Piano can be a bit of a solitary instrument. Whereas guitar students often end up jamming and playing with their teachers and peers, piano students often practice and perform alone. This can foster a competitive attitude among pianists and some students can even end up bored.
Learning and playing duets is a great way to play piano with your friends. Piano duets are usually written for four hands, with two hands holding down chords and bass lines, and two more hands playing melodies and embellishments.
This list goes through a duet for every type of player. Some of these are so easy, that a parent who knows nothing about piano could play it with their young pianists. Some of them are more challenging. Either way, you’ll find something you like!
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1. “Heart And Soul”
“Heart and Soul” is a popular song composed by Hoagy Carmichael, and was popular between 1938 and 1961. It was also the first song played by Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia in the movie Big.
Since then, it has become one of the most popular easy piano duets of all-time. You would be missing out if you didn’t learn to play it! Most any pianist can sit down with another pianist and play their way through “Heart and Soul”.
One person plays the bass and comps chords while the other plays the melody. The chord structure is quite similar to the doo-wop songs from the 1950s – you’ll be sure to recognize it.
Check out the following easy piano tutorial of the song. It has the original intro included as well as the authentic key changes. This makes it slightly harder than the conventional version, but it is still very playable.
“Chopsticks” is the second song played by Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia in the classic 80s movie Big. Check them out, they play it with their feet on a giant piano in a toy store. They get a great response from the crowd!
Many piano students will learn this one because it can be played so easily. Often, students will use just one finger to pluck out the melody and the counter melody. No chords needed on this tune.
This tune is very old, originating in 1877 with the publishing of the “Chop Waltz”. Since then it has taken on a life of its own.
Again, this piece is so renowned that most piano players could sit down with another piano player and figure it out.
3. Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride Piano Duet
Are you a Tim Burton fan? If so, you’ll probably remember the piano duet in Corpse Bride. This song is more of an intermediate play, but still possible for most players.
Corpse Bride is a stop-motion animated musical film. The soundtrack is composed by Danny Elfman and John August.
The piano duet itself goes back and forth between the two players in a fun, theatrical way. One player tries to get the other interested in playing together. Eventually, the players end up together playing a beautiful piece.
Take a listen to the original recording, and enjoy the fun animation.
You can also check out this extended piano duet version, for ideas on how to turn the song into a full-fledged piece.
4. “I've Got Rhythm” – George Gershwin
This song originated in the musical Girl Crazy. It has been sung by many jazz singers since its publication in 1930.
The reason you should learn this song, is that the chord progression became a famous jazz progression called rhythm changes. These changes became the foundation for many popular jazz tunes including the Charlie Parker bebop standard “Anthropology/Thriving on a Riff.”
Learning the “I've Got Rhythm” changes will give you a solid foundation for learning future jazz standards. If you play this song as a duet, it gives you lots of opportunity to both solo and comp with the other piano player.
Check out this beautifully played version of “I've Got Rhythm”. One player is holding down chords and rhythmic changes in the lower region of the piano, while the other player is playing fast repetitive notes to create interest.
For a simple version that you can get your head around right away, check out this Piano Midi Tutorial video of “I've Got Rhythm”. This version has simplified chords and rhythm, but still gets the song across.
5. “The Can Can” – Jacques Offenbach
The can-can is a high-energy, physically demanding dance that was popular in the music-hall dances in French cabaret.
This song by Jacques Offenbach has some melodies you'll be sure to recognize. The song is not terribly difficult, but does move along at a good clip, so be prepared to keep up!
The player on the low end of the piano is often playing bass notes in octaves, and both players are sometimes in total unison. Once you get your head around the melody, it's just a matter of getting the song up to speed.
This MIDI piano tutorial is great. Both players do a nice job and the video can be slowed down and learnt quickly.
Offenbach actually wrote this song for the operetta Orpheus in the Underworld. The can-can section has become synonymous with can-can music in popular culture.
6. “Stay With Me” – Sam Smith; A Top Duet Song For Pianists
Sam Smith’s 2014 hit “Stay With Me” makes for a pretty nice four-hand piano arrangement, although in truth it is more of a three-hand arrangement.
The low-end player uses two hands to play chords and an easy octave bass line. The melody player uses one hand to play the melody. The melody stays pretty easy for the entire song, and you could easily add some embellishments as you learnt it.
This MIDI version is a nice way to learn the song. YouTube tutorials are a handy way to learn songs, as you can speed up or slow down the video to half-time.
“Stay With Me” is Smith’s most successful single to date, so you will be sure to impress your family and friends with the popular tune!
7. “Bouncin’ Boogie” – Martha Mier
I had to include the “Bouncin’ Boogie”, because I distinctly remember playing this song with my piano teacher growing up.
The song can be played with two students or players, but it is also fun as a duet between a parent or teacher and a young student.
The player using the low end of the piano plays a boogie-woogie bass line that runs through the whole song. This is the part that is typically played by the more experienced player. The student holds down the melody and gets to learn some solid boogie-woogie piano licks and techniques.
In this video, you can see a student and teacher playing the song quite well. The little guy on the melody does a nice job of the boogie-woogie licks!
This song is available in a sheet music book called Jazz, Rags & Blues for Two. The book is filled with fun, rockin’ piano duets. All of these pieces are suitable for early piano players with a few songs venturing into intermediate territory.
8. “The Magic Flute” – Mozart
“The Magic Flute” is a piano duet meant for advanced players. It is a fantastic test of your abilities to play together.
Like most more advanced piano duets, the melody gets thrown around between the two players, so it's hard to tell where the melody is coming from at times. Players are challenged by rapid 1/16 note passages based on the major scale.
Anderson & Roe do a fantastic job of playing this piece, and you can see how much cooperation the song requires. At times the players are reaching across each other while maintaining perfect rhythm.
There is also a MIDI piano tutorial version of this song. It is probably best to work off of sheet music, but nonetheless the MIDI piano could be useful if you slowed down the video to half-speed.
9. “Turkish March” (Third Movement From Piano Sonata No. 11) – Mozart
While you may not know the name “Turkish March”, you will surely know this Mozart song. The melody is instantly identifiable. The song is actually part of Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 11, but it has become popularly known as the “Turkish March”.
This video of two players performing the song should give you an idea of the song’s difficulty. It actually looks harder than it is – most intermediate players should be able to get their hands around it.
The player that has the melody for most of the song is often playing in octaves, which helps makes the song easier. The lower end player is also often playing octaves, which is easier than holding down full chords and playing arpeggios.
“Turkish March” is an easier play than “The Magic Flute” duet. Still, if you want to play an impressive, recognizable Mozart duet, this is the one for you.
10. “Maple Leaf Rag” – Scott Joplin – Great For Collaborating On Piano
I’ve been a big fan of Scott Joplin’s rags since I was a kid, but boy are they hard! Your left hand has to play both bass lines and jump around on all the chords. Your right hand is all over the keyboard playing big octave melodies. Tough!
I had never thought about playing a rag as a duet, but it makes perfect sense. One player plays bass notes and chords, and the other player handles the melody. Much easier!
Check out these two players having a good time playing the song. It’s much easier to play this song with four hands – the only hard part is staying in time together!
This song is not an easy one even with four hands. It would fall under the intermediate category. That said, it is very fun and teaches you lots of important skills for playing country and honky-tonk piano.
11. “Let It Go” – Idina Menzel From Frozen
This song is from Disney’s 2013 animated film Frozen – but you probably know that already! Frozen was easily one of the most popular easy piano songs of the 2010s, and the piano duet is very satisfying and beautiful to play.
In this duet, the player in the lower end of the piano is holding down accompaniment, using two hands for most of the song. The player on the higher end works the melody, and often uses only one hand. The melody player uses two hands at some points in the song, but you could pretty easily get away with using one hand the whole time.
To get an idea of how to play the song, GraffityPiano has made a pretty good MIDI tutorial version of the piano duet, which you can see here. This version is simplified. The chords are often just two notes, but it still sounds good with four hands!
Use the MIDI tutorial to get going and then try to make the rhythms more complex as you go!
12. “Carol Of The Bells” – Mykola Leontovych
“Carol of the Bells” is a popular Christmas carol – you may have heard the Pentatonix version, which seems to be on most Christmas playlists when you are shopping for presents.
This song is a fun one to play with four hands. Both players get to play the melody at various points, and though the song never gets too complicated, it starts to sound very grand when you have four hands playing it.
The low-end player starts with some simple chords and melodies and then the player on the higher end comes in with the familiar bells chorus.
This piano duet version was popularized by the Frank & Zach Piano Duets YouTube channel. They have a ton of great duets on their channel to check out and they are quite funny people to boot!
Frank & Zach released a MIDI tutorial version of their arrangement as well. It is worth checking out, as it goes through exactly how they play their arrangement.
13. “Canon In D Major” – Pachelbel
Pachelbel’s “Canon in D Major” is one of classical music’s most recognizable songs. It is an intermediate level piano song when performed by one person, but when performed by four hands it is actually a little bit easier.
One person is responsible for the floating, melancholy bass parts and the other person can chord and play the melody. It turns into a beautiful duet!
This PianiCast tutorial does a nice job of demonstrating how the tune works in duet form. You can see how the players cooperate to bring together the classic song.
While this piece was not terribly popular in the centuries after it was composed, it has gained huge popularity in popular culture. Most anyone will recognize this piece if you play it for them, and it is a fun one to play with four hands.
14. “The Knuckle Song”
Pretty much everyone has heard somebody play “The Knuckle Song” on the piano. It is often played by people who aren’t very experienced players, but the song is actually a pretty fun piano duet.
It is also sometime called “Circus Music”, “Monkey Business”, or “The Black Key Duet.” The melody is played with your knuckles on all black keys, so I figured “The Knuckle Song” or “The Black Key Duet” are the most apt names.
Check out this instructional video for “The Knuckle Song.” The teacher does an amazing job of breaking down the whole song so that anyone can learn it.
If you are a parent that does not know how to play the piano, this is a great song to get you playing with kids! Almost anyone can hack this tune.
15. “All I Ask Of You” – Andrew Lloyd Webber
This tune is from the famous musical movie The Phantom of the Opera. This is probably the most famous song from the musical, and it makes for a pretty nice duet.
Check out these young players performing the duet. It is a pleasant, lilting tune. The duet allows both players to carry the melody.
Many, many artists have covered this song over the years – from Barbara Streisand, to Susan Boyle, The King’s Singers – why not you and a friend!
Two People Piano Songs For Beginners – Final Thought
Piano duets are a great way to play piano collaboratively. Sometimes, piano is seen as a solitary instrument, and that can get boring for students. As a teacher, getting your kids to play duets together gets them thinking in a different way, gets them working towards a song as a group, and can get them excited about playing.
In this list, there is a duet for any taste and any skill level. If you are curious about a popular song, just search for “[Song Name] Duet” in YouTube – there are a surprising amount of piano duet tutorials on the web.