When you first start playing the piano you may find it to be a solitary instrument that other people can’t really join in with. There are, of course, opportunities for others to join you as a singer or with another instrument, but what about someone else joining you on the keyboard itself?
Learning how to play great duets is a fantastic way to get your friends involved with your passion. Usually, a piano duet will be written so that four hands can play it. One person will play the bass lines which are typically made up of chords. The other person handles the melody and any other intricate embellishment.
In this list, we are going to go through some easy piano duet options for the beginner pianist. Some are really easy so that you can have someone who has never played the piano before join you in your music. We have also included some more challenging titles for intermediate level players so there is a piano duet for everyone.
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Tips for Playing Piano Duets
Before you jump into the list below make sure to check out our list of top tips for playing an easy piano duet with another person.
- Finding a partner: You will want to find someone that can play to around the same level as you. Less advanced is also okay but playing with someone who has more experience can be tricky.
- Divide up the playing: Make sure you have a discussion about who will be playing what and divide up the sections evenly. Other jobs to think about are things like who will count the tempo and who is going to turn the pages for any sheet music.
- Practice your part first: Before you start playing any sort of piano duet with another person you need to practice your own part of the song. You must know your part perfectly so that when it comes time to play together, there’s no sort of confusion about combining the two parts together.
1. Heart and Soul
Heart and Soul is a song that was written by Hoagy Carmichael. It was made famous in the movie Big where Tom Hank and Robert Loggia played this piece together. Thanks to its starring role in a major movie, this song is now one of the most popular piano duet options out there. It’s a great place to start as a student and teacher or as two beginners. As far as skill level, this is on the easier side so will suit a lot of pianists who are just starting out.
One person will sit and play the bass as well as the chords that go along with it. The other person will pick up the melody. The overall structure of the song as well as the chords are simple and have a 1950s influence. Below we have included an easy tutorial video of the song so you can learn to play this piece along with someone else.
This is another song that was featured in the movie Big and you’ll probably remember the very famous scene where they played the huge piano in the toy store with their feet. A lot of students will like to learn this piece because it is so easy to play. You can actually just use one finger to play the melody if you are an absolute beginner and the counter melody can also be played with one finger. You don’t need any sort of complicated chords to hammer this one out.
3. Carol of the Bells
We’ve included this song in our list of easy piano duets because it’s a great song to play around Christmas time. A lot of people will recognize this piece which plays a lot in stores around the festive season. It’s a fun piece to play and can include four hands. Both pianists will get to have a go at the melody no matter what part they choose to play and the song isn’t overcomplicated at all. Another great thing is that it sounds full and grand when you have four hands playing.
Whoever is playing the lower part will use simple chords and then mix in some of the melody. The player who takes the higher part of the piano duet will play out the bells chorus which should be familiar to you.
4. Corpse Bride
If you are a fan of Tim Burton movies then you will probably have watched this hit from the famous and quirky director. In Corpse Bride there is a beautiful piano arrangement played by two people. This entry in our list is more for intermediate players but it will still be achievable by a lot of different skill level players.
The duet is so fun to play because at the beginning it goes back and forth between the two pianists, with each musician getting their own time to shine. You can hear where one player is encouraging the other play and then, eventually, you will both play the theme for the Corpse Bride together.
5. The Magic Flute
Of course, we have to include a Mozart song in our piano duets list. The original duet was meant for intermediate level to advanced players. It’s a great song to play with another person because the arrangement will really test your overall piano skills.
Because this is one of the more intermediate arrangements the melody for this classical Mozart piece will go between both players. You will also be challenged with Mozart’s infamous 1/16 note sections which revolve around a major scale. Classical music can be fun for a student and teacher to play so make sure to check out the video for this famous Mozart piece below.
6. Turkish March
What better to follow on from a Mozart song than another Mozart song. You should instantly recognize this classical song because it is one of the composer’s more famous piano pieces. As far as a duet goes, it actually looks harder than it is. When you watch the video you will see what we mean.
The player who chooses to take over the melody part of the duet will be playing between the octaves which makes the song a lot easier. The pianist who takes the lower end part will also play octaves which means it is easier to hold down the full chords. You will also be tasked with playing arpeggios. This piece is an easier one to play than the previous Mozart duet we gave you but it’s still very impressive.
7. Let It Go
This song was an instant hit when it was released as part of the 2013 Disney film, Frozen. It easily became a very popular piano song amongst pianists and it also makes a beautiful duet that is satisfying to play.
When you play this entry in our piano duets list the person who takes the lower part will be playing the accompaniment and you will need to use both of your hands for a large part of the song. Whoever takes over the higher part of the song will be focusing mainly on the melody which only needs one hand for a large part of the arrangement.
8. Canon in D Major
Pachelbel’s Canon is a very popular piece of classical music and can be widely recognized for its use in weddings. As a classical piece it will be for more intermediate players but as a beginner student you may be able to ask your teacher to help you. When you use four hands for this it actually becomes easier than if you were to play it as a solo. One player will be playing the bass part which is the melancholy part of the song. The other player will be looking at the writtenchords and playing along with the classical melody.
9. The Knuckle Song
Pretty much every beginner has played the Knuckle Song on their own. It’s very much the first thing you go to when you see a keyboard for the first time. The actual song to this fun little exercise is a great number for our piano duets list and is ideal for more inexperienced players. The melody is actually played with your knuckles and you will use all of the black keys for this. We’ve included the video tutorial for you below so you can learn to play it without using a book or sheet music.
10. Stay With Me
Sam Smith is a hugely popular artist and his 2014 song Stay With Me has been tranposed onto multiple instruments, as well as being a great idea for piano duets. This is one of the four handed arrangements but there are opportunities where you will use three hands.
The person who takes over the lower end of the piece will use both of their hands as the bass line which is made up of octave chords. The melody will be down to the other duet player and this remains pretty much the same for the entire piece. If you want to this would be a great opportunity to add in embellishments to your playing.
11. The Can Can
The Can Can is a super high energy and physical dance that first emerged in the dance halls of France as part of their cabaret acts. The original piece was written by Jacques Offenbach and the melody is as famous as Chopsticks so you’ll definitely recognize it. The actual composition of the song isn’t too difficult but the tempo is where it will be more of a challenge. It’s a really fast paced song so as a piano player, you need to be ready to keep up with the speed.
Whoever plays the lower end of the piano piece will be using various octaves to fill out the bass notes. At some parts of the song both players will be in complete unison with one another which makes a full and exciting sound. Once you have mastered the melody and the bass part of the song your next challenge will be to up the tempo and get that speed going.
12. I’ve Got Rhythm
The song I’ve Got Rhythm originally was written for the musical named Girl Crazy. Since it was first penned in 1930 this has been a song that a lot of different jazz singers have covered. The reason why we have included this piece in our piano duets list is because of the chord progression. The jazz style of the song means that the progression has multiple rhythm changes which is a great skill to learn as a new piano player. The way the rhythm changes forms the base for many famous jazz songs so it’s definitely a technique you want to pick up if you plan on playing arrangements from multiple genres.
13. Bouncin’ Boogie
A lot of piano teachers use this one as their students first every piano duet. It’s a fun song to play along with your teacher or can also be a good one for parents and children who don’t have much piano playing experience.
One person will use the lower end of the keyboard to play the bass line that repeats itself throughout the entire arrangement. This will be the part that you will want to give to the more experienced player because it has a steady rhythm to it that takes a bit of skill. The student or child can come in with the melody and show off some boogie-woogie style piano licks. The melody line is also a great way to teach a student some new techniques they may not have come across in their standard practice book.
Piano duets are an ideal way to play along with someone else and have more fun with your instrument. Instead of seeing your piano as a standalone instrument, you can get others involved with you to play some piano duets. If you are a teacher then asking students to play together can encourage them to keep playing and think about the music in different ways.
We hope you enjoyed our list and found a song that you can with another person. We tried to include as many genres and skill levels as possible. If there’s a particular song you are looking for then head on over to YouTube and try searching for the piano duet version of it there. Alternatively there are multiple duet book options from Disney to classical music you can buy online. Happy dueting!