Remembrances, Gade
posted by fearnothing at 11:18 AM on March 28, 2012

Sorry to serial post but most of Satie's sheet music (among many others) is available free from IMSLP.
posted by Katine at 11:19 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Fur Elise.
posted by DoubleLune at 11:24 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Michael Nyman, Wim Martens
posted by empath at 11:37 AM on March 28, 2012

Penguin Cafe Orchestra
posted by empath at 11:38 AM on March 28, 2012

John Field Nocturnes...

Slow movements from any of the Mozart Piano Sonatas...

Sight-readable, non-offensive, and similar/repeating sections.
posted by TinWhistle at 11:55 AM on March 28, 2012

Not to be a crank, but you need permission to perform works under copyright for $$. Check out the ASCAP faq.
posted by Ideefixe at 12:12 PM on March 28, 2012

Ideefixe, the bar pays that fee, not the performer.
posted by empath at 12:23 PM on March 28, 2012

Ideefixe, how do I know if a piece is under copyright or not? Do pieces that are in the public domain (ie: those available on IMSLP) apply as well? I don't understand the rationale---I spent the time to learn this piece and now I've memorized it and the composer is dead. Who is the middle man?

But if you're referring to the film scores then I guess I'll get rid of them.
Thanks for the ideas everyone and please keep them coming. If anyone else understands the copyright issue and would like to explain please do.
posted by costanza at 2:19 PM on March 28, 2012

Also, I'm in Canada, not USA, so I'm guessing there's a similar Canadian Composer's Association that I would need to look into. Is the copyright issue the same here in Canada?
posted by costanza at 2:24 PM on March 28, 2012

To expand empath's correction to Ideefixe, here's a response from the ASCAP FAQ linked:

"Some people mistakenly assume that musicians and entertainers must obtain licenses to perform copyrighted music or that businesses where music is performed can shift their responsibility to musicians or entertainers. The law says all who participate in, or are responsible for, performances of music are legally responsible. Since it is the business owner who obtains the ultimate benefit from the performance, it is the business owner who obtains the license. Music license fees are one of the many costs of doing business."

There are other associations that do the similar things to ASCAP in the US--mostly BMI and SESAC.

An analogous organization in Canada is SOCAN.
posted by GPF at 5:51 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I know that for busking, in most cities you need a license. Does that license cover the copyright fee, or is that extra?
posted by costanza at 10:51 PM on March 28, 2012

Satie's Sonneries de la Rose et Croix fit the bill too--- sounds pretty but is also cheeky.
posted by costanza at 12:02 PM on April 1, 2012

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