Reliable Piano Books

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A piano book can consist of many things including piano music and literature about the piano. In this article, we’ll concentrate on reliable piano music in book form.

Almost all publishers now offer book purchases online, as mailed hardcopies and occasionally as downloads. It is always helpful to buy music from a reliable, well established publisher as the notes, dynamics and phrasing are more likely to be authentic to the composer’s intent. In these types of premiere editions, publisher’s edits are usually clearly marked, leaving the performer well informed.

Piano students benefit greatly from graded pieces. Two of the big exam boards are the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) and the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM):

1. Amazon sells RCM exam books (Canada):

Alternatively, you can get them straight from the publisher:

2. Here’s a link for the catalogue of books of the ABRSM:

If you are just starting out on the piano, there are an enormous amount of quality books to choose from. Here are just a few of the ones that have been around for quite some time:

1. Leila Fletcher has some beginner books that are effective and entertaining:

2. Thompson editions are also effective:

Piano Lessons 101 has an impressive download available on this blog to help beginners get started in a fun way. We also endorse Jermaine Griggs’ book, also included on this blog. Our book teaches you how to read notes and learn simple arrangements of classical works, while the latter book teaches you some fundamentals of playing by ear and improvising; two different approaches, but both will help make you a well rounded musician.

Piano editions are sometimes referred to as urtext editions. These types of publications are the earliest and/or the most authentic version of the music that you are searching for. Here’s an example of one such publication:

If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of publishers of music, here’s a good one:

You can’t talk about big publishers in popular music without including Hal Leonard. Here’s the link:

Some piano books are attractively presented. For example, Dover Publications provide nicely put together piano music that is quite durable. My editions of Brahms’ music from this company have been in my library for years and have withstood countless page turns and still looks relatively new. I highly recommend them:

These days, downloading is one of the most attractive features online. You can create your own books by downloading and printing, depending on the restrictions of the publisher that you are downloading from. If you have permission to bind your downloaded music, keep in mind that your initial purchase should be reasonably priced, as copying and binding will be an additional cost. Unless the original purchase price is reasonably priced, you may be better off purchasing from a store. Usually, publishers take this expense into account and price downloads accordingly.

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