While every pianist’s opinions are different, here are some of the hardest piano songs or pieces to play in the world which most pianists would agree upon.
The difficulty of a piano piece can be subjective and dependent on a pianist’s individual strengths and weaknesses. Some common elements that contribute to the difficulty of a piece include complex rhythms, intricate hand coordination, rapid tempo, extended stretches, and demanding technical passages. You would strongly be encouraged to sign up for piano lessons if you truly want to master these types of complicated piano songs and the hardest piano pieces.
Nonetheless, most will agree the following are amongst the hardest piano songs in the world.
Polish composer Frédéric Chopin’s “Etudes” are renowned for their technical challenges and artistic demands. Among them, the “Op. 10, No. 4 in C-sharp minor” and “Op. 10, No. 5 in G-flat major” stand out as some of the most difficult. The former is characterized by its rapid tempo and intricate left-hand accompaniment, while the latter presents formidable challenges with its hand-crossing and overlapping runs. It is certainly amongst the most complicated piano songs in the world.
Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes
Franz Liszt’s “Transcendental Etudes” are a testament to the virtuosic capabilities of pianists. Among the most challenging are “Mazeppa” and “Feux Follets.” “Mazeppa” demands extreme hand independence and rapid octave leaps, while “Feux Follets” features blazingly fast runs and leaps that require incredible precision.
Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto
Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor is a monumental work of great complexity and virtuosity. It’s characterized by its massive chords, rapid runs, and intricate passagework, making it one of the hardest piano pieces in the concerto repertoire.
Sorabji’s “Opus Clavicembalisticum”
Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji’s “Opus Clavicembalisticum” is infamous for its unparalleled complexity and length. It’s considered one of the most challenging and longest piano works ever composed, with intricate polyphony, mind-boggling rhythms, and extreme demands on the performer’s endurance.
Ravel’s “Gaspard de la Nuit”
Ravel’s “Gaspard de la Nuit” is a suite of three hard piano pieces, “Ondine,” “Le Gibet,” and “Scarbo.” “Scarbo,” in particular, is known for its fiendishly challenging and virtuosic passages. It requires exceptional finger agility and control to execute its rapid and intricate figures.