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The piano is without a doubt one of the most flexible and popular instruments, appearing in almost every musical genre. The piano is present in many genres, from classical to jazz to blues to rock and pop.
This week, we will look at some of the most popular piano playing styles to give you a sense of the wide range of music that the piano encompasses. We will explain the distinctions between the styles you want to play or learn. Knowing the differences between styles and having some skills in a handful of them will help you to become a better overall pianist and musician!
What are the most popular piano styles?
The piano encompasses a huge range of possibilities. For several hundred years, the most popular piano style was classical piano. Since its invention in the early 18th century, and continuing to this day, the piano has been a dominant force in the development of classical music.
The piano likewise became a driving force behind the development of several crucial American music styles such as ragtime, boogie-woogie, blues, jazz, and rock and roll. All of these styles owe a debt of gratitude to the dynamic expressiveness of the piano and the range of sounds and possibilities the instrument is capable of producing. There are some key differences between jazz and classical piano including the role of improvisation and rhythm that are worth exploring.
Classical styles of piano
The piano, or pianoforte as it was originally called, was initially invented around the year 1700 by the Italian instrument builder Bartolomeo Cristofori. Since then it has become the dominant force in the progression of classical music and harmony in general. The dynamic range of the piano combined with the ability to easily produce chords with up to 10 voices helped to revolutionize composer’s sonorities and concepts.
Famous classical piano playing styles
One of the most famous classical piano playing styles comes from the German composer Ludwig van Beethoven. “Fur Elise” sheet music is one of the best examples of romantic-era styles of piano and a standard piece of piano repertoire for beginning to intermediate pianists.
Another wonderful example in the classical piano music genre is “Canon in D” by Johann Pachelbel. This piece has become one of the most iconic piano songs of all time, thanks to its repetitive and catchy piano chords. “Canon in D” sheet music is available for you to practice with Skoove!
Remember with Skoove you can access hundreds of great songs to practice. With online piano lessons covering a wide range of topics including theory, repertoire, and more. This year is a great time to try out piano lessons with Skoove!
Jazz styles of piano
In the early 20th century, the piano became a driving force in the development of several piano music genres. Piano playing styles such as ragtime, boogie woogie piano, blues, and jazz all began their development at this time. The piano played a crucial role in the development of all of these styles, in various ways.
Famous jazz piano playing styles
One of the most influential pieces of jazz piano styles is the Scott Joplin tune “The Entertainer.” The tune is one of the best examples of ragtime playing.
Ragtime involves an alternating pattern of bass notes and chords in the left hand, with repetitive melodies and riffs in the right hand. Like most piano playing styles, there are easy piano song arrangements of “The Entertainer” and other more difficult ragtime and jazz pieces.
Another great example of the jazz piano music genre is the standard tune “Autumn Leaves.” Jazz standards are typically songs that are considered part of the “Great American Songbook.” They were most frequently composed to be included in musicals or early films. The tune “Autumn Leaves” was originally composed in 1946 by Joseph Kosma for the film Les Portes de la nuit (Gates of the Night). The song is an excellent way for pianist’s to learn jazz melody in music.
Rock and pop piano styles
The influence of the piano in rock and pop music cannot be overstated, with many famous black piano players among the icons who started their careers on the keys. Many iconic rock and pop musicians started their musical careers learning how to play the piano and many call upon its strengths as their primary composing instrument. From the driving riffs of Elton John to the emotional depths of Freddie Mercury to the simple elegance of the Beatles, the piano has a major role in the worlds of rock and pop music.
Famous rock piano styles
One of the best examples of rock piano style is from the prolific pianist and songwriter Billy Joel. His tune “Piano Man” is a classic piece for the beginning to intermediate pianist. Practice basic piano chords and a simple melody in 3/4 time with “Piano Man” sheet music from Skoove.
Another stellar example of the rock piano music genre is “Bohemian Rhapsody” sheet music from Queen. The tune features excellent ballad playing, key changes, and a wonderful melody, all made accessible with the Skoove app!
Soundtracks and more
The piano is also an incredibly popular instrument for soundtracks for films, TV shows, and video games. Many composers have created enormous worlds of emotion and character and added great depth to visuals with just a few simple piano chords and melodies.
Learn soundtrack piano styles with Skoove
Skoove offers many lessons on iconic piano styles from soundtracks. One of the most popular TV shows of the last decade, Game of Thrones sheet music features a catchy melody in 6/8 time that is both easy to learn and instantly recognizable.
Likewise, the Harry Potter film series has many instantly recognizable themes and chord progressions, mostly thanks to the great film composer John Williams. You can learn “Hedwig’s Theme” piano sheet music, which has developed into a musical theme for the entire Potter franchise!
The piano is incredibly popular
As you can see, the piano is an incredibly popular instrument and has led to the development of many incredible styles of music including classical, jazz, ragtime, and rock. The piano has helped drive the careers of thousands of wonderful songwriters, composers, and performers.
Additionally, the piano is a perfect instrument to start your journey with music. Whether you are interested in learning classical piano styles, jazz, blues, rock, or themes from your favorite soundtracks, Skoove is your best choice for learning piano online. With over 400 lessons on many topics, an intuitive play-along system, and an app that pairs with your digital keyboard, learning piano with Skoove will help open new doors at every turn!
Author of this blog post:
Eddie Bond is a multi-instrumentalist performer, composer, and music instructor currently based in Seattle, Washington USA. He has performed extensively in the US, Canada, Argentina, and China, released over 40 albums, and has over a decade experience working with music students of all ages and ability levels.