It’s one of the most iconic sights and sounds in musical history, and even the very name of it is enough to conjure feelings of nostalgia and peace for many. Ranked among the most expressive and powerful instruments out there, the piano has been a beloved staple of culture, entertainment and both Production Music and regular music for generations.
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Even to this day the piano holds a special place in the hearts of audiences everywhere – irresistible and totally unforgettable to even the most jaded listeners.
This playlist is a demonstration of the passion and force that the piano can create in Royalty Free Music, showing just what happens when the legend takes centre stage. So sit down, press play, and see what wonders await.
It’s not uncommon to hear people say how much they wished they had learned to play the piano as a child. The warmth of a rich chord, the elegance of a swift legato run, these are the sounds that capture the attention of so many that hear them. Indeed, few instruments come close in their widespread appeal.
The difficulty of learning the piano in comparison to some other instruments, however, thins the number of skilled piano players out there. There is also the matter of the high price tag on a real piano too, the kind that can lead many to give up before they’ve even started. These factors can make the number of pianists smaller than those for cheaper and more beginner-friendly options like the electric guitar.
Yet despite this there are still many competent and skilled musicians whose ability on the piano is truly impressive. The fact these numbers exist despite the high barrier to entry is testament to how well-loved and appealing the piano is. Even in these modern times when electronic music genres are on the rise and classical or acoustic music often feels left by the wayside, we can still see the piano surviving through sheer timeless appeal.
Of course it was only natural that the piano would easily find its place in Production Music too. Taking advantage of the natural emotiveness of the instrument to great effect, placing it in royalty free music meant producers could easily impart the sentimental qualities and power of the piano onto their project.
Suddenly a scene could be given emotional weight and a sincere gravitas with the simple addition of some piano. Serenity could be evoked with a few tinkling keys, and sadness summoned just as easily. The unique versatility of the piano in its expressiveness and dynamic range makes it ideal for a broad selection of scenarios and it’s no surprise that you can find the piano littered across every kind of media production you can think of.
But just how did the piano come to be so powerful and prominent? Other instruments have their own strengths and qualities, but none quite reaches the heights of the mighty piano. Well to understand this it is worth exploring the history of the not-so-humble instrument.
As you may expect, the piano did not begin life as exactly the same thing that we know today. Being invented after its relatives, the harpsichord and pipe organ, the piano first began life as a five-octave keyboard instrument in Italy around the year 1700. Moving to modern-day Germany just a few decades later, the piano came to the attention of Johann Sebastian Bach. Initially sceptical, Bach embraced the piano in the middle of the century and with time it subsequently gained considerable popularity, with it even ending up as one of Mozart’s favoured instruments.
As the 19th century rolled in the piano went through a series of serious makeovers. What was once a rather soft and subdued sound became more powerful and packed far greater sustain. Its octave range increased to seven or more and the materials used to build the piano changed with new technological developments, leading to a very different instrument.
The 1800s saw the popularity of the instrument reach greater heights and subsequently more manufacturers began producing different models with varying specifications. This included the modern upright piano, created in 1826, that is so popular today.
Now with a greater range of piano models to accommodate different players, the piano began to find its way into more and more homes. As it became increasingly popular it began to occupy a more prominent role in the musical and cultural landscape of the ordinary person, now being used for more accessible music styles. It could be speculated that it was around this time the acoustic piano first began to be used in conjunction with theatrical features and advertising, thereby starting its role in what is today known as production music.
While still mostly reserved for the more affluent and educated members of society, it was this slow shift across socio-economic boundaries that ultimately led the piano to be adopted in styles as diverse as jazz, blues, folk and rock music. Many prominent piano players of the early 20th century in these styles were from disenfranchised segments of society, but that did not stop the instrument from becoming a vital part of their musical DNA.
The result was an instrument that now held an emotional resonance with people across a broad range of backgrounds, be this across class, race or age. It may not always be played the same way, but the very sound of the piano seems enough for most to get lost in.
It is this cross-cultural and historical significance that perhaps makes the acoustic piano so successfully used in production music. It is still used in pop and hip hop among many other popular current genres, making even younger audiences feel a connection to the sound of those tinkling keys.
The versatility and power of the piano does not end with its genre associations alone, however, and the evolution of music has established the piano to be perfect in both lead and accompaniment roles. This necessarily means it pairs well with a wide variety of instruments, as well as sitting comfortably in the mix alongside many others.
This is perfectly demonstrated with royalty free music that utilises the piano. Those versatile keys really do sit well with just about any other instrument or sound. Most obviously it can be found accompanied with strings and other orchestral elements, being used in a similar way to its ancestors in the 18th and 19th centuries. In addition to this it can dance over light jazzy drumming for a chilled lounge vibe, or be perfectly complementary to a strummed acoustic guitar to give that breezy carefree feel.
More interestingly still is how naturally the piano fuses with more modern and extreme sounds too. This can be seen in the ‘epic’ royalty free music tracks that have the piano furiously raging alongside the pounding percussion or weaving in intricate melody lines. It can also be seen in our Piano & Dubstep album which juxtaposes the delicacy of the former with the force of the latter for a surprisingly well-suited musical match.
The piano will also fill any musical role it is assigned with ease. It can patiently accompany another lead instrument, add embellishments where needed, or stride to the front of the music to take pride in being the star of the show. This can be illustrated in some of the quieter solo piano moments of our catalogue which purely seek to gently conjure a feeling, or in rock n’ roll where the piano playing has all the swagger and presence of a lead electric guitar.
Naturally this can make the piano an easy shortcut to achieving your goals in royalty free music. It can both create new feelings and amplify those being established by other parts of the song. It can inspire and create sensations of wonder, or it can be subdued and make us feel hope is drifting away. The crucial point is that the piano can summon whatever feeling a producer wants their media piece to have with speed and ease. It almost feels like the instrument is talking to us, which is what makes it so effective in a royalty free music context.
We want you to hear the power the piano is capable of showing and understand how diverse its musical applications are. Whatever style you wish to use or whichever emotions you want your audience to feel, the piano is the perfect tool to achieve this.
To help demonstrate this we have compiled the present extensive playlist of tracks that prominently feature the piano. They are taken from various albums in our collection and run from the furious to the tranquil, the uplifting to the mournful. Each one captures the power the piano is capable of and presents it in a royalty free music context, letting you see just what is possible when you use piano-centric production music in your project.
Prepare to be impressed.