Most easy classical music pieces simplified for beginners have different key signatures from the original. What are the pros and cons (especially) of playing them before playing the original scores later on?

  • 2
    I don't understand, what you mean by oversimplified, which appears negatively connotated. Otherwise I would consider this as duplicate of this question.
    – guidot
    Jul 3, 2020 at 14:35
  • Thanks for the link to the previous discussion, very related, except I'm talking about adults. Jul 3, 2020 at 15:15
  • I fail to recognize, how pros and cons of simplified pieces depend on the age of the player (even if the pieces under consideration will be different).
    – guidot
    Jul 4, 2020 at 11:38
  • Isn't any arrangement of an orchestral piece for an instrument that isn't "full orchestra" simplified?
    – DavidW
    Dec 10, 2020 at 12:53
  • @DavidW I was talking about the easy piano pieces written for beginners, such as very simplified Chopin, Bach, etc. that almost changed the flavor of the original work. Examples: "Big Book of Beginner's Piano Classics-83 Favorite Pieces...", or "A First Book of Chopin". Dec 16, 2020 at 23:32

2 Answers 2


There‘s no contra at all to simplifying a classical music piece for a beginner.

  1. it can be an approach to music and open for someone that never came into contact with classical music if he couldn't learn to play a simplified arrangement for piano e.g. Für Elise. Also easy transcriptions for brass bands can be a door opener for classical music for people who are used to play or listen only to march music.

  2. it can be more beneficial and motivating for a beginner to play a simplified arrangement of a Menuet of Bach or the Moonlight Sonata, the tune “home” of the “New World” symphony of Dvorak.

There are certainly more pros about it. How surprising will it be if someone who knows only a simplified version will hear for the first time the original work.

Only purists and musical sectarians could find a contra argument.

  • @ Brian Towers: Thank you for the free English course. I’ve copied my mistakes and your correction Jul 3, 2020 at 17:45
  • What if later on when I try the original score I get confused between the two versions? Also, some are so simplified that they lost the original "flavor". Jul 3, 2020 at 22:53
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    If you mean this could be a problem, just give another the title to simplified version: You won’t be confused when you first play “twinkle, twinkle, little star” and later the Mozart’s variations: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ah!_vous_dirai-je,_maman Jul 4, 2020 at 4:31

This is probably an unusual example, but one of my flute books has a version of The Swan (Saint-Saens, Carnival of the Animals) which is not only in a different key, but several tones higher. That makes it more difficult, not less. I can only imagine the writer of the book wanted to give the student more practice with the higher notes.

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