Why is "sad" piano music so popular on YouTube? - Top Music Co
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Why is “sad” piano music so popular on YouTube?

By Tim Topham | Repertoire

Dec 31 2011

sad piano music youtubeIn my recent repertoire searches, I came across HEAPS of “sad piano music”. It seems that many YouTube composers have only one goal in mind: to make listeners cry – not sure why exactly!

The first time I was introduced to this was after reading a list of someone’s ‘Top 10’ sad piano pieces (Google and you’ll find plenty of lists on forums) and it linked to this gem:

Then I found this really sad animation to go along with it:

Unfortunately, due to copyright, the soundtrack has been muted. If you play along with it, you’ll get the idea.

I actually performed this piece live with projection of this animation at my last recital. The audience was captivated and quite surprised to find something different in a solo recital. All were moved and the feedback was great. In fact I’m  convinced that music with visual projection might be the way of the future for solo recitals. But that discussion’s for a future post!

I’ve linked to a couple of these “sad” examples below. I wouldn’t see my students learning pieces like these. Given their improvisatory nature, they are more useful for me as a starting point for discussions about composition, form and harmonic progressions.

ps. I’m not a huge fan of the imagery behind these two examples, so feel free to just put them on in the background while you work today!

Kay Tokner – has a lot of music online, however the website is in German, so a little hard to navigate!

Michael Ortega:

Of course, each has links to even more “sad” pieces – check some of them out and let me know what you think. Are they useful for your teaching, would you get your students to learn them or are they just nice to have on in the background? Perhaps you don’t like them at all…

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Tim Topham

About the Author

Tim Topham is the founder and director of TopMusic. Tim hosts the popular TopCast show, blogs regularly at topmusic.co and speaks at local and international conferences on topics such as pedagogy, business, marketing and entrepreneurship. Tim has been featured in American Music Teacher, The Piano Teacher Magazine, California Music Teacher and EPTA Piano Professional. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, BMus, DipEd and AMusA.

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