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Free PDF + Score: The Moonlight Sonata, Unveiled

Free PDF + Score: The Moonlight Sonata, Unveiled

Download this free PDF + score to reveal the secrets behind Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata and learn how to play the entire sonata at a high level.

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For a season known for warmth, family, and good vibes, the piano plays a huge role in setting the mood for the holiday season year after year.

Here, we’ll take you through some of the best classical piano pieces inspired by Christmas, from classic Christmas tunes like Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride to concert-length piano suites like Liszt’s Christmas Tree Suite.

1. Sleigh Ride, by Leroy Anderson

The first piece on our list happens to be one of the only classic Christmas tunes on the list, and that’s Leroy Anderson’s iconic Sleigh Ride.

This arrangement by Andrew Gentile wins our pick for the best Sleigh Ride arrangement, which was featured on the 2011 “A Steinway Christmas Album”, performed by Jeffrey Biegel. It’s a spirited piece with a lot to offer pianistically and musically, offering quite a high amount of difficulty for the pianist to work with. However, this difficulty shines through in the wonderfully dynamic musical character of the piece, with influences from jazz to ragtime creeping into the writing.

If you’re looking to learn something a bit challenging this holiday season, I recommend you give this arrangement a shot!


2. Song of the Shepherd at the Manger, by Franz Liszt

Transcribed by Liszt himself from his oratorio “Christus”, Song of the Shepherd at the Manger is a wonderful sonata-esc piece of music for the piano.

It’s a joyful development of folk tune-like melodies in 6/8, and with its moderate difficulty, it’s a great piece to pick up for the holiday season to carry the spirit of Christmas into your daily piano practice routine.

3. Christmas Carol from Anjou, by César Franck

Taken from César Franck’s expansive work for harmonium “L’organiste”, Christmas Carol from Anjou is a brief one-minute work featuring the beautiful harmonic progressions common in Franck’s work. Within 1 minute of approachable piano music, Franck weaves contrapuntal lines in and out of each other and paints a beautiful portrait of the Christmas season. 

While it was originally written for harmonium/organ, it still holds up beautifully on the piano.

4. Silent Night, by Max Reger

Next on the list is a personal favorite of mine, Max Reger’s stunning arrangement of Silent Night for solo piano.

Reger takes the iconically beautiful Silent Night theme, and rather than setting it in the right hand over low-end heavy left hand writing, he sets it in the left hand, placed underneath a row of glimmering chords in the right hand.

The piece never gets loud, or reaches down into the low end of the piano.

The notes in the melody occasionally strike the root notes of the chord in the left hand, but at a register that is too high to cause any disturbance in the mesmerizing atmosphere he has created in this piece. 

If you’re looking for a beautiful lullaby to celebrate the peacefulness of the season, definitely give this one a play through at the piano.

5. Six Christmas Pieces, by Felix Mendelssohn

6 Christmas Pieces was written by Felix Mendelssohn between 1842 and 1848. They were each written for one of Mendelssohn’s children during the holiday season, and were later adapted into this suite of holiday pieces.

Each piece has a distinct musical quality to it, so if you’re looking to learn something more robust this holiday season I’d highly recommend giving this one a read, or at least a handful of pieces from the suite.

6. Christmas Sonatina, by Carl Reinecke

Next on the list is the beautiful sonatina by Carl Reinecke titled “Weihnachts-Sonatine”, or “Christmas Sonatina”. 

Written around the year 1900, this piece was originally composed for violin along with piano, but was transcribed for solo piano years later.

This wonderful piece is jam-packed with quotes referencing other large works in the classical canon as well as common Christmas tunes, such as Silent Night and Handel’s Messiah.

7. The Sussex Mummers’ Christmas Carol, by Percy Grainger

Here is a Christmas-inspired piece a bit more recent than the others.

Percy Grainer’s Sussex Mummers’ Christmas Carol is an incredibly delicate work for solo piano, roughly 2 and a half minutes in length.

While it doesn’t directly quote classic Christmas melodies as did some of the previous pieces we looked at, it still embodies the nature of the holiday season through its highly sensitive musical language and warm harmonies.

For a composer as peculiar as Percy Grainger, he could surely write some truly beautiful music.

8. December from The Seasons, Op. 37, by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

December is an iconic solo piano work by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

Tchaikovsky wrote his massive solo piano suite “The Seasons” in 1875 for a commission, with each of the 12 pieces taking inspiration from a different month of the year. 

As expected, December is the final piece from this suite, taking on the form and style of a waltz.

It's a joyful piece and it isn’t too tricky to put together, either. If you’re looking for a more up-tempo piece to learn, be sure to give this one a try.

9. The Christmas Tree Suite, by Franz Liszt

Returning to the romantic piano icon Franz Liszt, we have Weihnachtsbaum, or “Christmas Tree” in English, commonly referred to as the Christmas Tree Suite.

The Christmas Tree Suite is an expansive work for solo piano, totalling to just under 50 minutes in length.

It’s a collection of various song arrangements, taking the performer and listener through a musical journey of Christmas songs and melodies composed by Lizst.

Liszt takes the luxury of modulating at will through all sorts of harmonic twists and turns, creating a magical world of Christmas charm.

While learning this entire suite in the month of December would be quite a chore, it’s still worth a complete listen to see how Liszt works with material in long forms.

10. Rustic Serenade to the Virgin Mary, by Hector Berlioz

Closing out the list is Hector Berlioz’s wonderful solo piano piece Sérénade agreste à la madone, or Rustic Serenade to the Virgin Mary.

While not too difficult to put together, it’s a joyful celebration of the holiday season, and makes for a great quick piece to show your friends and family.


From Max Reger’s tender arrangement of Silent Night to Liszt’s expansive Christmas Tree Suite, there are lots of Christmas-inspired works for solo piano to help you get in the holiday spirit.

I hope you enjoyed this post, if you have any comments feel free to shoot us a DM on Instagram @tonebasePiano.

Happy practicing!

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