The Easiest Grieg Pieces to Start Trying on the Piano [Guide]

Like we’ve done with so many other composers, we’re going to discuss the easiest Grieg pieces today. We’re going to look at the first of his piano compositions you can start with if you’re an intermediate student.

We’ll talk about what specific pieces are the easiest – the easiest we’ll talk about today is Grade 5/Henle level 2. And then we’ll work our way up the ladder of difficulty.

(Check out some of the other “easiest pieces” videos we’ve done on this channel).

Grieg’s music starts at an intermediate level, so if you’re a beginner you might want to look elsewhere. There have been countless books and piano arrangements made of the many famous Grieg pieces out there, such as Hall of the Mountain King, for you to check out on sites like Sheet Music Plus.

The short of this video is that you’ll want to start with his op. 12 lyric pieces. But we’ll talk about some of his other piano compositions and collections to give you an idea of what your Grieg trajectory over a period of years will look like.

Easiest Grieg Pieces: Contents

Here are the categories we’ll talk about in turn with Grieg’s music:

Lyric Pieces

Poetic Tone Pictures, op. 3

Pictures from Life in the Country, op. 19

Humoreskes

Other pieces

Lyric Pieces

There are 10 volumes of lyric pieces (66 pieces total), and these are Grieg’s most significant piano compositions (in my opinion). I love the first volume especially because it opens up nice-sounding Romantic repertoire to intermediate students, before the likes of Chopin and Liszt and so on.

His Lyric Pieces fall between grades 5-10, or Henle level 3-7. I’ll share with you the absolute easiest of these (the ones at level 2-3), but know that most of his lyric pieces are going to be easier than other collections we’ll be looking at.

Some of his most famous works from this collection are also quite difficult, such as Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, March of the Dwarfs and To the Spring.

Patriotic Song, op. 12 no. 8 – RCM Grade 6, Henle 2

Waltz, op. 12 no. 2 – RCM Grade 5, Henle 3

Watchman’s Song, op. 12 no. 3 – RCM Grade 6, Henle 3

Folksong, op. 12 no. 5 – RCM Grade 6, Henle 3

Bell Ringing, op. 54 no. 6 – Henle 3

Sailor’s Song, op. 68 no. 1 – Henle 3

Arietta, op. 12 no. 1 – RCM Grade 6, Henle 4, ABRSM Grade 4

And the more famous ones (but more difficult):

Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, op. 65 no. 6 – RCM Grade 10, Henle 6

March of the Dwarfs, op. 54 no. 3 – Henle 6

To the Spring, op. 43 no. 6 – RCM Grade 9, Henle 6

Poetic Tone Pictures, op. 3

Grieg’s Poetic Tone Pictures are fairly playable if you’re an early advanced student, with the 1st, 2nd and 4th piece being at an RCM grade 8 level. It’s a collection of six pieces. It’s a lesser-known collection but still worth checking out.

Pictures from Life in the Country, op. 19

Another collection that appears in the RCM syllabus is Grieg’s op. 19 Pictures from Life in the Country. This album is more if you’re an advanced student, around a grade 10 level, and consists of three pieces. I wanted to mention it since it’s in the syllabus, but if you’re new to Grieg ou’ll want to look at the Lyric Pieces first.

Humoreskes, op. 6

Grieg wrote four humoreskes, and like much of his other music, it’s heavily influenced by Norwegian folk music. The four humoreskes are around an RCM Grade 8 level, or an ABRSM grade 6 level. This would be a good collection to approach if you’re looking for something livelier after exploring some Lyric Pieces.

Other Pieces

Grieg wrote some other piano music that I want to mention, but since they’re more difficult we won’t be discussing them for long.

First is the Baroque-inspired suite for the 200th birthday of the popular poet Holberg – From Holberg’s Time. Though written with Baroque conventions in mind, it still has Grieg’s Romantic style.

There’s also a version of this suite for string orchestra which is more popular, but Grieg originally wrote it for piano.

It’s a tough suite, ranging from Henle levels 5-7, but give the Sarabande and Gavotte a try first if you’re around a grade 9 or 10 level.

Next is his Piano Sonata op. 7, at a Henle level 7 – so quite advanced, but doable for those of you at a grade 10/ARCT level.

A very difficult piece is his op. 24 Ballade, based on a 16th century melody. It’s considered to be his most personal composition (written after his parent’s deaths), but Grieg never performed it in public – maybe because of its personal nature.

This is a Henle level 8, so up there with some very difficult piano music (the most difficult Henle level is 9).

Easiest Grieg Pieces: Conclusion

There it is – go start with Grieg’s op. 12 set of Lyric Pieces. From there you can explore many more of his lyric pieces, as well as his Poetic Tone Pictures and Pictures from Life in the Country.

If you’d like to check out his Lyric Pieces op. 12, it’s free to download over at IMSLP.org. You can also pick up the book at Sheet Music Plus.

Cover tiny file
look inside
Complete Lyric Pieces
For Piano. Composed by Edvard Grieg (1843-1907). Edited by Einar Steen-Nøkleberg and Ernst-Gunter Heinemann. Sheet music. Henle Music Folios. Classical. Softcover. G. Henle #HN1136. Published by G. Henle (HL.51481136).

That’s a huge amount of piano music right there – there’s plenty to explore with Grieg. I know he seems like more of a specialized composer, but I find his music immediately likeable and fun to play, so I always try to get my students into him.

I hope you enjoyed another Grieg video – we’ll do something different for the next one. 😊

Allysia

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