C Major sometimes is dismissed as being bland or boring – the ‘vanilla’ of the keys – because it doesn’t use sharps or flats in its scale. For that reason, it’s often the starting point for young pianists, who can play tunes  in C without straying from the white keys. But just because it might have that reputation doesn’t mean composers haven’t been using it well and inventively for centuries. From the very first notes of J.S. Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier to Terry Riley’s In C and beyond, it’s a key that has much to offer.

To see the titles of the pieces included in the medley, click and scroll over the white space below…

  1. Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings, Op. 48
  2. Bach: Prelude No. 1 from the Well-Tempered Clavier
  3. Mozart: Overture to The Abduction from the Seraglio
  4. Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf (Peter’s theme)
  5. Wagner: Prelude to Die Meistersinger
  6. Ravel: Bolero
  7. Schubert: “Wanderer” Fantasy (D. 760)
  8. R. Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30
  9. Terry Riley: In C
  10. Sullivan: Overture to The Pirates of Penzance
  11. Chopin: Etude in C Major, Op. 10, no 1
  12. Haydn: Symphony No. 94, “Surprise” mvt. 2
  13. Liszt: Les Preludes
  14. Mozart: Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter” mvt. 4