“Moonlight” Sonata and Other Easy Classical Songs That Sound Impressive

Lisa Witt  /  Classical Songs / Apr 23

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Some of the most iconic classical pieces are easier than they look! In this three-part tutorial, we’ll teach you how to play Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata, Pachelbel’s “Canon in D,” and Bach’s “Prelude in C Major.”

Download the free sheet music first:

Then, let’s get started!

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Love classical music but not sure where to start? Head over to Classical Piano Quick Start, four free lessons designed for beginners taught by Victoria Theodore. Victoria is a classically trained pianist with degrees from Oberlin College and Stanford University, and has played with Beyoncé and Stevie Wonder. Start your classical journey with Victoria today!


#1. Johann Pachelbel – “Canon in D”


If you’ve attended a wedding, you’ve probably heard “Canon in D.”

It’s an iconic song, and it begins with an easy chord progression before building into more complex eighth and sixteenth notes.

Hitting all those fast notes will take time, but it’s okay to stumble around in the beginning! Once you build some muscle memory, you’ll have faster fingers in no time.

Since the “fast part” of the song is similar to the D major scale, a useful warm-up might be practicing your D major scale!

🔥🎹 HOT TIP! Did you know that virtually all pop music descends from the iconic chord progression in “Canon in D”? Check out why you secretly love classical music.

#2. Ludwig van Beethoven – “Moonlight” Sonata (Easy 1st Mvt.)


The “Moonlight” Sonata was one of my favorite songs to play as a teenager.

What can I say? It helped me feel my feelings 🥺

The sheet music to “Moonlight Sonata” may seem daunting (four sharps?? wha?!) but if you look at it the piece like a series of chords, it’s more approachable.

The slow tempo of this movement makes it beginner-friendly too. You can play slowly and still sound pro.

And there’s opportunity to get DRAMATIC. Use your pedal and experiment with a heavier left hand.

🧠 Food for thought! Beethoven never named this piece “Moonlight.” He just called it Piano Sonata No. 14. Beethoven also broke convention by starting his sonata with a sloooow movement. Back in his day, a fast movement typically came first.

#3. Johann Sebastian Bach – “Prelude No. 1 in C Major”


Bach’s Prelude No. 1 in C Major also has scary-looking sheet music. But when you put it into the language of chords, it’s beginner-friendly and sounds ethereal ☁️

In my tutorial, I’ll break down the simple chords that make up this song. You’ll recognize several beginner chords here, including a Dmin7 chord!

Isn’t it neat that composers have been using the same handful of chords for centuries? As a pop music lover, I love seeing everything connect.

Like the “Moonlight” Sonata, Bach’s Prelude sounds nice even when played at a slow pace. It’s a heavenly piece and one of my favorites 🙂

Portrait of JS Bach
The Bach man himself.
📜 History Bite: The Prelude No. 1 in. C Major comes from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Bach’s seminal work for the keyboard. This two-book volume contains two preludes and two fugues in all 12 major and minor keys, 48 pieces in all. Whew—that’s a lot of preludes and fugues!

Lisa Witt has been teaching piano for 19 years and in that time has helped hundreds of students learn to play the songs they love. Lisa received classical piano training through the Royal Conservatory of Music, but she has since embraced popular music and playing by ear in order to accompany herself and others.

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