10 Songs Every Piano Player Needs to Know

6 minute read

Do you believe in the power of music to transform your mood and enrich your life? Game-changing sheet music service OKTAV helps you do exactly that. Whatever your tastes or your skill level – we offer you unlimited access to piano sheet music. Instantly available, prints included, no hidden fees, no installation process, works on any device. OKTAV is like Netflix or Spotify, but for sheet music. To spice up your repertoire, we hand-picked 10 essential pieces every piano player should know. Do you?

British composer Edward Elgar once said “there is music in the air, music all around us; the world is full of it, and you simply take as much as you require” Unfortunately, if you’re working 9-5 and/or caring for your family, “taking as much” music as you require is not that easy. Many of us have given up the joy of playing the piano because we find too little time in our busy lives – but what if someone helped you fit more music into your life?

 “OKTAV – these guys are the Netflix of sheet music libraries!”

(Evgeny Genchev)

Songs, playlists, printed sheet music – as much as you want without bothering with common worries like “what should I play? Where do I find inspiring stuff? Am I allowed to print that? Is this download even legal? Won’t this arrangement be too hard (or too boring) for me?” OKTAV puts unlimited access to sheet music at your fingertips – and much more: When you subscribe, you tell us your skill level and taste in music, and we will suggest pieces you might like to play – all genres, all levels, all beautifully arranged, all officially licensed, and so much choice you’ll never tire of trying out one more piece.

At OKTAV, we work to inspire you.

100.000 satisfied musicians tell us that OKTAV has brought the fun back into playing the piano. The innovative concept of streamed or printed sheet music in combination with curated and customized playlists enables people to spend less time searching what to play next and more time actually playing the piano. 94% of our subscribers report they spent more time at the piano than before their subscription. 87% noticed that their playing skills improved dramatically over the time of four months.

 „Fantastic. I am still amazed at how broad your repertoire is. The idea of motivating people with suggested pieces is simply genius. I am enthusiastic and practising hard. This is fun.”

(Gerrard, OKTAV customer)

Ten Essential Piano Songs

Our customers love us because we know that although playing the piano is fun choosing sheet music can take up a lot of time – time you probably don’t have. The easier it is to find new songs to play, the more you will play. The more you play, the better you’ll become. The better you become, the more fun playing music will be. So let yourself be inspired by our choice of 10 essential piano songs that will uplift your mood, give you that tickle in your fingers and feed your soul:

1. Yann Tiersen: Comptine d’un autre été – l’après-midi

French composer Yann Tiersen is most widely known for his music for films “Amelie” and “Goodbye Lenin”. His much-loved piece “Comptine d’un autre été – l’après-midi” evokes childhood memories of playing outdoors on warm sunny afternoons. At OKTAV, you can choose to play this beautiful piece of music in two levels of difficulty: 31 (moderately experienced beginner) and 49 (advanced).
Play right now with our free trial!


2. Yiruma: River Flows in You

In his native South Korea, Yiruma is a superstar filling stadiums. “River Flows in You” caught the world´s attention when quoted as the most likely piece of romantic music Vampire Edward would play to his beloved Bella in the “Twilight Saga” in the early 2000’s. It did not actually make it into the movie, but we love it anyway. Yiruma’s music is emotional and soothing at the same time, just like a river – flowing strongly and quietly, but at times turbulent undercurrents take over. Let it flow through your hands with our free trial – at level 50, this is one of our most sought-after songs.


3. Giacomo Puccini: Nessun Dorma (Turandot)

Massive goose-bump-alert! Millions of hearts melted when Luciano Pavarotti gloriously culminated his rendition of Turandot’s Calaf with a cry of victory. We offer you two versions of this hauntingly beautiful piece of music: At levels 41 and 65, you, too, can start your free trial right now to victoriously conquer one of the most popular opera pieces of all times!


4. Hans Zimmer: Time (Inception)

How to feel epic in four-and-a-half minutes: Treat yourself to this masterpiece from legendary movie “Inception” that manages, at the same time,  to be minimalistic and wash over you with richly layered waves of emotion (and if you haven’t seen the movie, go stream it somewhere NOW!).
Start your free trial now and challenge yourself at level 55.

5. Ludwig Van Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata

Would humans ever write significant music if it weren’t for unrequited love? Well, we’d probably still have war marches, protest music or rap songs –  but we’d miss out on heartbreakingly romantic pieces like Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata  and wouldn’t that be a pity! The maestro dedicated it to one of his female students whom he was in love with at the time, but who was already promised to another man. As much as we commiserate with poor old Ludwig van, we can now enjoy arguably the most romantic piano music ever written. Depending on your proficiency, play the easier parts only (level 31) or, if you’re willing and able, really get into the fast twirly bits (up to level 84)!
You can get going immediately with our free trial.


6. Ludwig Van Beethoven: Für Elise

Alright, so your little cousin plays it, your eighty-year old neighbour plays it, and just about everyone in the world trying out a new piano at the store will play it, too – hammer out the famous “ding-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling…”. But have you ever performed this sparkly gem of classical music with the feeling and expression it deserves? We offer arrangements from beginner (21) to intermediate (47) levels, and a free trial so you can start this very moment.


7. Scott Joplin: The Entertainer

Play this ragtime classic when you’re in a bad mood and see if the bouncy tune from 1902 doesn’t cheer you up! Written in St. Louis, then the ragtime capital of the world, this piece of music is one of our non-white non-european all-time piano favourites. We offer harder (67) and simplified (37) arrangements. Get started here with our free trial.


8. Billy Joel: New York State of Mind

Allegedly written in the back of a greyhound bus by the home-sick Joel who had, at that point, apparently spent too many years living in L.A. and was in the process of moving back to N.Y.. After 9/11, this beautiful, complex song turned into a hymn – for the firefighters and all New Yorkers that had suffered or died during the attack. We offer two arrangements for advanced pianists (levels 59 and 65). With our free trial, you can start playing immediately.

9. George Gershwin: Summertime

Originally written by Gershwin as part of his opera “Porgy and Bess”, this is the most frequently covered jazz standard ever, be it in its instrumental version or arranged for voice/accompaniment. Interestingly, this quintessential piece of American music is inspired by a Ukrainian folk song – a wonderful example of music knowing neither borders nor boundaries. We offer several arrangements of this much-loved jazz standard, for solo piano (level 60) and for voice/piano accompaniment. Start playing right now with our free trial!


10. Brian Crain: Song for Sienna

The best thing that ever happened to Brian Crain, he himself jokes, was that he failed to become a professional baseball player – and, boy, are we glad about that. We are proud that the composer whose dreamy, soothing melodies have inspired many a budding instrumentalist has chosen to become one of our partner composers. “Song for Sienna” is perfect for intermediate players (level 47). Play “Song for Sienna” right away with our free trial!


More time playing the piano equals more fun. But chasing after sheet music is time consuming, as is trying to figure out what to practice next. This is where OKTAV’s innovative concept kicks in: When you subscribe, you tell us what music you like and how well you play, and we carefully consider what pieces of music you might want to try next. Trust us, after a few months with OKTAV, you will want to take your piano playing up to the next level! Luckily, with OKTAV, there´s no limit for the fun.

At OKTAV, we believe in the power of music, and we love to spice up your repertoire! With thousands of pieces of sheet music to choose from, curated lists that adapt to your playing abilities, and as much variety in style as you can possibly wish for, OKTAV simply lets you concentrate on what matters most: having fun playing your piano.