8 Violin and Piano Duets to Inspire You https://violinspiration.com/wp-content/uploads/8-Violin-and-Piano-Duets-to-Inspire-You.jpg

In the world of classical music, violin and piano duets are a fun way to make music with others, while enjoying some of the finest music ever composed. Strings and keyboard instruments are always a good combination, and the duets in this article will inspire you to start practicing these pieces for yourself!

No matter what level you’re playing at, there are so many violin and piano duets out there for you to play. Collaborating with others is such a rewarding musical experience; it’s personally one of my favorite aspects of being a violinist! If you have any friends who play the piano, ask if they’d like to play a duet with you! It’s so fun to make music with others.

Today I’m sharing violin & piano duet sheet music for all levels of playing, so grab your violin, find your pianist friends, and get ready to start practicing!

violin and piano duets - Julia with a violin smiling

1. Ave Maria – Franz Schubert

Ave Maria is a classic tune that you may have previously heard performed by a soprano or other singer. While Schubert’s beautiful song was first published as solo piano music, it also works perfectly for a variety of other instruments. I’ve heard this melody played on the flute, the cello, and even from a full orchestra. It’s a well-loved composition that sounds gorgeous on all instruments!

You’ll love playing Ave Maria as a duet for piano and violin. The violin music is just a page long, with no shifting between positions required. This is a great first duet to experiment with! If you can, add vibrato to long, sustained notes for a mellow, inspired performance.

Download the violin music here!

violin and piano duets - Ave Maria - Schubert - violin sheet music tutorial

Ave Maria by Franz Schubert

Free Violin Sheet Music

PDF

2. Clair de Lune – Claude Debussy

Another wonderful violin & piano duet for beginners is Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy. This iconic piece is from the third movement of Debussy’s Suite Bergamasque for solo piano. The soft blend of violin and piano in this duet compliments the rolling, ethereal melody of the original, and is just enchanting to listen to.

Develop your vibrato through the climaxes of the music, and you’ll be so impressed by the dreamy result you hear. This duet doesn’t require shifting, but you and your pianist will need to count carefully together to play in time. Once you’re on the same page, though, you’ll find that this arrangement works so well for the violin and piano!

You can purchase the violin and piano arrangement here:

violin and piano duets - Clair de Lune by Debussy - violin and piano arrangement

Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy

Violin & Piano Sheet Music

3. Spring Song – Felix Mendelssohn

Mendelssohn’s Spring Song is the 30th of 36 short solo piano pieces that make up the larger work Song without Words for solo piano. This beautiful, lyrical, romantic melody is gorgeous when played by both piano and violin.

The piano part is a bit more involved, with many harp-like arpeggios. While it might take a lot of practice to master the technical challenges, playing this piece with a friend will make for an exciting and rewarding end result.

If you like this piece, you can buy the sheet music over here:

violin and piano duets - Spring Song by Mendelssohn

Spring Song by Felix Mendelssohn

Violin & Piano Sheet Music

4. Rondo – Ludwig van Beethoven

If you’re looking for third-position shifting practice, this sweet violin and piano duet by Beethoven will be a great challenge for you!

A Rondo is a type of piece that has a main theme, then changes to a new theme, then comes back to the original, and switches between new themes and the original, back to back.

It’s always interesting to see how the original theme feels different after each new idea that has come before it. This can prompt some great discussions between your duet partner and yourself about how you’d like to present this music to others. What does this music say? What do you want to get across by sharing this music?

Deep conversations about the meaning of music and how it makes you feel is an exciting part of making music. Forming deeper connections with the repertoire you play makes all the difference between just enjoying what you’re doing on the surface level, and instead creating a love of music that will last for many years.

Download the violin sheet music as well as the version with both parts here:

violin and piano duets - Beethoven - Rondo for violin and piano

Rondo by Ludwig van Beethoven

Free & Piano Violin Sheet Music

PDF

5. Gymnopedie No. 3 – Erik Satie

French composer Erik Satie wrote three pieces for piano called Gymnopedie in 1888. While Gymnopedie No. 1 is the most famous, the third piece in the set is hauntingly beautiful as well.

As a violin-piano duet, the melody is enhanced more so than in the original piano music. The music is slow, with no fast rhythms, which gives you the chance to add vibrato and explore more shifting opportunities to better express what the music is saying.

Since Satie lived and composed during the Romantic era of music, expression is key, and you can take more liberties with the tempo. You might find that the composer asks you to play in ways you never have before.

For example, the last note is an artificial harmonic: press down the bottom note with your first finger, while lightly touching the top note with your fourth finger. The note will sound high but with a pure, ringing tone. It’s a cool effect and a great way to end the piece quietly!

This arrangement of Gymnopedie No. 3 suggests a lot of shifting between 1st, 3rd, and 4th positions. The great thing about this piece is that none of these notes actually require shifting: they’re all low enough to be played in 1st position. However, shifting allows us to use more vibrato by avoiding fourth fingers and open strings, and we can add audible shifts for expressive purposes.

This is another piece that can be a great option if you’re just starting to explore shifting. First, practice the entire piece in first position to learn what the notes sound like, and to get the hang of the rhythms and bowings. Then try adding in the recommended shifts, and watch the music come to life!

The final step, of course, is playing the duet with a pianist! The piano part is very quiet – pianissimo – while the violin line is mostly marked piano. Don’t be afraid to play your melody just a little louder than the pianist. The balance will sound perfect to anyone listening!

Solo violin sheet music as well as violin with piano score are available for download here:

violin and piano duets - Satie - Gymnopedie no. 3 - violin score

Gymnopedie No. 3 by Erik Satie

Free & Piano Violin Sheet Music

PDF

6. Moonlight Sonata – Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven’s famous Moonlight Sonata was originally written as a piano sonata, but the melody sounds beautiful on so many other instruments as well. Why not try it as a piano and violin duet?

By playing the violin solo melody, you can give this piece an edge by using a technique that the piano, unfortunately, cannot play: vibrato!

The piano music for this duet is actually a little simpler than the original piano solo: in the original, the piano plays all of the notes: violin part and all! If your pianist has already learned Moonlight Sonata, this version will be a little easier for them.

violin and piano duets - Beethoven - Moonlight Sonata - Violin sheet music

Moonlight Sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven

Free Violin & Piano Sheet Music

PDF

7. Canon in D – Johann Pachelbel

You might recognize Canon in D as the wedding song since it’s such a popular music choice for brides walking down the aisle. If one of your goals is to play the violin at a wedding, this is a great duet to learn, and will certainly jumpstart your progress towards that goal.

My arrangement for the violin & piano duet is great for intermediate violin players: complex rhythms are a staple of this piece, and there are quite a few shifts into third position. Don’t be discouraged, however, as long as you know what the song sounds like, it’s not too difficult to learn the notes and rhythms!

Brush up on third-position notes with a few shifting exercises, and you’ll be ready to learn this great classical song in no time!

Download violin and piano sheet music over here:

violin and piano duets - Canon in D

Canon in D by Johann Pachelbel

Free Violin & Piano Sheet Music

PDF

violin and piano duets - Canon in D Master Class on Violinspiration Courses

If you’re a student of Julia’s Violin Academy, you can start learning this piece right away in my Canon in D Master Class. Otherwise, feel free to join this course on the Violinspiration – Courses learning platform. Click on this link to get more details and enroll in the Master Class.

8. Air on the G String – J.S. Bach

Despite the name of this classical tune, Air on the G String isn’t played only on the G string of the violin! The solo violin music comes from the “Air” movement from J.S. Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3. The tune got its famous title when violinist August Wilhelmj created a transposed version which allowed him to play the entire tune on just the G string. The nickname of his version just kind of stuck, so now we usually call the melody “Air on the G String”, no matter what arrangement it is.

If you’re hoping to play music for weddings, this is another great selection! I’ve performed Air on the G String at quite a few weddings myself. It’s a very peaceful yet emotional piece of music, no matter what instrument it’s played on.

Both the violin and piano parts are much harder than the previous duets I’ve shared, so this is a great one to take your time learning. With any difficult piece of music you want to learn, practice the basics and stay patient with yourself. You’re capable of anything you set your mind to!

The violin part is full of trills, complex rhythms, and shifts. You’ll want to be comfortable with these concepts before diving into this composition, but when you learn it, it’ll feel so rewarding! This is a quintessential violin solo, and playing it as a violin duet makes for a gorgeous performance.

Download violin and piano sheet music over here:

violin and piano duets - Bach - Air on the G String

8. Air on the G String – J.S. Bach

Free Violin & Piano Sheet Music

PDF

Learn even more…

Making music with others brings me joy, and I hope that you’ll feel the same way once you try these violin duets! Collaborating with others teaches you so much about music and your own life experiences. If you haven’t tried playing duets before, I highly recommend it! This is one of my favorite aspects of music-making.

If you enjoyed learning about violin and piano duets, I think you might also like reading about violin and cello duets, or maybe violin duets.

Happy practicing!

Have you ever made music with your friends? If so, please share your experience in the comments! And if you’re feeling nervous about playing the violin around others, read through others’ comments to hear about how great sharing the musical experience can be.

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