The 30 Most Beautiful Piano Pieces Ever Written

Most Beautiful Piano Pieces

The piano is an absolute classic when it comes to instruments worth mastering. Its versatility in creating rich melodies and captivating rhythms has kept composers hooked for centuries.

If you’re keen on refreshing your piano playlist or learning new pieces to enchant your listeners, take a tour through our selection.

We’ve curated the crème de la crème – the 30 most exquisitely beautiful piano pieces ever composed. Let’s embark on this musical journey together!

1. River Flows In You – Yiruma

You’ve probably heard this piece before but never known the name! A South Korean pianist and composer, Yiruma released this piece in 2001, including both pop and classical influences.

2. La Valse d’Amélie – Yann Tiersen

Yann Tiersen is best known for his soundtrack to the film Amélie, where this piece originates from. The classic film is set in Paris, and you can really hear that whimsical yet melancholic influence.

3. Le Onde – Ludovico Einaudi

You can’t have a list of great piano pieces without including some Einaudi! ‘Le Onde’ (‘The Waves’) is one of the best known pieces by Italian pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi, inspired by the novel ‘The Waves’ by Virginia Woolf.

4. Clair de Lune – Claude Debussy

A classical piece that will stir the hearts of anyone who hears it, ‘Clair de Lune’ by influential Impressionist composer Debussy evokes moonlight with moments of stillness, chiming chords and graceful arpeggios.

5. Opening – Phillip Glass 

This is the first track from composer Phillip Glass’s 1981 release ‘Glassworks’, which was a huge success at the time and introduced him to a wider audience. Its haunting repetition showcases his trademark minimalist style.

6. Sadness and Sorrow – Yasuharu Takanashi (OST ‘Naruto’)

Any anime fans will recognize this piece from the internationally popular anime ‘Naruto’. A piano version has quickly become a popular choice for players, with its emotional yet uplifting melodies.

7. Time – Hans Zimmer (OST ‘Inception’)

Hans Zimmer is one of the most successful film composers of our era, scoring films like ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, ‘Interstellar’ and ‘Dunkirk’. He was particularly lauded for his soundtrack for the film ‘Inception’, with this piece deceptively simple piece ‘Time’ capturing the complex nature of the story.

8. Gymnopédie No. 1’ – Erik Satie

Another piece that you’re bound to recognize from countless films, videos and adverts – an ambient piece by French composer Satie, full of rich yet unresolved chords. The title refers to a type of dance.

9. Everyday – Carly Comando

This driving piece by pianist Carly Comando gained viral fame in 2006 when it was used in a stop-motion video, and has since gone on to be featured on TV, in advertisements, and even in The Simpsons!

10. I Giorni – Ludovico Einaudi

Another Einaudi track for you – this is the title track from Einaudi’s 2001 album of the same name. The title translates as ‘The Days’ and has a wistful melody that you’ll probably recognize from its use in various adverts.

11. I Was Lost Without You – Sam Hulick (OST Mass Effect 3)

Here’s one for the gamers! This piece has really stuck with fans of the internationally successful Mass Effect game series. It appears in Mass Effect 3, its haunting tones contrasting with the futuristic, apocalyptic plotline.

12. Opus 23’ – Dustin O’Halloran

Dustin O’Halloran is an American composer and pianist. ‘Opus 23’ is a gorgeously dreamy waltz that you may recognize from its use in Sofia Coppola’s 2006 film ‘Marie Antoinette’.

13. Moonlight Sonata – Ludwig van Beethoven

It’d be crazy not to include Beethoven on this list – and the Moonlight Sonata is one of his best-known piano pieces.

The full sonata is nearly 20 minutes long, but the best known section is the 1st movement, ‘Adagio sostenuto’, with its ghostly arpeggios.

However, the dynamic 3rd movement is also worth a listen!

14. Married Life – Michael Giacchino (OST ‘Up’)

If you’ve seen Pixar’s hit movie ‘Up’, you’ll definitely recognize this music – and it might stir up a few emotions! This piece accompanies the moving opening sequence of the film, which charts Carl and Ellie’s friendship, romance, marriage, and parting. It made many audience members shed a tear, which the beautifully composed music definitely contributed to.

15. Comptine d’un autre été – Yann Tiersen (OST Amélie)

Another track from the beautiful Amélie soundtrack. The title means ‘The nursery rhyme of another summer, the afternoon’, and the simple themes echo a nursery rhyme while still evoking the swirling streets of Paris.

16. Prelude in C Major – J.S Bach

Bach’s compositional and harmonic techniques had such an influence on future composers that we still study them today! This simple yet beautiful piece has a calm, almost hymn-like atmosphere.

17. Dearly Beloved – Yoko Shimamura (OST ‘Kingdom Hearts’)

Another one for the gamers! The popular Kingdom Hearts blew people’s minds when it combined Square Enix and Disney characters, and the magical soundtrack by Yoko Shimamura really helped create that fantastical atmosphere.

18. Pour le piano – Claude Debussy

The title of this track literally means ‘for the piano’, so you definitely know that it’s piano-suitable! It’s actually a suite of three pieces, or movements. For something dreamy and calming, check out the second movement, ‘Sarabande’.

19. Prelude No. 2 – George Gershwin

If you’re looking for something with a jazzier feel, this gorgeous piece by George Gershwin has been referred to as a ‘blues lullaby’. Gershwin wrote everything from orchestral music to popular songs, and had a timeless way with melodies.

20. Rue de Cascades – Yann Tiersen

This atmospheric track is taken from the album of the same name, which roughly translates to ‘Cascade Street’. It showcases Tiersen’s characteristic use of tumbling notes and arpeggios.

21. Una Mattina – Ludovico Einaudi

Here’s Einaudi again! This is the title track from his 2004 album of the same name. It’s got a thoughtful, unresolved feeling to it, which Einaudi says was inspired by simple, everyday life moments.

22. Camille Saint-Saëns – The Swan

This piece comes from a larger suite entitled ‘The Carnival of the Animals’, with each piece being inspired by a different animal. As you might expect, ‘The Swan’ is a gentle and graceful piece, inspired by swans gliding on the water.

23. Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence – Ryuichi Sakamoto

Ryuichi Sakamoto is definitely a modern composer you should know. This stunning theme comes from the film of the same name, and features influences from classical, jazz and modern styles, both Western and Japanese.

24. Experience – Ludovico Einaudi

Here’s another passionate piece by Einaudi and arguably his most famous one! You may recognize this from multiple adverts and TV shows, as well as becoming a popular sound to use on TikTok.

25. The Approaching Night – Philip Wesley

This lovely yet eerie piece is by piano artist Philip Wesley, from his album ‘Dark Night Of The Soul’. You may have heard his music in film and TV, as well as being shouted out by artists like Billie Eilish!

26. To Zanarkand – Nobuo Uematsu ( OST ‘Final Fantasy X’)

The great modern classical composers are nowadays found in film and video games, and Uematsu is no exception. He’s known for his work on the Final Fantasy game series, with his music for the tenth game perhaps being his best-loved.

27. Penn ar Lann – Yann Tiersen

This piece is taken from Tiersen’s album EUSA, which has a quieter feel. The whole Chopinesque album was inspired by his home island of Ushant, which is near Brittany. In the original Breton language, Ushant is called – you guessed it – Eusa.

28. Prelude in E Minor – Frederic Chopin

This piece is simple enough for beginners and intermediates to learn, yet deeply effective, with its steady chords and mournful melody. It’s also a lovely introduction to Chopin, a classical composer with a wealth of great pieces to explore.

29. One Summer’s Day – Joe Hisaishi (OST ‘Spirited Away’)

Joe Hisaishi is another great composer of our era, as any Studio Ghibli fan will tell you. We defy you not to listen to this piece from the acclaimed film ‘Spirited Away’ and get emotional!

30. Nuvole Bianche – Ludovico Einaudi 

Of course, we couldn’t miss this timeless classic by Ludovico! ‘White Clouds’ is an emotional rollercoaster on the piano keys. Its gentle, cascading notes evoke a sense of serenity and melancholy, making it a timeless favorite among piano enthusiasts.

That wraps up our list of the most beautiful piano pieces ever written! We hope you’ve found some new gems to add to your playlist and rekindled your piano passion.

But wait, we want to hear from you! Drop your favorite piano pieces in the comments below. Let’s keep the music conversation going and discover even more fantastic tunes together. Happy playing! 🎶

About the Author – Eden Tredwell

Eden Tredwell

Eden Tredwell is a freelance writer and musician based in London, UK.

She first started learning the piano when she was 10, so that she could accompany herself while she sang whatever latest song she was obsessed with.

Now you can find her writing musicals, music reviews, and articles, and anything inbetween.

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