The piano is one of the most iconic instruments that has been used in films for many years. Even in the days of silent films, songs with piano have been a huge part of music in film. One of the biggest appeals of using this instrument in movie music is that it has such a huge range of octaves to play on, meaning there are enormous expressive qualities to experience.
Songs in piano for movie theme tracks have given rise to some of the best pieces of film music of all time. In this article, we are looking at some of the most famous and celebrated pieces that are sure to melt your heart.
River Flows In You by Yiruma
This was an astonishingly beautiful piece that featured on the soundtrack for Twilight back in 2008. Many fans of the books and film franchise instantly fell in love with this music as well as lovers of Yiruma himself. River Flows In You comes from the pianist/composer who was born in South Korea.
Whilst studying at Kings College in London, Yiruma released his first-ever studio album titled Love Scene. He enjoyed a strong following ever since and River Flows In You is one of his more popular pieces. When playing the song you will see that it is minimal in its style but melodically and lyrically it’s very fluid.
Main Theme from Forrest Gump
The main theme from the soundrtack for the Forrest Gump movie is a naive and open piece that uses the piano as its lead instrument. The music itself and the melody reflects the uniqueness of the movie theme and also represents Forrest Gump’s childlike simplicity. When listening or playing this piece you may even experience memories of playground songs. Main Theme from Forrest Gump is a playful opening soundtrack and is an approachable song for beginners who want to play film scores.
Main Theme from Pearl Harbor
Pearly Harbor had its epic soundtrack composed by the famous Hans Zimmer and it’s about as much drama and adventure as you could back into one piece. The melody is effortless and has been orchestrated for strings with a piano solo featured strongly during the tune. The pace of the Main Theme from Pearl Harbor is quite subdued, almost like song is reluctant to be played.
Una Mattina by Ludovico Einaudi
Una Mattina was featured in the movie The Intouchables which is a surprisingly touching film that really tugs at the heart strings. Einaudi’s piano piece beautifully captures the movie theme with its gentle and flowing melody. The style is minimalistic which is appealing and also has a timeless air to it as well. Einaudi is one of the most famous piano players and he has a lot of love for his work.
The Heart Asks Pleasure First by Michael Nyman
From the film The Piano, Nyman effectively created a piece for this film on the piano that secured his place as one of the most popular minimalist performers and composers. The film has an abundance of great piano pieces that support the narrative of the movie as you watch. Many of the scores from the film have also been used in performances, with The Heart Asks Pleasure First being one of the most favorite songs for pianists to play. Even though the theme is quite simple, the rhythmic changes are a challenge to play.
Dawn from Pride & Prejudice
When you first listen to Dawn by Dario Marienelli you may think that you are listening to one of the great composers of all time like Mozart or Haydn. To match such a classic film the music had to have a classical feel to it as well. This music reflects the period of the film in an effective and subtle manner. The minimalism of the piece from Marinelli blends well into the genre, matching other movie music from Jane Austen films. The music is delightful and is great for playing no matter what experience you have.
Main Titles from Chocolat
Rachel Portman is the composer for the Main Titles from Chocolat. She is a very successful movie music composer who has an understated yet highly evocative style to her melodies. The theme from the film is no exception to this. There’s an underlying sense of mystery yet tragedy to the music and Portman does some deft orchestration that matches the complexity of this film.
American Beauty by Thomas Newman
When Thomas Newman composed American Beauty’s soundtrack you can tell from the first few notes that there is a sense of anticipation and timelessness to the music. Remarkably the music is actually very simple with a pattern repeating over and over again using sustained chords and string harmonics. The melody feels almost meditative in a way that is would be calming if it wasn’t slightly unsettling.
Main Title from The Firm
This track is completely different from the rest of listed here because it takes its inspiration from the world of jazz. David Grusin put the Main Title together and he is a well-noted jazz pianist, arranger and film composer. You can hear his signature style when you hear his rhythmically driven solo piano throughout this song. When you listen you can almost feel the energy of a busy city with that edgy undertone that sets the tone nicely for the drama that’s to come in the movie. It’s a challenging piece of music to play on the piano but for anyone who would like to try out jazz piano, Grusin is definitely a composer to pay attention to.
What Else Do You Love from The English Patient
This is probably one of the most moving films that you’ll ever see, and the music of What Else Do You Love matches the complexities in this epic movie. As you listen to the piano play you can hear underlying harmonies that cause you to sense the tragedy and anxiousness. The piano score here is understated in its brilliance, leaving us with a haunting piece of music. There’s plenty of material to inspire you to play as there are both melancholy notes and hints of upbeat jazz.
Comptine d’un Autre Été from Amélie
Amélie uses piano music throughout the film but this is the standout piece from the movie. Comptine d’un Autre Été is a minimalist style song that is one of the most popular pieces of music to have been made in recent times. Tiersen, the composer, admitted to not having any musical training and doesn’t class himself as a musician or composer. This is perhaps why the track is so understated in its simplicity and effectiveness. If you want to learn to play music from the movies then this is a great tune to start out with.
What is the best piano song?
According to Youtube the best piano song of all time is Clocks by Coldplay.
What are the most beautiful piano pieces?
Now you know some of the best and most iconic piano tracks from modern movies you can start to learn to play them or just enjoy the soundtracks from the films.