Death Waltz

2020-06-24

Hello and welcome to my second post!!!!

If you had the chance to take a look at the About Me page, you would know that I'm a piano.

I've always been intruiged by virtuosity and the unimaginable technical prowess as demonstrated by my favourite composer - the one and only - Franz Liszt.

If you do not know about Liszt, I strongly urge, implore, exhort, beseech thee to please know about Liszt. He is the greatest, the latest pianist and composer of all time. Actually...not the latest, but yes, the greatest. Liszt was known for his impeccable skills, being able to play what was previously thought to be physically impossible. He was also known as a true showman, giving performances that made the ladies swoon from his beauty and charm. Liszt was received as modern celebrities are today, I would not doubt that he was the most famous person alive at the time. This fan frenzy became known as Lisztomania or Liszt fever. This frenzy was so severe that there are stories of ladies following him to collect his discarded cigarette stubs as souveniers.

Franz Liszt
Liszt in 1858, by Hanfstaengl

130 years after his death, this one person, I think his name is Nikolai, was somehow still affected by Liszt fever.

Inspired by Liszt, I attempted to create the most difficult but still humanly playable piece.

I decided to make a playable arrangement of the Death Waltz, which is known on Youtube as the hardest song ever. However, the black MIDI versions on YouTube probably require all 88 fingers but unfortunately I am a few short. [You can see here for yourself!]

I assure you every part of this transcription can be played with just 10 fingers and a normal hand span.

I hope you like the result!

For anyone wondering where they can hear a performance of this transcription...maybe sometime in the future!

I drew inspiration from several composers, using motifs from some pieces throughout. For the classical music experts, here's a quiz to see if you can determine which piece certain sections were derived from:

Measure 35:

Measure 37:

Measure 39:

Measure 41:


Some details for the curious, engraving was done with Lilypond and Frescobaldi text editor. I don't provide a tempo indication, doing so would be cruel. And yes, it is okay to play the ossias instead!

Hope you enjoyed this post and I would be very interested to hear what you think of it (or maybe even attempt to learn it...)