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Estonia Pianos
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Joined: Sep 2009
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Well, I was offered a summer job in one of the local cafes!
I'm supposed to be working as the pianist!
The problem is, I only have a few pieces finished up and ready to play, but mostly, I only learn bits and pieces of various works.
So, my question is...
What pieces would you say are incredibly easy to learn?
So, if anyone could please suggest some pieces, suitable for playing in a bar, that I would be able to learn really quickly.

I'm not a pro pianist, actually I'm selftaught, and sofar I'v mainly played Movie soundtrack music, some Tiersen, some Chopin and some Debussy.

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by Vid_w; 06/12/11 04:49 PM.
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Satie gnossiennes and gymnopedies.

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Alkan Barcarolle Op. 65 No. 6
Ravel Menuet on the Name of Haydn
Gershwin Prelude No. 2

You do some movie music? Try to find a good arrangement of some popular movie soundtracks, like Pirates of the Carribean (the new movie just recently came out, I actually liked it a whole lot).

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These are just some random things that I use when I have to play background music.

Edward Macdowell's "To a Wild Rose" is super easy. "To a Waterlilly" is kinda easy too. "Walk it Slow" a jazz piece by Judy East Wells. I also have an intermediate book by her called "Festival of Flowers" that I use. Sometimes I use a book of easy arrangements of well known songs; you can get those at any music store.

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If you can get a hold of a Real Book, you could try just playing the melodies of standards over an arpeggiated left hand; the chords for many tunes can often be reduced to triads. Movie music works extremely well, especially if you can link together medleys- great ways to exercise your arranging skills as well as chew up performing time while playing.


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Polonaise Op. 53 - Chopin
Ballade Op. 47 - Chopin
Piano Sonata K.333 - Mozart
WTC Prelude and Fugue in D Major, Bk 1 - Bach
Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues - Rzewski
Piano Concerto No. 1 - Liszt
Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano - Cage
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Bach prelude in C major from WTC Book 1
Grieg waltz op12 no 2
Tchaikovsky The Sick Doll op39 no6 and Old French Song op39 no16
that easy piece from Amelie (I bet you have this one!)

Just a few ideas for you.


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I could be wrong, because all situations may not be the same, but I somehow think that patrons in a cafe/bar are not going to be too interested in listening to Bach, Chopin or Debussy, except in very small doses.

More in the line of "cocktail music" is what one expects in such a venue, although your town may well be different. Nevertheless, I would have a good supply of popular standard tunes, some folk, some soft "rock" music some show tunes - whatever is and has recently been popular among the type of people who patronize the venue you're going to be playing in.

I think the first rule of business in a case like this is to "know your audience." Try to know who they are, what they like and be prepared to give it to them.

The idea of a "fake" book with hundreds of tune (melody line only with chord symbols indicated for accompaniment) is the staple of cafe/bar piano players, and there are all kinds of them. Fake books are published for movie themes, popular standards, rock, country ... etc. Those are the types of music that got me through several years of playing in a restaurant; few people wanted to hear classical music; they prefer "background" music to accompany their conversation, not music they should be listening to attentively.

If yours is the typical piano-playing "gig," you should probably expect to play for 35 to 40 minutes for each 10 to 15 minute break, and you should have enough repertoire - or material - that people who hang around for a couple of hours are not going to hear the same pieces or songs over again several times.

Regards,


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I think with background music it doesn't matter what you play, as long as its background-y. You don't have to play things people are going to know.

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Just find a book of easy to play Broadway tunes. Pick some of your favorites and add a few embellishments here and there, maybe play the melody line as an octave, and it will sound ok. Also some Joplin rags played slowly and elegantly might work.


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Play Cziffras version of the Flight of the Bumblebee and look around you, everyone would be like how they reacted in Shine the movie laugh

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As long as you're any good at sight-reading, what's the problem? if not, mmm, bad news...


Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!

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