10 Beautiful Disney Pieces to Play on the Piano (with sheet music)
For decades, Disney has touched the lives of millions of people. The Walt Disney Company was founded in 1923 by brothers Walt and Roy O. Disney under a different name. They officially changed the name in 1986 to The Walt Disney Company. Since the company began, they have produced hundreds of Disney films. Some of the most popular are The Lion King, Toy Story, and Snow White, and the Seven Dwarfs.
One of the most important elements in each Disney film is, of course, the music. The magic of Disney music is hard to put into words because it's simply that: magic. Each piece of music is specifically composed for a film, which makes it unique. According to Alan Menken, a legendary Disney composer, the music comes before anything else: the studio provides a basic story idea to the musical dramatists (i.e. the songwriters) who then develop a musical style and theme around it. The script is only written after this process!
So without any further ado, let's take a look at some of the most beautiful Disney pieces to play on the piano!
The piano sheet music for all of these Disney pieces can be found at Tomplay.
1. The Lion King - Can You Feel the Love Tonight
First up is the song Can You Feel the Love Tonight, written by Elton John for the 1994 film The Lion King.
This beautiful love song features in the film when the two main characters, Nala and Simba, fall in love. Elton John composed the piece and Tim Rice wrote the lyrics. The song won a variety of awards and to this day, still remains one of the most popular Disney pieces.
As Elton John is a pianist himself, this piece is beautifully written for the piano. It is built upon a series of lush chords, with a wonderful melody over the top.
You can find the piano sheet music for the Disney piece Can You Feel the Love Tonight on Tomplay.com. It is available for solo piano and with an orchestral accompaniment in various levels of difficulty, so even if you’ve just started learning the piano you can give this piece a go!
2. Moana - How Far I’ll Go
Released in 2016, Moana is a much more recent Disney film but it has had just as much of an impact as the older Disney classics.
The song How Far I'll Go was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, another legend in the music world. It has been described as an ‘I Want’ song - this is a term which is often used to describe 1990s Disney animated films when the main character sings about their dissatisfaction with their life and what they really want from life.
In the film, Moana sings How Far I'll Go as she prepares to undertake a mission to save her people. She sings about how she loves where she lives, but that she can't seem to resist the pull towards the ocean and beyond. This is reflected in the lyrics:
'If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me, One day I'll know, If I go, there's just no telling how far I'll go'
This Disney piece for piano is available on Tomplay for all levels, including beginner piano. There are a few musical elements that are great for beginner pianists to learn, for example, the use of the pedal throughout. Furthermore, towards the end of the piece there is a key change which is great practice for budding pianists.
The Disney piece How Far I'll Go is available in different levels of difficulty for solo piano and with the orchestral accompaniment.
3. Pirates of the Caribbean - He’s a Pirate
When the first Pirates of the Caribbean film was released in 2003, it was a box-office hit. The characters, the plot and the humour were some of the many elements which made audiences across the globe love it.
The music for the film was written by Klaus Badelt with the help of Hans Zimmer, the ultimate film score composer.
He's a Pirate is an orchestral piece which features in the opening credits, but is generally considered the theme song of the film. It's an exciting, upbeat piece of music which perfectly reflects the adventure of our pirate friends. The piece begins with a rhythmic ostinato which continues throughout, giving the music it's forward drive.
The mix of a staccato and legato in both the rhythm and the melody gives pianists the opportunity to really showcase what they can do. This is definitely a great party piece!
If you'd like to give this Disney piece a try, Tomplay has the piano sheet music for He's a Pirate in various levels of difficulty with the orchestral accompaniment.
4. Frozen - Let It Go
If you have any children in your family, you've probably heard Let It Go countless times! This international hit from the 2013 film Frozen is available in an incredible 41 different languages!
It was written by husband-and-wife team Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, and performed by Broadway legend Idina Menzel. Menzel provides the voice of the main character, Elsa, who sings this song after fleeing her kingdom because she can't control her ability to make ice. The song is about Elsa realising that she doesn't need to hide her ability anymore and that she's free to do what she wants.
It's a power ballad with a very distinct introduction: a quaver sequence in the right hand supported by chords in the left. The melody of the song then becomes more syncopated before bursting out into the wonderful chorus.
Play one of Disney's most loved songs Let It Go with Tomplay, accompanied by an orchestra!
5. Aladdin - A Whole New World
Aladdin (1992) is one of the most iconic Disney films and it has incredible music!
It tells the story of a young man, Aladdin, who frees a genie from a lamp and his wishes are then granted. In true Disney style, Aladdin falls in love with a princess and has to save her from the evil Jafar.
A Whole New World is the signature song in the film and was written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice, two legends in the Disney world. Aladdin and Princess Jasmine sing this song as they go on a magic carpet ride across the world, taking in some of the most famous sights.
This Disney piece has a very simple yet elegant melody, which makes it completely accessible to beginners and advanced pianists alike. If you’re looking for a Disney beginner piano piece, go for this one.
Play the Disney piano sheet music for A Whole New World whatever your level! It's available from beginner to intermediate level for solo piano or with the orchestral accompaniment.
6. Sleeping Beauty - Once Upon a Dream
Sleeping Beauty is a traditional fairy tale about a princess who is cursed by a witch to die on her 16th birthday. Luckily her fairy godmothers put her into a deep sleep which can only be broken by true love's kiss.
The song, Once Upon a Dream, is a waltz based on the melody from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's 1890 ballet, The Sleeping Beauty. It features in the film as a love theme for the prince and princess.
As a traditional waltz, the left hand plays the root of the chord on the first beat, then the upper notes on the second and third beat. It's a wonderful exercise for beginners learning the notes of different chords.
7. The Little Mermaid - Part of Your World
The Little Mermaid (1989) is a wonderful story inspired by a fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen about a mermaid who is desperate to grow legs and live life as a human.
Part of Your World is another ‘I Want’ song, it's maybe even the ultimate example of this style of song. It was written by lyricist Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken and the aim was to show the ‘inner diary of thoughts’ of the heroine Ariel.
Ariel sings about wanting more out of life and her desire to become human. She wants to be able to walk and dance on land, hence why she wants to be part of their world.
Similar to Let It Go, the song begins with an iconic series of quavers, reflecting the sound of water, which are instantly recognisable. This power ballad builds up gradually throughout until the big conclusion. Menken described it best when he said the piece has a 'soaring melody’ - it makes you feel everything the young Ariel is feeling.
8. Pirates of the Caribbean - Davy Jones
Pirates of the Caribbean is the gift which keeps on giving!
The Davy Jones theme was composed by Hans Zimmer for the film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (the second film in the franchise). Davy Jones is essentially the 'baddie' of the sea and the enemy of our Captain Jack Sparrow.
Fun fact: the name Davy Jones was based on the nautical superstition of Davy Jones' Locker, i.e. the bottom of the sea where many drowned sailors and shipwrecks lie.
The piece begins with a musical box melody which is then supported by the strings, the organ and brass instruments. The organ solo is played by Captain Davy Jones onboard the Flying Dutchman.
The piece offers different layers of musical texture and rhythm which makes it an interesting piece to play on the piano. The contrast between the opening melody, which is beautiful and delicate, and the more textured and intense middle section is ideal for pianists wishing to practice their musical expression.
Discover the Disney piece Davy Jones for piano in different levels of difficulty. You can play it on solo piano or with the orchestral accompaniment.
9. Pinocchio - When You Wish Upon a Star
When You Wish Upon a Star was written in 1940 for the film Pinocchio, yet it is still well-known today, proving the true magic of Disney music. It is now considered the representative song of The Walt Disney Company as it is used in many other contexts.
It was written by Leigh Harline and Ned Washington for the film and is featured in the opening credits and the final scene.
The melody is fairly simple and should be played legato. It's a great Disney beginner piano piece because it's in a standard 4/4 time signature and the rhythm is mainly made up of crotchets and minims.
It's interesting to note that the Disney piece When You Wish Upon a Star has now become a jazz standard! It has been covered by some very famous artists, such as Louis Armstrong, Glenn Miller and Shirley Bassey.
10. Frozen II - Into the Unknown
When Disney released a sequel to Frozen, we knew that the music would be just as fantastic as the first film!
The husband-and-wife couple Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez returned to write the music for this film, with Idina Menzel reprising her role as Elsa.
In the film, Elsa is trying to decide whether or not to leave her kingdom, Arendelle, to search for a mysterious voice which has been calling her. The song Into the Unknown shows her inner conflict about leaving.
Clark Spencer, the president of Disney Animation Studios was quoted describing the song as: 'An anthem that kids, and adults, can really relate to - that sense of, you're being called to go do something, but you don't know what it is or where it's going to lead you ... It sort of says, ‘Follow your calling’'.
As far as Disney pieces for the piano go, this song is a little more challenging. The introduction is made up of triplets in the right hand, with some syncopation. It's best to practice hands separately first, using the Tomplay separate hands feature!